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Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Okay. See: I actually know I'm an AMATEUR when it comes to anything crafty.  I do both admire and deplore (the latter coz I'm jealous) those with craft-related talents.  And moi jealousy reared up with today's mail when I received Susan Yount's mini-book for SitWithMoi -- look at it:

Yes, yes ... this 2.25” x 2.25” gem has a lovely cover -- a rose outline against a peachy (pun intended) floral backdrop.  But nevuhmind that!  Look at the SPINE!  It's that thingamajig -- that ubiquitous black plastic binder thingie in a mini version ... THAT IS SO CLEVER!  Here Moi am mini-booking up the universe and all I keep using for a binder is a single staple!  Looking at that spine, I feel so craftsy-LAME ... !

Okay.  Nuff about Moi.  So, thank you wonderful poet-editor-publisher Susan Yount for this enchanting mini-book!  After admiring the spine, um, cover, you open the book to see:

And what I realized upon looking at the above, is how the stickered illustration plays off nicely against the poem-text.  For instance, in the above, the words “what you seek” suddenly adds a second visual layer to what had been the rose.  The rose is no longer just a rose (sorry, Gertrude) but also can be a labyrinth (well, to my eyes it can be!).  This leads Moi to wonder, what would the poem be without the illustrations?  Well, let's see just the poem-text first:

what you seek

your own voice

   the naked bulb—

      trilling in space

a rescue ship

   his forearm tense

the invisible boy

to haul you from the cold.


      sounds like a

snow melt.


  Nothing really

So nothing happened?
even after the change

   who hides,

         on his shelf,


I’m telling you what happened,
   Come back

a feeling, like


all flight and run

out the window

and over—

so the body in the bed will turn.

love is echo—

realize when to rest.

Know where to end,
I love this evocative poem – there’s  a tenderness in the exhaustion of the poem’s speaker that draws in the reader, and nudges the reader to become fully invested by creating a more specific narrative that would cohere the fragments.  I won’t share my narrative because I don’t want to get in the way of other people’s reads.  (Besides, mine is a downbeat read – it’s about a person blossoming concurrently with a relationship ending … oh wait, I don’t want to get in the way of your read …)

Anyway, I’m not sure I translated the text correctly in terms of caesuras, spacings, etc. You can see the entire book at Susan’s tumbler site. But, let’s compare here the naked text with some of the pages below which bear illustrations.  First, here’s the page that bears the phrase, “sounds like a”

To my eyes, the hearkening of sound and what the sound might be transforms the rose into pulsating linear curves that offer a visual metaphor for trying to figure out something.  Upon another look, I also suddenly see an eye (do you see it?) in the middle of the rose bloom, which relates to the phrase; the (peeking) eye is trying to visually confirm the existence of the sound-maker …

Let’s look at another illustrated page, the one with the phrase, “love is echo—“

That’s right. You should be able to discern easily the echoes from the petal-shapes as the flower expands from its center.

Let’s look now at the book’s last two pages; the text ends with “know where to end,”—that the phrase/sentence ends with a comma instead of a period is a smart choice.  The comma indicates a pause but not necessarily the ending of a period.  So its use highlights the uncertainty still existing at this point of the poem.

Still, I’m choosing to take an optimistic “ending” to the poem and mini-book.  Because if you look at the last image, the line denotes a falling, but the ending line (beyond the two petals) show the line not continuing its fall.  The line is curling upward (up = progress) and forming a shape that can indicate a new budding.  A budding into a new self after all the searching indicated by the poem’s text. 

One can read something with the expanse of a Russian novel into this mini-book.  Thank you, Susan, for this fabulous production—both poem and book design!  Now, where shall we shelve this lovely little?  Well, why not, per the suggestion of the watchful Poet-With-Chairs, give the poem’s budding Self some luck by having it sit on one of Sally Davies’ Lucky Art Chairs!

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