Bordsteinlyrik – Eric Ahrens

I had always wanted to design a poetry book. Something small and precious, something to take with you, to open up when you have a moment, that takes you out of whatever you were thinking before.

And at the same time I have a hard time with poetry, all too often I find it outright cheesy or its language just seems to come from a time that I cannot relate to. Eric’s texts are not like that. They are down-to-earth observations from his daily life in Berlin, often ironic sometimes sarcastic, they make me laugh and they get me thinking.

So I suggested him to work on his next book together and he happily agreed. I had the privilege to read through a lot of his texts and then sequenced them.
I proposed several layouts and formats of the book, made a couple of dummies, all of them small and rather dark from the outside and we finally settled on what became “Bordsteinlyrik” [curbstone poetry].

We wanted it to be small and thick and handbound. And since neither me nor him wanted to create something expensive and I cannot afford to work for free, he needed to get involved in the production process. Eric said of himself that he’s not capable to do anything with his hands apart from maybe serving drinks in a bar. And so the first books that he sew together weren’t bookbinding masterpieces and the pages were moving in all kind of directions, but they certainly were unique… By now, after dozens and dozens of books having been bound by him, his suffering became bearable and I think he does a decent job!

If you are interested in purchasing the book, please diretly contact Eric through [at]

After the front matter and the index, the cover material reappears. What follows is a quote from an employee of the jobcenter [that’s something like an employment office in Germany]. Whenever someone buys the book, s/he needs to rip the black page to create a personalized book and reveal a segement of that quote which in its entirety reads something like “those who look for contact to fellow human being have lost control over their lifes”.

Printing with black toner onto black paper gives a nice effect.

Eric being distracted by people taking pictures.

We used Metapaper Extrough Recycling white in 150 g/m², a paper with a really nice rough texture that still works well with my dry toner printer.

The splash box. With a brush, some Chinese ink and a (black) thumb we sprinkled the cut of the books.