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Friday, May 31, 2013


After Paolo Javier became the Poet Laureate for Queens, New York, he instigated several lovely poetic projects, such as this feature of "Kundiman," a Tagalog poem by Emmanuel Lacaba that Paolo translated into English.  Both may be seen HERE, though I present the English version below


What you said was red is a favorite of yours.
What I said is white was a favorite of mine.
When the two of us saw each other last night,
I dressed in red and you wore white.

Paolo (I believe) had translated the poem before he became Queens' Poet Laureate.  As such, he once created this nifty project where he presented both printed on a tiny piece of gold-flecked, translucent paper.  He then inserted that slip of paper into an envelope aptly colored red (red may also be read to have significance that relates to Emmanuel Lacaba's role as a revolutionary warrior against the Philippines' Martial Law dictatorship):

Given its 2 5/8" x 4 1/8" size, this lovely red project fits with SitWithMoi's "Books on Chairs" collection!  So I'm pleased to move it from the regular Poetry Library to SitWithMoi's library!  Which means, where shall we shelve this "book"?  Well, why not with the other similarly-sized  HAIKU by Ivy Alvarez and FLORULA LUDOVICIANA by Marthe Reed on the comfortable rocking bench with rush seat and throw! 

I think they all look comfy together, don't you!?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I was so pleased to rediscover the "Dusi/e Trove" of fabulous elements snailmailed to me a few years ago by Susana Gardner, then living in Switzerland.  Among the trove was a small, blank book sized at 1 3/8" x 1".  I immediately thought it'd be perfect for one of the very tiny chairs in SitWithMoi's chair collection.

But, first, I had to inscribe text within its pages.  I chose to write a poem, "Made With Love," within its pages because most of its lines are short and I thought to inscribe one line per small page.  And because obviously this tiny book was made with love!  The text of the poem is below, but here's the title page that also gives credit to Susana for the book design:

Here is the full text of the poem (I wrote it months ago and left it alone in the files until I saw this book -- so perhaps the poem was just waiting for a reason to raise its purty little head and let the world become aware of its existence):


Mad with love

Aid with love

Am with love

Damned with love

Dem(ocrat) with love

Maid with love

Dim with love

I'm with love

Dia con amor

Ad with love

Dada with love

Dad with love


Aid please

Am Damned 

Dem Dim

No Maid!

I'm Dia Ad 

Dada Dad 

and I'm a Dad all Mad and Damned with no Aid in this Dim Dada world--
the perfect Ad for a universe to run on Love!

Donde los Dias con mucho amores?

From the following image, you might notice that the first few pages still had part of their top folds uncut, so that they couldn't be opened without tearing.  Since the subject at hand is poetry, I chose to leave those pages blank to symbolize how, in a poem which is often (though not always) a minimalist art, not everything needs to be articulated.

The following is a representative page, where a page contains one line:

But, as you can see from the above text, the last two lines of the poem are quite long.  And so I inscribed them within the tiny book as follows and continuing as needed onto the next page:

I decided that this book has two publishers: Meritage Press which publishes most of my SitWithMoi books and Dusi/e.  Hence, the last pages look like the following, complete with my heart:

And now, where shall we "shelve" this tiny book?  But of course!  On one of the tiniest chairs in the collection, the loving and loveable rattan chair:

Monday, May 27, 2013


I've already written about the wonderful Susana Gardner and her fabulous global and often DIY publishing project, Dusi/e -- I wrote about it while discussing one of the Dusi/e publications, FLORULA LUDOVICIANA by Marthe Reed (so please go to Marthe's link). 

Well, I recently came across a piece of correspondence from years ago from Susana Gardner -- even the envelope is fabulous, isn't it!

The envelope had brought several goodies, including this wonderful collage by Susana:

Also in the envelope, however, were four small books whose sizes make them perfect for shelving into SitWithMoi's "Books on Chairs" project! 

What a trove!  Now, three of the books were blank -- which I used as prompts for making new mini-books (I will blog in the next post about "Made With Love," a poem I inscribed into one of the books.  Over time, I also will post about the other three.  Meanwhile, THANK YOU, Susana Gardner for your beautiful spirit and Dusi/e, still one of the most innovative and creative uses of technology -- a use of technology that in no way diminishes the role of the hand in creative art-making!

(Here is another SitWithMoi post on another Dusi/e project,  ALL THIS FALLING AWAY by Tim Armentrout.)


This small rattan chair was part of the "Ebay 30-now-25" acquisition.  It had a twin which I let go when I deaccessioned the smaller chairs.  I kept this one because one of its legs was cut off -- so I thought to keep this special limb-different child chair with Moi.  I wasn't sure I'd ever find a book to "shelve" on it because it's so small and fragile -- but (as I will show in a forthcoming post; UPDATE: post is HERE) -- I did find such a book, and now the chair is happily preening amidst the rest of the chairs in the collection.

