May 20, 2019
In 1967 Barry Moser moved from Tennessee to New England to teach at The Williston Academy in Easthampton, Massachusetts. He was soon introduced to Leonard Baskin with whom he studied at Baskin's Gehenna Press.
In the spring of 1969 Moser was commissioned to illustrate a trade book, The Flowering Plants of Massachusetts (it wasn't published until 1979). He became fascinated with plants and plant lore and as a result named his press Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium). It produced a small number of books over the next decade. In 1977 Moser met Andrew Hoyem, who asked if Moser would be interested in illustrating the Arion Press’s forthcoming Moby-Dick. He was, he did, and it was published to great fanfare.
I'll let Barry pick it up from here.
We met at his home in North Hatfield, Massachusetts, and talked, among other things, about the differences between a booksmith and a bookwright, print making and illustration. About drawing and sailing, short-lived religion and agnosticism; music as religion; opposites working together as a unit, woodcuts and Leonard Baskin; the Thomas Mosher Press; Harold McGrath; art's relationship to money; the Pennyroyal Caxton Bible, David Godine; collecting Barry's work: Frankenstein, Moby Dick, Pennyroyals and trade titles, the Jump books; the distinctiveness of Barry's work; The Andrew Hoyem/Arion Press Moby Dick controversy; and the unfinished Dante's Inferno.