Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I have had the most ecstatic (wink) time these past three days figuring out how to do the hand-made chap that will be issued through Dusie this summer. This is Dusie's special chap project where pdfs of the chaps will be available online, but poets also can create print versions. It was very difficult for a lazy Moi as I kept having to clamp down on the urge to just send the manuscript to a POD printer and be done with it.

And I'm such a luddite that in deciding to do a print chap, I had to cutnpaste the text to fit it horizontally as I can't figure out Word's way of switching from vertical to horizontal!

But it's done! The design is done -- and and and it also reflects what I meant in Moi's penultimate post about having to be sure that there has to be a reason why a project moves from online to print (to which Allen Bramhall, btw, posts an interesting response). In my chap's case, all the poems (or unedited versions) are available online at the archives of the Beach House ...and then, this summer, they'll be available online through Dusie. So what's the rationale for my print version? Here are my raw *Poetics Notes* for conceptualizing the print version into providing a multidimensional manifestation of the project, including an invitation to performance involving the reader:

--The text is xeroxed against treated paper: a faded xerox of a newspaper's Want Ad section. I relate the "Want Ad" concept to Desire, a thread underpinning the poems. But it's not clear, with the fading of text, that the background text are want ads -- they just come across as words words words...but which I think fits (since stories are often told through words) the surfacing several times of the line hearkening a major theme of the project: "Once, I stepped / into a / story // I thought belonged / to me..."

--Sprinkled throughout are black-and-white images of flamenco scenes, mostly from postcards and flyers from my trip years back to Spain when I witnessed flamenco, mostly in Barcelona. I wanted to be sure that the images weren't just lifted from available internet sources (one is). For me, to write poetry is partly first to see...and I wanted that private (bodily) check of authenticity.

--The cover stock is two-fold: glossy red and green paper. The right edge of the front red paper is ripped, to show the underlying green (the above cover image was shot before I discovered I should rip that edge). If color is a narrative, red denotes passion and green, in this case, nature. The reference to nature relates, in this case, to reality...that though, as I often do in my poems, "I concoct fictions, I never lie."

--The torn strip from ripping the red front cover is pasted before the last poem in the flamenco series; the last poem is a sort of conclusion to the prior 11 poems. Written on the torn strip is another underlying theme of the project: "DAME LA VERDAD" (Tell me the Truth).

--There is a rawness (e.g., crookedly-pasted lines, not neatly aligned page edges, unaligned staples, ripped images) in the production of the chap, which is deliberate as I very much wanted to show the presence of the hand. Hand-making inserts, in moi view, the poet's bodily presence so that it's impossible for the poems' "I"s to be mere personas (even as they're fictitious).

--The chap is encased in used newspaper wrapping -- not only is this recycling part of my and Dusie's "ecopoetics," but it relates to creating value from things normally considered trash (something I hearkened in my earlier Six Directions projects when I created drawings from used paper bags)

--There is a handmade sticker atop the newspaper wrapping featuring a black-and-white image of a flamenco dancer and the words: "To learn my secrets, read my poems. But, first, you must promise: DAME LA VERDAD!" This designs seeks to tip the reader into a space to consider words which are a form of address to that reader, and yet it is unclear who is talking and, relatedly, who is asking for a promise...for Truth. This uncertainty, I think, often applies to the reading of poems -- and yet it can be true that a poem can be significant without being totally transparent in meaning.

--Underneath the sticker will be a ribbon wrapping -- either red or green to mirror the cover's colors or gold because Poetry is Gold! It's recycled Xmas ribbon, again reflecting ecopoetics and to reflect my belief that Poetry is a Gift!

--To access the chap, the reader must untie or cut the ribbon and tear the sticker (and possibly its newspaper wrapping). The process also inserts the reader's bodily presence into the space of the chap's poems.

--Last but not least, crossing an edge of the sticker and newspaper wrapping, there also will be a lipsticked tattoo of a kiss.....for obvious reasons. But let me be obvious -- I intend, through this project, to engage in a love affair(s) with reader(s).

So is the above seductive to you? Okay, does it at least tickle your curiosity, Cat? Well then, the chap is a hand-made limited edition. Its distribution will be limited to (1) members of the Dusie chap kollektive, (2) the author's entourage, and (3) last but not least, YOU! -- if you say so. If you wish a free copy of this chap, let me know by the end of this month The chaps are being printed (viz xerox machine) this month so I can easily accommodate those willing to be seduced (or amused) by Moi (or Moi's blather). Email me your address at GalateaTen@aol.com

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