Love those happy endings!

[Prov.: "Ebay 30." Size: 3.25" height, 1.5" seat circumference]

Sunday, May 26, 2013


THE AWAKENING: A Long Poem Triptych & Poetics Fragment (theenk books, New York, 2013) is my latest book.  At some point, I had a tiny reproduction of its front cover image -- a painting by the very talented jenifer wofford -- and printed it out.  I had in mind to do a mini-book using that small reproduction.  Well, I did!  And while it shares imagery with THE AWAKENING's front cover, it's not quite the same.  My mini-book is entitled WAKE UP! as the image focuses on the three faces with closed eyes:

The cover has flaps so, actually, when you unfold the flaps, you see more of the context, the original cover to THE AWAKENING.  Here's the front cover with unfolded flaps and back cover:

The mini-book has one long accordion-style page.  When you open the book, the first thing you see is this folded page bearing the instructions, "Pull for Instructions."

When you pull open the page, you then see the text:

Open the flaps
To uncover
The Real Picture

To Read
A Book
Is to discover
A World

Is to AWAKE--
The Revelations
Of former secrets!


So where shall we "shelve" this book?  Well, why not on the transparent Philippe Starck's "Ghost Chair"!  Because when you look at this chair, you still see or "discover / A World"!


Saturday, May 25, 2013


As soon as I saw this "library chair" -- a chair that turns into a ladder -- I knew it'd be perfect for SitWithMoi and "Books on Chairs"!  So, I acquired it!  Here's the chair evolving into a ladder:

So absolutely nifty! 

[Prov.: Etsy/Studebaker Miniatures. Chair Size: 5" length, 2.5" width and depth]

Friday, May 24, 2013


So much can be made from a single sheet of paper!  Through the acts of folding and judicious use of folded spaces, Ivy Alvarez created a "book" of haiku "for dear friends."  Lucky enough to be one of those friends, I now can add her collection to SitWithMoi's Books on Chairs!  First, her process.  Here's the single piece of paper:

Folded, the paper creates a mini-book like so:

To read Ivy's book, you just unfold the paper the way it leads you to unfold it.  Here's the result of the first unfolding, the opening haiku:
silk, threads wind-jostled
red leaf caught between the bars
soft saw-tooth ripples

The next unfolding reveals two haiku; you can click on the image to enlarge it and read the lovelies for yourself!

The next unfolding reveals another pair of haiku.  These are in larger-sized fonts to befit the larger unfolded spaces:

Another unfolding reveals the back of the paper featuring four haiku

Now, where shall we form friendly Ivy's wonderful haiku?  Well, I think it should keep company with another mini-book of the same size and also created from a single sheet of paper, FLORULA LUDOVICIANA by Marthe Reed. They are a cheerful pair shelved on a rocking bench with a comfy rush seat and throw:

Books work so hard for us!  I love it when books get comfortable, too!


I couldn't resist this iron mini reproduction of a "Swingasan" described as "Part cozy Papasan, part carefree porch swing"!

The "Swingasan" is being marketed as a phone holder, but obviously has other uses (a tiny stuffed animal was lazing on a display piece).

Anyway, I just know there's a mini-book out there lookin' to swing!

[Prov.: Pier 1 Imports/Napa, Size: 11" height, 3" width, 2.5" depth]

Monday, May 20, 2013


2.5 cups of rice
water up two and a half knuckle points
boil, when boiling, let boiling open-lidded until water is gone
then ten minutes reduced heat
--Mom's recipe for making rice outside of the ubiquitous rice-cooker

This is another Poems-For-All booklet from the generous gift of curator Richard Hansen! This 1.75" X 2” mini-book features a poem, “mom—“ by Craig Cotter:

As you can see by the above cover, it’s an image of rice and then the red band with the title and byline.  This design is seemingly simple, but has more depth after one has read the poem (below).  Seemingly simple, too, because the interior is just one folded page to show a title page and the poem:

Here is the text of the poem:


the boy
doesn't want
another spoonful of steamed
buddha brand jasmine rice—
he reaches for a chopstick
propped on a bowl of tom yum instead.
tapping the stick everywhere
and waving it in the air
he accepts a spoonful of red fish.

Reading the poem, one understands the cover design: the preferred red (of the “red fish”) in the foreground with the rice in the background.

The synchronistic reference to rice, and thus its cover image, works nicely on the back cover because of Poems-For-All’s featured slogan, “SCATTER LIKE SEEDS.”  The rice, then, becomes a visual metaphor for poems which PFA wishes to scatter “like seeds” throughout the universe.

