The first time I came across Australian author Tess Guinery’s beautiful work, I felt an immediate kinship to her. It’s clear that she puts her heart and soul into everything she creates. Her words and imagery evoke a dreamlike state that transports me into another dimension while also making me feel safe in its warm embrace. She self-published her first book of poetry, The Apricot Memoirs, with the help of an incredible Kickstarter community. It was such a success that a revised and expanded version is published — and in the U.S.!
I got the chance to ask Tess about her love of words, poetry, her favorite books and much more!
What’s your earliest memory of falling in love with a book?
‘In this book
With your little eye,
Take a look,
And play I spy…’
I remember being fascinated by Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg. There was something gentle and homely about the pages and illustrations, and as a curious kid, the hiding treasures hidden in every page and illustration were pure magic to me. I now read this beautiful storybook with my daughters, and they love it just as much.
What types of books are you drawn to?
Books that awaken and encourage me to lean into beauty, but lately, I’m finding myself wanting to explore some biography pieces.
What are 3 books you think Glitter Guide readers should read and why?
- Dream Work by Mary Oliver —
The depth of Oliver’s observant eye and attention to detail is breathtaking in these pages. This book sparked my eagerness to observe more and take time to play in the waves of gentle (but sharp) articulation.
- Upstream by Mary Oliver —
This gives power to discovering (and seeing) the beauty all around us and, most importantly, the whimsical. I found childlikeness here in these pages. I revisit this book often.
- Diary of a Freelancer by Amanda Jones —
If you could gather wisdom, wine, cheek and some time, a bit of dance, all shades of light, years of truths, a freelancers kite—materialize it onto paper, but then flip it upside down, turn it around, insert a disco ball, some ink and then use the space bar key to shift every single thought left of center—then you’d have the recipe to this book—this book, pure genius, just as she.
What was the last great book you read?
Upstream by Mary Oliver
I feel childlike and a deep awareness of beauty, again—in these pages.
What excites you about poetry?
How words can be put together in such a way that it feels like you are digesting art. I love how poetry has the power to awaken the worlds within us.
How do you like to organize your books?
I’m partial to making art with them, cover facing upward surrounded by vases and ornaments as though they were a feast on my coffee table…or a high pile sitting as art would, or bind backward against a wall and the various page colors shining through leaving the titles a mystery.
How do you decide on the design for your books?
I feel the art often comes with its own timing—sometimes I see visuals before words and other times, words before visuals. It comes intuitively when space and breath are given to what needs to be birthed creatively. It often forms slowly (or quickly) materializing in a way that would best have the heart of what the book is communicating, visually. I have found that it’s usually the first attempt I end up coming back to after sometimes sitting for days with a concept. I think there’s something instinctive about the first attempt.
What literary character has stuck with you long after you finished the book?
Leslie Burke in Bridge to Terabithia.
Do you have any favorite local bookstores?
Two beautiful women bravely pursuing a heart dream whilst making space and supporting the heart dreams of others.
Do you have a preferred setting or any rituals when you read?
Solace, sun and a beverage (coffee, wine or sometimes both).
Which 3 authors would you like to have a drink with?
Mary Oliver, Sister Corita Kent and John O’Donohue, alongside a drink, we would share a three-course meal, the table would be covered in flowers, of course, and Anne Lamott would pop in for dessert.
What is currently on your TBR pile?
Childhood by Tove Ditlevsen
To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O’Donohue
Corita Kent. Art and Soul. The Biography by April Dammann
Favorite book you read as a child?
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
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