BV 1000, aak

I’m tired of binding and re-binding my poetry manuscript. I need a different text to set and bind.  BV 1000’s Story of Kintu would be perfect, but it still needs at least another hundred lines. At least.

Time to put the BV hat back on, wouldn’t you say. 

Finally put together a halfway decent Codex binding. Hah!


retting flax (1)

it is better to not let the bundles
sit in water long enough
than to let them sit there too long

they always can be submerged again
if found to be wanting later but
the reverse problem
cannot be solved

in this case the fibers are rotted
as well as the stalk and one cannot
un-rot something

retting flax (2)

when wrapped around
a finger the inner wood should
spring away from the fibers


a talking blue smell



OK, we’re getting somewhere. Here’s my latest attempt at a Coptic binding. I’m practising with A Talking Blue Smell, which is my poetry manuscript. Its contents change each time I reset the text for a different kind of binding. I haven’t made a title label for this copy yet.

I’m now working on a regular Codex binding which, as my bookbinding book says, “is the type of book that we generally think of when we imagine a book. The signatures are sewn together at the spine, and they’re protected by a hard cover on the front, spine and back.”

My favorite part is the sewing. There’s something very satisfying about sewing thick paper with waxed linen thread and a curved needle.

Bookbinding tools are beautiful. I want a sewing frame for Christmas, everyone.

I wrote a poem for my little brother and bound it in its own little book and mailed it to him. It said things I should have said to him years ago. I hope it was a good idea.

flaws and perfection

Scavella – who writes the best sevenlings – has been busy.

And is making me think about what I’m doing.

I got more or less serious about studying and writing poetry just about two and a half years ago. My first publication – submitted on a monumental dare to myself – came in November 2006 (thanks, Shit Creek Review!) Subsequent submissions were made cautiously, in great trepidation and greater angst.  Fourteen months later, I have a total of 22 pieces either published or accepted for publication.  (Full list here.) I’ve tried to submit only to places I will always be happy to claim as a publication credit, and I think I’ve succeeded.

Rejections were never any surprise. Acceptances always were. Which remains true today.  But the paradigm has shifted over the last year or so, and so therefore has the quality of the surprise.  At the beginning, the rejection of a piece signaled to me a flaw in the piece, and it was dashing for that reason.   Now — after having a number of pieces rejected several times before going on to find good homes — I find I am dashed by rejection more as evidence of failure to connect, than as evidence of a flawed piece. And, conversely, delighted by acceptance as evidence of successful connection, rather than of a perfect piece.

And, now, confused about just what a “flawed” piece is. Or a “perfect” one.

I don’t think either is what I used to think it is.