Amy Pirkle. Smoke. No 15 of an edition of 30.
(Tuscaloosa, AL: Perkolator Press. 2008). Sam Fleming Southern Civilization Collection.
Vanderbilt University Special Collections
Amy Pirkle created Smoke as a book project about her grandfather, Aubrey Thomas, who died from lung cancer in 1992.
The book was printed in a letterpress from 12 and 14 point Centaur metal types and linoleum cuts. Each is scroll topped with one-inch brown band at the top to resemble a filter tip cigarette. The box holds eight scrolls attached to thin wood dowels at their interior ends, held closed with brown slip-on paper bands; seven of these bear the texts of the work while the eighth serves as a colophon. The scrolls are housed in a hand-crafted cigarette pack made of binder's board with letterpress printed graphics andlift-off top. Features of the cigarette box include a UPC code number with life dates of Aubrey Thomas and a statemen: WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer. It Hurts You and the People Around You."
"After two years of playing with various book structures, I realized that Smoke was not meant to be read as a traditional book," said Pirkle. "Its true form is as a pack of Salem cigarettes, the preferred brand by my grandfather. Each cigarette scroll contains one short passage, such as A Place, An Event, or An Early Memory."