John Haney | Living in the Orchard, 2014
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Living in the Orchard, 2014

This series of prints was made to accompany, or punctuate, Amanda Jernigan’s critical volume on the poetry of Nova Scotia poet Peter Sanger.


Afterword, from Amanda Jernigan’s Living in the Orchard: The Poetry of Peter Sanger. Frog Hollow Press, 2014.


My husband asked me if I might ask Sanger to send him some apple wood—some windfall branches, perhaps, from the Sangers’ property in South Mailtand. A week later a redolent package arrived. From several pieces John selected a severed branch, a round of trunk. The one he split lengthwise with a handsaw. The exposed surfaces showed both the grain of the wood and the marks of the saw: John inked and printed these textures, hand-burnishing onto Japanese paper. The other, the round of trunk, he treated separately—sawing each end so that it was flat, then scorching the ends with a blowtorch. He moistened Japanese paper and laid it on each blackened kerf, lifting clear, to my astonishment, the most delicate impressions: the worm holes, the growth rings, the cracks where the wood had split in drying, all translated into carbon.


In the box with the wood was Sanger’s letter:

Dear John,

I hope there are some stimulating shapes, textures, grains, rhythms in the enclosed. They are all applewood, cut down in our woods and (some) just retrieved from the woodpile. It has been raining hard here, so some trace of wetness may remain.

… I look forward to the thought (have you a wood stove?) that these pieces may perhaps warm you in several ways. Deer have fed beneath them….