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Culicidae Press asked us to design the new poetry book by Mohammad Tavallaei titled Poems as Short as Life. The book will be bilingual book (English and Persian) and contains about 600 poems.

One of the challenges will be the arrangement of the poems on the book’s interior. The other is the cover design: how to accommodate both right-to-left (Persian) and left-to-right (English) reading modes while maintaining legibility for both cultures.

Below are a few versions for the book cover based on polytekton’s travels to the Mosque-Cathedral in Córdoba and the Alhambra in Grenada, Spain as well as Tangier, Morocco, in 2019. The spectacular site and its wide variety of Moorish geometrical patterns in the architecture is evidence of the intersection of Western European and Middleeastern cultures. That hybridity is reflected in the author’s decision to write not convential Iranian poetry (long and complex narratives) but to start in English, then translate into Persion his poems that are short, almost like Japanese koans. 

We will share design variations for the book interior soon.

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