Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Charming Image

Zeppelin at the Goodyear Air Dock

Zeppelin at the Goodyear Air Dock

immediately, I’m charmed by the image,

its antique tones, its steampunk and surrealism.

On Friday, I finally had a chance to search out a copy of Alvin Rosenbaum’s Work’s in Progress at the Toronto Reference Library. It wasn’t easy for the library staff! While the books lives in the stacks, it turns out to be improperly coded in the online catalogue preventing a library patron from making a stacks request. Thanks to Ainy, Lily and Krystyna at the Business, Science and Technology desk who persisted in tracking down the book for me.

The image is credited simply to the Goodyear Tire and Rubber company. I’ve enjoyed searching around for this image online which has brought in contact with many weird and wonderful things. But there was a special thrill both in finding the actual photo and in finding it to be a standout: for the most beautiful of all, and clearly the reference of the details in the poem.

The slideshow gives you a bit of a walk through the book, including the spread which includes the photo and also an image of the hangar under construction.

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The Goodyear Air Dock

An old photo of the Zeppelin that Goodyear flew out of Akron,

airship nose poking from massive hangar archway:

When this became the first poem in what became the book, Zeppelin, I thought that I would search out the “old photo”. I assumed I’d recognize it but found that image searches yielded many contenders. Here is one that seemed likely. B1AC24F1-9CFB-8E34-131AB232EB05D431_5 It is of the USS Akron emerging from its hangar in suitably “antique tones”, the airship enigmatic enough to evoke “surrealism” though perhaps not “steampunk”, there are “tiny foreground figures”. In part because of my uncertainty about finding the photo, I began to wonder about the reference more broadly: had Goodyear ever flown a Zeppelin out of Akron? I was glad to find this post at the wonderful airships.net, which provided the substance of the note on the first poem that is included in the book. Not only had Goodyear and Zeppelin collaborated on Zeppelins built long ago in Akron and then abandoned: they began to work together again a few years ago and as soon as 2014, it might be a Goodyear Zeppelin flying over the Super Bowl in place of aging blimps!

But I thought to poke into this a bit further. I tracked down the original draft of this poem written on November 14th, 2004. A strange convergence: according to my journal, the previous day, Saturday, November 13th, was the day that I finished the manuscript of my first book, Crown and Ribs, in the form in which it was first submitted to potential publishers. That day, I had taken my daughter out for a stroller walk on the Danforth and stopped in at a now defunct used bookstore: “…browse ‘Books R Gold’, see Works in Progress, book of photographs of monuments under construction, including the Akron Zeppelin hangar.” This book written in 1994 by Alvin Rosenbaum can be seen in part online. The online preview doesn’t include any photos of Akron, but is highly recommended for the pictures included of the Lincoln Memorial and other famous landmarks under construction. The one clue I did find was in the index: Goodyear Audock – a misprint!

The Goodyear Air Dock in Akron turns out to have a long, rich history. It exists to this day and is in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. There were even cute souvenirs made of it!

The Toronto Reference Library has a copy of Works in Progress, so I hope in the future to post the actual picture that inspired the poem nine years ago.

A closing aside: airship hangars are everywhere! My wife Roseanne‘s California years were spent close to the Tustin hangars. And in March, as I tweeted the results of online searches for Zeppelin poems and curiosities, I came across Trevor Monk’s site for his airship poems as well as his site devoted to his love for and efforts on behalf  of the preservation of the Cardington Sheds.

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Book Judged by Cover!

First in a set of supplemental in-flight safety tips. While the craft is designed to be intuitive and comes equipped with some ballast at its tail, you may find these notes helpful, or diverting, in operating your Zeppelin.

The cover is the work of Carleton Wilson. He designed the handsome typeface and adapted the Zeppelin image from Zeppelin: The Story of A Great Achievement by Harry Vissering (1922). Follow the link to view the wonderful Project Guttenberg eBook version which includes the orginal books many amazing and charming photos, illustrations and diagrams. Below is a small sampling.

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Movie Monster: The Video!

Hope you’ll enjoy and share “Movie Monster”, the lead video for Zeppelin, launching April 20th, 2013 in Toronto!

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by | April 8, 2013 · 3:24 am