that was when I lost my leaves

September 16, 2015 § 1 Comment

We of PenHouseInk fame used to say of editing that the last cut was the deepest since it meant finally getting rid of what we of PHI fame called our pleased as punch lines, and punchlines, the lines which made you the writer weep, the lines which begin as the heart of the matter, then the scaffolding which holds the piece up until it supports its own weight such that those lines, the lines that made you weep because they were the lines which held the story, which held the feelings which propelled you to write the piece in the first place, were of course no longer needed because once finished the very work of the piece as a whole is to elicit those feelings in the reader

andso those punchlines are rendered by comparison a roughly hewn bludgeon

I was reminded of this at the shoppe yesterday when lyn, and brooke, were looking at an almost completed version of the latest book in the cycle of who am I what do I want how do I know, NAME; the first story. And after a short while they said, “we’re going to put it together how we think it should go,” (which is sort of what I say about someone else’s work, in its formative stages, if I read it differently from the way it is being laid out) to which I responded, “I am not afraid!”

Turns out they were offended or jarred or irritated or distracted, yes distracted by a sheet of paper which I had intended as flyleaf, a piece of manufactured paper with leaves, completely out of character with the rest of the pages, and to fresh eyes completely, um, extra, completely extraneous. What was that for!? they wanted to know

Indeed. It was as it turned out one of those pleased as punchlines, standing in first, as inception and then, as underpinning because I had not, did not, trust the piece even in its final shape to hold itself up, did not believe it was bearing its own weight.

In the truest sense then that remnant of paper was just that, a vestige and now completely unnecessary, but as is sometimes the way of seeing, I hadn’t.


tops and bottoms

May 10, 2015 § Leave a comment


left to my own learning devices I both do and don’t jump right in, following a wild hair rather than instructions willing to live with what I do and don’t learn

things is if you have no idea then you don’t really learn anything because somehow there is nothing to pin it to, nothing to contextualize with, so starting with some not so vague idea about bottoms, sides, tops and how they will or won’t fit together, and how corners might be supported or hidden might be covered or not and oh yes, what to measure and what to glue and inside or out, here is what I didn’t and did learn about making a box

well that didn’t fit so well, so tried again,

and though it didn’t exactly work out like they were soup and sandwich it was as if they were made for each other and of course fact is I couldn’t have gotten such a good fit I’d tried!

and now comes the learning. and the practice. not to mention the rigors of cutting square things which are supposed to fit squarely.


brass screws

January 23, 2011 § 2 Comments

I ordered brass post binding screws

hard as it was to come up with, or to say something as simple as, I write poetry, it is at this juncture impossible to say what I’m writing–I wonder why I would say that–the shape of a poem is limitless by now, by which I mean poetry takes many shapes and yet I wouldn’t say I’m exactly writing poetry which is to say the writing is not poetry to my ears, though it is evocative rather than prosaic, but the music if there is any is cacophonic, and it is not prose in any sense of the word though there are words and even sentences

he said some time ago, maybe the book is a poem, and that’s close, or closer if you, or I as the case is need to use words that are easier, or at the very least, familiar, and earned

that said, I can finally see why they, or we as the case is, have come to call it, if it needs to be called, book art, as hackneyed as it is, it is accurate, and it is the heart of the matter, it is the exploration of an idea, or ideas within the space of something we know to call a book, at least at this point my books still look like books straight up, and down which finally gets me to the question–rather like the age old question what makes a poem a poem–what is a book, what makes a book a book, which of course is in part what I’m exploring–but it doesn’t go without saying,

it has to start with a beginning and an end, by which I mean: it has, to start with, a beginning and an end, and it takes place through space, it is visual, there is a visual field, and it is a visual experience, you can hold it touch it and fondle it, it is tactile, you can take it to bed with you, you can read it, ohmygod (I think over time this may be up for discussion); it pushes and pulls, shows&tells

there is a narrative–my books (all two of them) if you will, have narrative, a binding force, ha which gets me back to, I ordered brass post binding screws, because even if you can’t tell a book by its cover, like it or not, a cover is integral and must be a credible part of the risk–they are an exploration an idea, that may have started with a feeling for sure, but the truth is not about the feeling (as it might be in a poem, where again it is not the facts that are true but the feeling they support, for godsake), the truth is in the execution of the idea that is supports

andbut they may be a poem, or not or have words or not, or pictures or not and not even look like a book

ok smartypants, do you know what makes something a book?

the fire with good editing waxes now, the moon, in the bluing morning’s sky wanes as does the fog, and

I’m abook, all the world’s abook, book em judigo

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