Humans intuitively create connections between things; when confronted with words and images on a page, we instinctively derive meaning.


Although the western tradition of dictionary-making can be traced back to the Greeks, the first dictionary of English words was Robert Cawdry's Table Alphabeticall, published in 1604. Dictionaries subsequently underwent various transformations over the course of 200 plus years until in 1828, Noah Webster, an American teacher and lexicographer, published “An American Dictionary of the English Language.” Today the name Webster has become synonymous with dictionaries.


The inspiration for this issue comes from the Merriam-Webster dictionaries of the 19th Century, namely the 1859 American Dictionary of the English Language (the 1st illustrated dictionary in America) as well as the modern Pictorial Webster’s: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities, published in 2009.


bib • lio • phi• lia


the love of books


bib • lio • phile


someone who loves books


It’s hard to pinpoint what it is that fills us when we hold an old book and surmise its secrets. Perhaps, as Karina Borowicz’s poem strikingly illustrates, what happens when we “wander in and let [our] hands rest on any book any page” is that we become enamored with that indescribable scent.  As quoted by the Smithsonian in a study conducted in 2009, it’s a “combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness.”  


This, we believe, must surely be love. 


Having shared a mutual love of vintage books and more specifically of vintage dictionaries, we always knew we would eventually venture into an issue that payed homage to those stunning early books with their elegant engravings and defined illustrations. Upon reading Karina Borowicz’s poem, the premise for this issue became instantly clear. 




Zickuhr, K. The Science of "the smell of books." Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from




POET Karina Borowicz is the author of two poetry collections, Proof (Codhill Press, 2014) and The Bees Are Waiting (Marick Press, 2012), which won the Eric Hoffer Award for Poetry and was named a Must-Read by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Her poems have appeared widely in literary journals and have been featured on Garrison Keillor’s A Writer’s Almanac and in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry series.


A version of Karina Borowicz's "Bookshop Biblio Globus" was first printed in REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters.


RESIDENT ARTIST Letisia Cruz is a Cuban-American writer and illustrator. She is enthralled by nature and the acute connection to form associated with ink illustration. Her visual vocabulary emerges through this focus and subsequently explores the connection between man and nature.  She is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University's MFA program and currently lives in Miami, FL. She is the Online Poetry Re-Features Editor at The Literary Review.


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