Lawrence Coster: The Apostle of Printing (c. 1420)

Screenshot 2019-05-09 at 19.30.13Screenshot 2019-05-09 at 19.30.13

Included in your crowded CV list:

candle-maker, auditor, and catechist;

by Dutch canals you wooed your beau,

setting her heart and mind aglow.


Then lone-seated, under willows etched,

slowly your sharp knife blade sketched

lovers initials on a branch, sharp incisions

birthed more than mere lover’s vision.


Betrothal present then parchment-wrapped,

cyphers sang in secret, cellulose sap

oozed out from peeled willow wood,

craftsman claimed such imprint good.


Later printed bible, salvation story told,

broke asunder all spiritual strangleholds:

people set free from sin and serf slavery,

freedom preached with godly bravery.


Laurens Janszoon Coster (c. 1370, Haarlem, the Netherlands – c. 1440), or Laurens Jansz Koster, is the name of a purported inventor of a printing press from Haarlem. He allegedly invented printing simultaneously with Johannes Gutenberg and is regarded by some in the Netherlands as having invented printing first.


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