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Back to books …

June 11, 2019

Everything I write these days has trees in it.

I enjoyed making “Oak” so much that I went on to make a second book of photo/poems, “And Other Trees”. Both are one-off books (too expensive to reproduce at an affordable price, but individual A4 prints will be available to buy) and will be shown at our ABCD exhibition (31 August – 7 September) at ACE gallery in Somerton. I want to acknowledge here that in this project I have been inspired by the example of Dave Bonta’s videopoems and his Woodrat Photoblog.

Oak and Other Trees small

I received this photo (below) this week. It shows two of my handmade books feeling at home in very good company in Sebastopol, California.


I blogged about “Between two Moons” – the one on the upper shelf – extensively in 2017, but I’ve been reticent about “These Last Months” because it is so personal. The critic on my shoulder tells me that no-one wants to read stuff like this. A wise mentor told me otherwise. So I compromised: I have made an edition of 25 copies. I will be reading from it for the first time in public at BRLSI in Queen Square, Bath, at an open meeting of Bath Writers and Artists at 2pm on Saturday 29 June. This is a free event, with free tea and cake! Do come if you’re in the area.

These Last Months

part 18


Finally, some news of free bookbinding workshops at ACEarts, Somerton, during Book Week June 25-29.

With thanks to funding from Somerset Skills & Learning all workshops are free – please note we are only able to offer one workshop per person but welcome you to go onto the reserve lists for other workshops. 

Tuesday 25 June: Coptic binding with Nina Gronw-Lewis
Coptic binding is favoured by many artist book makers as it allows a book to lie completely open when flat. Being an open spine binding it showcases the decorative stitching across the spine. 10.30-1 pm and 2-4.30 pm  

Wednesday 26 June: Hardback books with Donna Vale (must have book experience)
Learn how to make your very own hardback book for sketching or writing in. We will use traditional methods to create a bespoke journal. 10-5 pm 

Thursday 27 June: Boxes for books with Paul Taylor of Spiral Path book studio.
10-4 pm 

Friday 28 June: Artists’ books with meaning. Jenny Graham
Create a simple folded book using image, collage and print. 10-4 pm 

Saturday 29 June: Hand lettering workshop with Donna Vale.
Working in Modern calligraphy, hand lettering, beautiful writing and illustration to create a one off work of art.  10.30-3.30 pm

To book a place, contact to book


Posted by Ama Bolton on 11th June 2019


From the city of wells to the city of bridges

June 9, 2019

We spent a marvellous bank Holiday weekend in Brugge/Bruges with our daughter and her partner, who have been there many times. A lovely city surrounded by water. There were banners in many languages celebrating the forthcoming Procession of the Holy Blood. The weather was too nice to spend much time indoors, so we left the museums and galleries for another visit.Bruges 1Bruges 2Bruges 3Bruges 4Bruges 5Bruges 6Bruges 7Bruges 8Bruges 9Bruges 10Bruges 11Bruges 12

Bruges 18

Peter and I took the Halve Maan brewery tour while Mary and Jan had some beer. The views from the roof are spectacular. The beer is transported in a pipeline under the city to a modern bottling plant somewhere on the horizon.

Bruges 13Bruges 14Bruges 15Bruges 16Bruges 17

Mary and I decided to climb the 366 steps to the top of the Belfort (bell tower) in the central square. While we waited our turn to go in, people started assembling in the courtyard. It was a rehearsal for the next week’s procession.

Bruges 19Bruges 20

We were almost the last visitors to be let in that day. We looked down at the square from the first balcony, then climbed up and up to the Drum Room, the clock, the bells, and the amazing views from the top, where inscriptions on the windowsills told us what we were looking at and how far away it was.

Bruges 21Bruges 22Bruges 23Bruges 24Bruges 25Bruges 26Bruges 27Bruges 28

Then it was a long descent by the same spiral staircase, which changes direction twice as it approaches the top. Here is the Belfort from below.

Bruges 29

The city is small enough to walk around in a few hours. It’s very clean and has plenty of parks and open spaces and tree-lined walks. Heavy traffic is excluded during the day. Long-wheelbase bicycles can transport whole families. Huge barges carry massive loads. The bridges at the perimeter of the old city are heavily fortified.

Bruges 31Bruges 32Bruges 33Bruges 34Bruges 35Bruges 36Bruges 37Bruges 38Bruges 39Bruges 40Bruges 41Bruges 42Bruges 43Bruges 44Bruges 45Bruges 46Bruges 47Bruges 48Bruges 49 We drove to Ostend for lunch on the Sunday. This grand old building squished between new blocks on the sea-front caught my eye.


When in Brugge, it is necessary to buy chocolate.

Mary's chocolate shop

Big thanks to Mary and Jan for organising the travel and accommodation and doing all the driving – and for introducing us to one of their favourite places.

ABCD May meeting

May 28, 2019
I was far away last Saturday, but thanks to Janine and Jane I have some photos.
The first two show Janine’s embroidered tunnel-book Hazel Walk.

Janine Barchard Hazel WalkJanine Barchard Hazel Walk 1

Next, Clare’s Ash.

Clare Diprose Ash coverClare Diprose Ash open


Nina’s book Caught in a Bind, inspired by the legend of Tristan and Isolde joined together by ivy from their separate graves.

Nina Gronw Lewis Ivy openNina Gronw Lewis 2Nina Gronw Lewis 1

Jane’s book, inspired by the carol The Holly and the Ivy.
Jane Paterson HollyJane Paterson Holly 1

One of Thalia’s Alder booklets.

Thalia AlderThalia Brown Alder

And another.

Probably Thalia Brown Alder

Karen (Willow)

Probably Caroline Mornement BrambleProbably Karen Young


Caroline (Bramble)


Some prints by Bron.

Probably Pauline Pearce Birch


Two double-pages for our collective book: the introduction, and Judy’s page.

Intro to collective bookJudy Warbey page

And a couple of images of my book Oak.

open book 2open book
Our next meeting will be on 22nd June.

Clare kindly scooped up the May Dove-droppings for us.

three monsters flowered
at the weeping spot
that’s what perpetuates the whole thing

the tree that bleeds
loose-leaf etchings
the leaves were picked for us

hand-stitching over each twig
when you’re not being watched
we weren’t allowed to

I couldn’t remember the direction
I have to put it in upside down
at night you don’t see that

soya milk to mordant cloth
how many I’ve had to make
we’re all a bit fuzzy

buttered willow and boiling beetroot
mice nibbled mine
from pale to deep

all the loud people
called out of Latin
to look after my jackdaw

this book has my intentions
the whole rigmarole of the story
it changes shape

one chapter is missing
the cones are still growing
such small pieces

the cover is the first thing
trust the printer
make more bundles

sit on their shoulders
longing to see the inside
the field has to be seen

I don’t need a name
look at your nettle
I’m wilting inside

don’t come
start with the book-book
a fox trotting along the fence                

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


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:
UK and rest of world:

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.