Download Full Text (6.0 MB)
Download Cut out heart sketch.psd (14.2 MB)
Download Torn Paper Piece A.psd (1.3 MB)
Download Torn Paper Piece B.psd (596 KB)
Download Torn Paper Piece C.psd (772 KB)
Download Torn Paper Piece D.psd (630 KB)
Download Torn Paper Piece E.psd (467 KB)
Download Torn Paper Piece F.psd (1.1 MB)
Download Torn Paper Piece G.psd (691 KB)
Dimensions: 30 inches wide, 36 inches tall
Medium: Inkjet on matte paper, printed on both sides
Work displayed here as a diptych
Artist's narrative: Letter 3 was written to Dunbar’s friend and mentor Dr. James Newton Matthews. The letter focused on Dunbar’s despair following his publication and recital at the Western Association of Writers Conference, where he was not able to sell any of his poems. This caused him to doubt himself and his ability. The color blue was used to represent these feelings of sadness and self doubt. Negative words were pulled from the letter and applied at various line weights and opacities to further emphasize how Dunbar’s negative thoughts were overpowering him. The imagery of torn paper also represents his feelings of failure as the pieces are falling away and hitting the bottom of the poster. The letter transitions to a more hopeful note as Dunbar recounts his admiration for Will Pfrimmer’s Driftwood and the prospect of the developing world of Western poetry. The opposing side of the poster features the color orange with text that reinforces the feeling of hope that becomes evident later in the letter. The repeated hearts represent Dunbar’s Admiration for Pfrimmer and John Clark Ridpath, whom he met at Western Association of Writers Conference, and more positive and optimistic words and phrases were chosen to populate the page and reflect the more positive tone of the latter half of the letter. The type palette consists of Vendetta by John Downer and Tisa Sans Pro by Miklavcic.
Paul Laurence Dunbar, Dayton history, University of Dayton, Black history
Betz, Ainsley, "From Despair Comes Future Hope" (2023). Life in Letters: A Typographic Poster Exhibition Featuring Paul Laurence Dunbar. 1.