Nicely done!  And where shall we “shelve” this book?  Well, as befits the Filipino tradition of having white rice with each and every meal, Mom used to cook rice for the household.  So, I immediately thought of shelving this book on the mini sewing chair I associate with Mom.  It already has a book shelved on it, “I’M NOBODY! WHO ARE YOU?” by Emily Dickinson.  But I thought Craig Cotter’s “mom—“ might be a nice companion for Emily (that poem sounds like Emily needs it), might even provide some comic relief.  Entonces:


Rocio just returned from Mexico and brought me back a chair encased in lipstick red!  I love it!

Do notice the doubling of the image viz the mirror.  Kind of like lips ...

It's also a brand new chair so its woven rope seat kinda shoots up in the middle, which is how it is until it becomes flatter from having received numerous sit-downs ... which is to say, it's looking for a book to be shelved atop or sit on it!  We'll work on that!

[Prov.: Rocio/Mexico, 2013. Size: 12" length, 5" width, 5" depth]

Friday, May 17, 2013


So, remember my post on mini-paintings interspersed with the mini-chairs and mini-books? Well, one of the featured artists, James Westwater, came across it and thought to share a work related to SitWithMoi's theme!  Here's a detail from his mixed media work, With Our Backs to the World, We Bow: The Hermeneutics of Solitude, 2013, 53 x 48 x 48 inches (and I LOVE that title!):

A man reading a book and 2 chairs!  Purrr-fect.  It's apparently on 1/35 scale, which must mean they're tiny!  The targeted chairs for SitWithMoi, by comparison, are 1/6 scale.  Anyway, here is the context for the above detail:

Nifty, eh?  But just when you think you know this work of art, look at the entire work!

The importance of context!  Thanks for sharing, James!  And do check out the artist's website for many more wonderful works of art, on chairs and otherwise!


Here's another chair that was part of the "Ebay 30-now-25" acquisitions -- a carefully-designed chair from twigs with a woven seat:

[Prov.: "Ebay 30". Size: 12" length, 5" width, 5" depth]

Thursday, May 16, 2013


If you don't know, I also edit a poetry review journal, Galatea Resurrects.  So since I wanted to write on Tim Armentrout's wonderful poetry chap, All This Falling Away, for SitWithMoi, I decided to just review it for the current Issue #20 and smooch two birds with one marshmallow (so to speak). You could go to the link to read the review (and many other reviews of wonderful contemporary poetry books!).  But you can also see its illustrated version below, to wit:

All This Falling Away by Tim Armentrout
(Dusi/e, Switzerland, 2007)

Tim Armentrout’s 2007 Dusi/e chap, All This Falling Away, presents what looks to be a single poem on 47 pages.  It’s a fascinating project for several reasons. 

First, there’s 14 lines on each page—let’s assume my random check of five pages makes it so—and so one wonders if this is also a single stanza long poem.  I could believe this to be the case, and that the page-breaks are done simply because 14 lines is a good fit on the chap’s 4.5” x 4” page.  I want to believe this to be the case because, for my first read, I read it all in one sitting and there was a seamlessness to my read, unbroken by the page-break.

What is marvelous about reading this poem is the sense of hushed-ness that surfaces.  All these words!  And yet. These have got to be among the quietest words I’ve ever read.  You read the poem and you’re drawn into its world and continue reading and turning the page and reading and turning the page…and the experience befits its underlying concept, as captured by its title, of “All This Falling Away.”  That is, the “All” that falls away could be the rest of the world until you are residing solely within the world/words of this poem.  It quiets down the rest of the world, making you (or me) calm down to rest within the poem.  That’s quite a feat!  Sorta reminds me of that Greek Temple—at Delphi?—whose path from bottom of mountain was designed to meander rather than shoot straight up, so that the pilgrim, as s/he approaches the Temple, is encouraged to leave the rest of the world behind whilst meandering so that when the pilgrim finally arrives s/he is solely focused on the Temple and its oracle…

I’m struggling to articulate this poem’s effect.  Maybe because its words are meditative?  I’m not sure if reading an excerpt would generate this same effect—but I’ll randomly pick three pages worth of text and see if you, Dear Reader, can sense what I’m talking about:

Cautious steps
Through snow dust
Early Monday
Dark fades from mountaintops
New day’s nausea
Disorienting sleep
Walk slowly into graves
Convinced of morning’s
Cruel signature
Sunburst pain
Explosion above the hips
Dawn abandoned hope
Like milked excuses

A desire for stomachs
Calm as Tuesday
Cold breakfast in the snow
Reinventing ritual
With a hand shovel
Sage and crystals
Burial before earth freezes
The preservation of life
Does not guarantee its quality
Laboratory rejection
Is still a death sentence
By glory and illusion
Rising with winter sun

