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Water is an artist’s book of two poems and is a collaboration between Portland poet and transgender activist Emily Newberry and painter & book artist Shu-Ju Wang.

Water, or more precisely H2O, changes between liquid, solid and gas relatively easily. In the first poem, Newberry celebrates the two forms – rain & snow – that have a very direct impact on our physical well being and survival. But beyond these direct references, the fluidity with which water changes can also be interpreted as a metaphor for the complexity and fluidity of identities and ideas, and Newberry addresses this more succinctly with a second poem, printed on the back.

Designed using the meandering structure but with hexagonal pages, the book forms a whirlpool when fully opened. The structure allows the poem to be read in the round as intended by the poet; text of the poem is letterpress printed. On the reverse side, text of the second poem is silkscreen printed with the Print Gocco. Each book has a uniquely hand-painted front cover and each text-block is uniquely hand-colored; each pattern is a variation around the theme of water, molecule, and navigating through our complicated and nuanced world. The back covers are Gocco printed with an illustration of H2O as it changes from solid to liquid to gas.

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In the center, a single copy of Water is opened to the title page. It is surrounded by multiple copies from the edition to show the variations in hand-painted front covers.

A single copy of the book is fully opened to the front, allowing the poem to be read continuously in the round.