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img088Poet Robert Graves

Here is another recent addition to our record album cover collection alluded to in yesterday’s post on Vachel Lindsay. Just when you think there is not another interesting record to be found, one seems to fall out of someone’s closet. The comments I made about the spoken word in the Lindsay post apply evermore so to this 1957 Caedmon LP with the poetry of one of England’s greatest living poets, at the time, as he was described by W. H. Auden. This man, the poet, writer, historian, army veteran and professor, was Robert Graves (1895-1985). One of the best known historical novels he wrote was the book titled I Claudius, published in 1934.

private17 021The visually arresting cover is by Joseph Low (1911-2007) and it took me a while to figure out what it represents. Let’s pause and look a bit closer at Joseph Low. He was an artist, author, printer, children’s book designer and illustrator and now perhaps better known for the covers he designed for The New Yorker Magazine. Low was also a recipient of honors for his  book Mice Twice in 1981, as a runner up for the Caldecott Medal.

Joseph Low had a technique of his own and I found some details in Barbara Bader’s excellent bibliography on children’s books and an indispensable resource American Picture books from Noah’s Ark to the Beast Within.

img139img140img141Now back to Robert Graves, with 140 books, 15 novels, and 40 non-fiction books to his name, he was asked to the post of Professor of Poetry at Oxford in 1961. After five years, he withdrew to his house on the Spanish island of Mallorca where he lived for the balance of his life. During this time, the complicated man disavowed most of his war poetry dating back to WWI, some of it had sent him on his way to fame. Robert Graves borrowed much from mythology and developed a concept of the “White Goddess of Poetry”, more on that on the LP back cover here.

img089aimg090bimg090cIn my opinion, on the cover we see the White Goddess chasing a beast, the poet in this case, without much mercy. Something not only poets know about!

If you think it represents anything different feel free to comment!

Joseph Low record album cover and other great covers can be found at Javier Garcia’s blog.