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If you’re in Bath on 1st June

May 22, 2019

Then please come to the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute in Queen Square in the centre of Bath. Members of the Bath Writers and Artists will be gathered in the Lonsdale Room (upstairs) 1.45 to 4.30pm. There will be tea and cakes! Performances and slide shows! And a chance to see a few of my new photo-poems from And Other Trees.
The event is completely free.

June 1st poster

cropped-willlow-

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found poem: sooner or later

May 7, 2019

Here’s another of Judy Kleinberg’s found poems that very much hits the spot.

chocolate is a verb


found poem © j.i. kleinberg

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Harness of Bone

May 2, 2019

I am proud to announce a new book forthcoming from Barleybooks

Front Cover 29 March

Sometimes I look for a plowed field to walk through

the earth turned over in such a way 

that I might recognize some root

of my own memory

… …

I read in the newspaper

of an eight year old

in a refugee camp

who talked of suicide 

in a quiet ordinary voice

— two extracts from Who Might We Ask, the first of twenty-seven new poems in this twelfth collection from San Francisco poet and activist Beau Beausoleil. The cover image by Somerset artist Fiona Hingston beautifully matches the wintry starkness and clarity of these poems with their themes of heartache, rage and transcendence.

Here are beautiful laments for the lost ones—parents, a son, an eight-year-old refugee who talks about suicide “in a quiet ordinary voice.” Beausoleil’s direct, declarative syntax and precise images hold our private and collective griefs in ways both vivid and mysterious.

– Julie Bruck, winner of the Canada Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry 2012

I can’t say what makes [Beausoleil’s] work so good, which is a good part of what makes it remarkable. I think it starts with [his] qualities as a person. And from there, the lines … do such interesting things … They express the abstract and the concrete at the same time.

– Eric Whittington, owner of Bird & Beckett Bookshop, San Francisco

Let me speak of this book through one of its poems: In “The Precise Moment,” the poet, overcome, again, by loss, begins to weep in the middle of the post office where he is waiting in line to buy stamps. It is, as is this book, a portrait of the way grief is nothing, then suddenly, all, compelling our tears from their beds the way the moon pulls, as Beausoleil writes, at the sleeve of the ocean. But as grief comes, this book teaches, so comes the poem to reply, to continue past breakage and loss — to live.

– Richard Harrison, winner of the Canada Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry 2017

Hand-stitched pamphlet, 6″x8.5″, 44 pages, edition of 200

To be published June 2019

Price until 31st May £10/$15 p&p free

Price after 1st June £10/$15 plus p&p at cost

Inquiries: Americas and Canada: overlandbooks@earthlink.net
UK and rest of world: barleybooks@hotmail.co.uk

Park Wood

May 1, 2019

A week later, two fields from home. Branches torn down by Storm Hannah, bluebells already starting to fade, new beech leaves angling for the light, fungi getting on with the endless task of recycling, ferns unfurling. A male holly tree in flower. A view of the cathedral across Palace Fields. I came home with a handful of plastic, and leaves for oak-leaf wine.

Shapwick Heath on Easter Sunday

April 26, 2019

The sky was clear from horizon to horizon. Bitterns boomed. Lots of little birds twittered invisibly in the reeds. Swans, ducks, herons and a little egret were visible. Two geese flew overhead, conducting a loud and animated conversation. Men strode past with seriously big telephoto lenses on their backs. Cyclists whizzed along the track with such a loud crunching of gravel that I doubt if they could hear the birds. The oak trees were suddenly looking properly green.

birchesmustardoak reflectedoaksstripes

Caution: deep water

Bristol Artists’ Book Event 2019

April 25, 2019

This treat happens for two days every two years at the Arnolfini on the waterfront in Bristol. I managed to get there for two half-days. As always, there was little time and much to do and see.

Mike Clements’s flat-pack 3D structures caught my eye. Unlike some politicians I could name, they are strong and stable. He used some of them to support a bookshelf. Now that’s a good idea …
I bought a calendar for next year.

Mike Clementscalendar instructionscalendar

I went to Jeremy Dixon’s reading from his pamphlet In Retail, a sequence of numbered, untitled poems resulting from his time working in a well-known pharmacy chain. “Most of the poems,” writes Jeremy in his introduction, “began life as hurried lines scribbled on the back of a length of till-roll in the lull between sales. As staff members were not allowed to carry any personal items while on the shop-floor, I hid these scraplets in my sock and prayed that today wasn’t the surprise-spot-search-in-the-store-cupboard day.” Now, that is what I want to read! Urgent poems that demand to be written. Poems smuggled out of a hostile environment.

