The Phantasies of a Prisoner
Phantasies of a Prisoner is just one of those books. Just one of those books that you discover sitting on a shelf in your local cartoon library that seems as if it was placed there for you to find. The Schulz Library copy is missing it’s dust jacket leaving the dark grey hardbound cover. The only thing on the cover is a simple line drawing printed in white ink. The typography on the spine is almost completely illegible but the book is still a solid piece of construction.
I had no idea who Lowell Neave was prior to stumbling upon this book during one of my library shifts last year. I started to do some research on this man to better understand the book. He seems like a very interesting man, one whom went to prison for refusing to enter the draft for WW2. It seems he wore many hats: teacher, artist, poet, printmaker, activist. I did find out that he is still alive at age 91. But my research stopped there. I am more interested in the object he created than the man, to be honest. Phantasies is a study on imprisonment and oppression as told through single images printed in the middle of the page surrounded by lots of white space and interspersed with short poems to divide the sections. The poems are okay. I am not a poetry guy(maybe I just haven’t read the right poetry yet). But that’s okay, because the drawings are what do it for me. They are why I checked this books out and poured over every image. I scanned a few to present here but there are probably a hundred in this book and as a whole they add up to something great. Also, pictured below is a scan of a card taped into the book from Naeve to the original owner of this copy.
Apparently it took Naeve 14 years to find a publisher for this book. I’m glad he stuck it out.
artwork by Lowell Naeve