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Poet and artist produce work of poetry and art

"Photo: Artist Rob Schouten and poet Victory Schouten have collaborated on a new handbound limited edition of her poetry, called Wolf Love.Artist's receptionJoin Islander Victory Lee Schouten and her husband artist Rob Schouten at a poetry reading at the CyberC@fe on Friday, Aug. 18, when the poet will unveil her new handbound, signed, limited edition volume of 52 poems, Wolf Love, designed and illustrated by Rob Schouten. A wine and cheese reception at 6:30 p.m. will precede the 7:30 reading. The Schoutens will autograph books, and Rob Schouten's original drawings will be on view and for sale. Wolf Love is also available as a CD with poems read by Victory Schouten and original guitar music by Lance Morgan. Both are available from Great Path Publishing, 331-7099; or e-mail info@greatpath.com. The Web site is at www.greatpath.com. Four years ago says Island poet Victory Schouten, her husband Rob Schouten suggested they collaborate on a book. A beautiful handmade book of my poetry and his art, Victory said. I loved the idea, and we began the daydreaming and envisioning part of the process. Finally, last fall, it moved to the top of the list, and we began in earnest.The result is Wolf Love, a collection of 52 poems written by Victory Schouten and gathered together in a volume handbound by Rob Schouten and illustrated with his original art work.Some of the poems were written over the years, Victory said. Others are quite recent. I've had the manuscript more-or-less together for a couple of years, but whenever I wrote strong new poems, I'd go back in, and see if I could use them, and make Wolf Love a more powerful collection.The last changes were made the week before going to press, she said. It's been quite a process.Each poem stands alone, but together they also tell a larger story, Victory said. 'Wolf Love' is a story of transformation, she said. The book is divided into three sections. The first, Breaking Spells, talks about family origins, and being lost. The poems here tell of some of the tough times we all know about and, if we're lucky, get through. The second section, Shape Shifting, is about just that. It speaks of transition, growth and change.The third section, 'Wolf Love' focuses on waking up to life's rich complexities - of grace and transformation, Schouten said. It speaks of finding contentment, and the discovery of the sacred in daily life. I think we are all more the same than we are different. By awareness to detail and nuance, as well as story, I hope my poems transcend the personal, and reflect our larger archetypal journey.Wolf Love is Victory Lee Schouten's first book. Born in Yakima, Wash., she has made her home on Whidbey Island for the past 12 years. Rob Schouten is known primarily for his watercolor and oil paintings. Born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, he studied graphic design at the School for Graphic Arts in Utrecht, and is known for his luminous and distinctively detailed watercolor and oil paintings. This is his first foray into pen and ink drawing and book design.It was a good challenge, and he did more than 20 beautiful, often surprising pen and ink drawings for 'Wolf Love,' Victory said.Rob Schouten is also responsible for the design of Wolf Love, and for the three full-color pages and dust jacket featuring his watercolors. His experience in bookbinding in Utrecht led him to suggest that the book of poems be handmade and handbound. I was a little skeptical, so he made me a book on the spot, out of the paper he found around the house, Victory said. It was elegant and professional looking, so we were off.This first edition of Wolf Love is a cloth-covered hardback, limited to 250. Each book is signed and numbered by Rob and Victory Schouten.Other contributors to the book include Lauraine Ayers-Briel, an island artist, who was responsible for the look and design of the full-color dust jacket. Fredde Butterworth was also generous with his time and talent, and invaluable to the project, Victory said.For the CD of Wolf Love which is being released at the same time as the book, David Riordan plays guitar as Victory Schouten reads her poetry. The recording was made at Robbie Cribbs' Sound Trap Studio.In addition to the first release of the book on Friday at the CyberCafe, Schouten will be the featured reader at the Community Reading at Sapori's on Wednesday, Aug. 23, at the Frye Art Museum's PoetSpeak on Sept. 3, and at Fremont's Wit's End Bookstore on Sept.10. "

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