Disastrous leadership
Scanned crowds down lines
Of pointed fingers
The search for home
Where blame can rest
On thieves of Wednesday’s innocence
Responsibility minimized
Sliding in and out of back doors
Shadowed compassion
History has been shaved
Sounds of bone echo
Memories of meat
Refusal to admit
Flesh is an opaque evil

Well, I don’t know about you but this excerpt, for me, does generate (though not as strongly of course as the entire poem can) the effect of stillness I described above.  And in reading over this excerpt, I also realize that the poem’s line-breaks are well-chosen to facilitate a rhythm in which one can get lost (in most cases, the line-break does facilitate a pause, at least in my read).

So if you think about it, it’s quite impressive for the poet Tim Armentrout to have maintained the same emotional plane (understated resonance?) for 658 lines.

This poem also made me think of my single experience of scuba diving.  Just one time since I can’t swim, preventing me from participating in much water sports.  But, once, I did dive and for that experience learned a bit about the importance of not rising too quickly back to the top after you’ve descended.  In consciously controlling my ascent back up to the water surface, I recall thinking that the water was sliding slowly off of my body—which is interesting for feeling so real despite its falsity in that I was immersed the whole time.  That slow ascent, with matter falling away from my body, is a bit like the experience of reading All This Falling Away.  During my ascent, there, too, was a hushed-ness to the experience (no doubt because I was totally immersed and so (almost) couldn’t hear my companions, birds, wind, etc.).

And as I consider the comparison of my reading experience to rising upwards from the depths of a sea, I realize that the body—the narrator—is not the one falling.  It’s external stuff (e.g. water) that’s falling away from the body.  To reveal the true body.  What synchronicity!  Because the epigraph to Armentrout’s poem—perhaps the conceptual underpinning to the poem—is the following:

as the
-Charles Bukowski, “art”

Is Bukowski or Armentrout talking about the dispelling of the ego to facilitate art’s appearance?  Much in the same way that I’ve thought of my  job as a poet as partly one of getting out of the way of the poem?  I’ll just leave the questions there…

…but will note further that for this poem, it didn’t seem to matter much what the words were saying (though their sounds did matter for facilitating rhythm).  What mattered most was the sensory experience engendered—in this case a calmness calming, a meditation, whatever one calls it.  But there’s something “pure” about the experience as it wasn’t tainted by the words’ definitions even as the words exist.  Perhaps that purity is … the form.  

If Armentrout wrote a poem manifesting pure form, then he accomplished something difficult to achieve.  I believe he did—I bow to him for this poem.


So that was my review -- but here's a bonus for SitWithMoi readers.  I talk in the review about the "dispelling of the ego to facilitate art's appearance" and the notion of the poet "getting out of the way of the poem."  Note here the design of the chap, specifically the verso (inside) of the front and back covers, like so:

It's a "Twin Pack" and the text says "Open one now!  Second one stays fresh!"  Could this not be a poetics metaphor?  Deplete the first container (the poet eliminating his ego) and you're left with a twin who "stays fresh" (the poem which retains the author's "I" but is more than the author's self).  Poets don't last but poems can last if they become beloved by generations of readers, if those poems "stay fresh."   Well, that's my read/view anyway, she adds cheerfully...

And now, where shall we "shelve" Tim Armentrout's lovely chap?  Well, I think it looks lovely on a big-hearted twig chair!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


This is another Poems-For-All  booklet from the generous gift of curator Richard Hansen! This mini-book features a poem, “Four buttons two holes four brooms” by Jean Arp.

You open the 1 ¾” x 2” book to read some background, i.e. that the book is “a collaboration with artist Marc Snyder. He suggested using the poetry of Dada artist and writer Jean Arp and provided the superlative impression of Arp you see on the cover. “

Marc also runs the co-publisher of this mini-book, Fiji Island Mermaid Press.  Anyway, you’d turn the page to see the text of the poem

Four buttons two holes four brooms
By Jean Arp

in the hollow-cheeked hollow of a
roll     fireproof gilded baits
down unchallenged staircases of
the catafalcons and catasparrows
  lie down
in their sneeze coffins
the tables follow the chairs like
     males after
     and what hovers over the tables and
     chairs in
the shape of a farewell-cloud
   declares in verse the situation to be

Here’s an image of both the front and back covers—strikingly designed!

And where shall we “shelve” this book?  Well, because the cover has an orange-ish background, I thought of an orange chair—the orange Eames chair!

Naturally, the surrealist tome doesn’t just allow itself to lie flat.  It must be slant, hang over the chair!