The design of the book (by Cherry Potts at Arachne Press) deserves mention for its meticulous attention to the spirit and origin of the poems. The head and foot of each page carry mirror-text in a faded grey utilitarian font: very much like what one might see showing through the flimsy paper of a till-receipt. Moreover, the text at he foot of each page can be read in either direction as a found poem running through the sequence.

Jeremy is a book-artist. His own Hazard Press produces books, micro-books (from a single A4 sheet), badges, and postcards hand-printed on an Adana press. I bought Tarmac, a little stab-bound book of laconic environmental poetry. The cover of this particular copy is made from an old postcard of Bath Abbey.

In RetailTarmac

Another very enjoyable but sparsely-attended reading I went to was by Stephen Boyce and Mark Rutter. I later found Mark’s stall and bought his Flarestack pamphlet Basho in Acadia (that’s not a typo: Acadia is a National Park on an island off the coast of Maine.) These poems are not haiku, but are written with a haiku master’s engaged detachment and eye for detail.

I also came home with one of Mark’s broadsides and a clutch of his delightfully semi-legible postcards. I do love hand-lettering.

Basho in AcadiaMark Rutter printMark Rutter postcards

From my dear friend Pauline Lamont-Fisher I bought I marched 23 march 2019, a quickly-produced, but (as ever) beautifully-designed, souvenir of the day. The last illustration shows the banner she made the evening before the march.

I Marched

Other books I bought included a little popup-book of ampersands from Corinne Welch

Boggerland, a mysterious and compelling little glimpse into the future of the wetland ecosystem, from Chloe Ashley and George Harding (I didn’t spill my coffee on it- that’s reflection on the shiny cover!)

Boggerland

Winter (in her)) by Irena Frantal: poetic words and poetic photos of winter trees. A little gem. The first photo shows the translucent book-band, and the last shows the back and front cover with a 6″ ruler for scale.

And, finally, The Liszts, a delightful illustrated story-book about an unexpected guest. The story is told in hand-drawn lettering , and there are lots of lists. A lovely book. Actually I think I bought this one in the Arnolfini bookshop on my way out.

The Lizsts

So, big thanks to Sarah Bodman and her team at UWE for this wonderful event.

 

 

ABCD 6th April

April 18, 2019

Artists’ Book Club Dove met on 6th April. We are making progress with our books for the Circle of Trees.

Caroline has been making blackberry ink and drawing with it.

Caroline

Clare is well on the way, with minimalist prints and text, paintings, and collage.

Clare 1Clare 3aClare 4Clare 5Clare 7

Carol has re-made her lino-print and cut-out book, and a second book with cut-out pages only.

Pauline 1Pauline 2Pauline 3Pauline 4

Pauline has made some beautiful Celtic-style hand-cut type.Pauline 5

Jane is struggling with her Holly-themed book’s tendency to look like a Christmas card.
Janine is making small books on Celtic themes.
I have made several more photo-poems.

Bron made delicious nettle soup and served it in her own hand-made dishes. So beautiful!

Nettle soup

I think these willows at the Dove are offering ideas for masks.

Some of us went to BABE, the (Brilliant) Bristol Artists’ Book Event, at the end of last month, and my next post will be about that. Meanwhile, here is a link to Bob Bolick’s post. I do recommend this really excellent blog.

Also a link, as requested, to Anna Raven’s blog-post about saving bugs (and, by implication, us etc) from extinction. Anna’s posts are infrequent and always worth reading.

Finally, here are my rather lengthy eavesdroppings.

April Dove-droppings

it’s building an empire
entering the territory again
taking no prisoners

make it bleed
scramble across both pages
ok do what you want fine

there are stragglers
slow books
quirky in the quercus

batology is not the study of bats
they nest in the hollow stems
waiting for time

blackberry ink from Waitrose
a triangular idea
I’ve done it both sides

I do a whole thing on witches
insect life transformed
too much like a Christmas

to bleed or not to bleed
I redid the blind drawing
with a birchwood fastening

not too literal
foliage and a hospital bed
stages of growth and death

god told me not to
I am a deadline person
making it up as I go along

I know beetroot isn’t a tree
I had a tequila moment in a tent
I discovered a hidden talent

my fascinator had gathered
a couple of little umbrellas
a gin and a bit o’lemon

a whinchat has eyebrows
it’s got legs
there was a feather somewhere

would it look wrong
inappropriate and rubbish
we nearly talked about it

 

Posted by Ama Bolton on 18th April 2019