Bookmaking: Organizing Your Content

Dear Poets,

Hello and thank you to all the new followers for taking an interest in this brainspace. Let’s travel back to a post from almost a month ago and talk about setting up a book from the ground up. I had some photos of my experience and talked a little about my epiphany but otherwise, there wasn’t much direction for you.

 

So let’s make things a little more practical.

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I started with a list. My poetry collection is a little over 100 poems now, but that’s not a true number. Most of them I would never use, many others are far from finished. Some of them are pretty close to being ready and others I have submitted before. In order to reign in that group I started with a list.

 

In this post I talk about making your poems visible with a master-sheet. Mine was done in excel, which was a breeze. I recommend having a line for the title, date and revised date (at least). If you are at the point where you are submitting these works, you might want to have those dates and journals listed so you can keep track.

List

 

Back to the book – I knew I wanted this to feel like a book, so it was important to have bump pages (blank pages that serve as space fillers, like in a novel at the start and the end).Suddenly the book that was 72 pages was actually 70. Keep this in mind, as you will not want a book that is cover to cover poems.

You will need:

A title page

Chapter heads

Blank pages inside to separate them

For me, I wanted all chapter heads on the right side, so some additional blank pages were needed for those.

 

Then I started making a key:

I numbered a piece of paper, designating blank pages, chapter heads and how many poems should go in each. It was really just guess work at that point.

I wanted 10 chapters and each chapter therefore had 5-6 poems. I was not strict in the first round since I knew I would lose my mind going in and messing with the pages. There was time for that later, during the layout.

I also decided I didn’t want poems to take 2 pages. It was too hard to manage them in the word layout. That would be up to you, depending on how complicated you wanted to project to be.

Then, I simply went poem by poem and put it on a page line (or not). I knew I wanted certain poems to face each other—evens on the Left, odds on the Right—and others I wanted to begin or end a chapter. That was about a meticulous as I got in planning. Otherwise things just landed where they felt right.

For me – The poem number as well as the title help define my work. In my list I have mostly numbers. I was able to better locate them that way. Poem numbers are important in my collection, though this might not be a factor for you. Maybe they are color coded or separated by theme; keep this in mind as it will add character and interest to the collection as a whole. We are not talking about just single pieces, but as a full representation of your work. That means there will be a bigger picture to consider.

I’ll be back soon to talk about Titles!

Keep Writing and start Booking!

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Poem 140

thoughts on food as i move closer and closer to organic

 

So much of my youth comes back to a cornfield in Iowa.

In the heartland where my father farmers knew

That all mouths are the same shape on the inside.

& we would feed them corn and soy.

& the beef of 10,000 cattle in a single bite.

& we would bend the boars together and slice them

paper thin. Our father farmers knew

that all the mouths would taste the same

when we would feed them corn and soy

& the feat of 10,000 cattle in a single field.

Our father farmers knew that we weigh silos

with our pennies & sleep-walk to the fridge—

so much of my life belongs to a cornfield in Iowa

where livestock wade in waste-land and the poultry

knows no sun.

–ECW

Poem 139

i have been a little overwhelmed lately, but made a moment to jot down a poem. it feels better when spoken aloud:

[Dislexia]

Numbers are a rhythm and I feel them in my bones

They mean nothing,

they are out of their order

they are hissing like bluecrabs

My boss says I’m no good at this desk job, my boss says pay more attention.

I am all done doting (add) and my mind is elsewhere—we go away

From the white walls and the cold calls when business makes us angry

—It’s just numbers, how can numbers make anyone anything but money—

It’s not just numbers it’s the shore rolling over and over

Hight-tide-noon low-tide5’15.

I am certain the moon does not keep a calendar

I am certain the ocean is without a ledger.

But the numbers always follow

Like a hangover, rolling frothy wide, a thick-glide of algae-weed.

In the evening I try to account hours, work and play—eight trips to the toilet.

I wonder if the toilet keeps a ledger. I don’t do Sudoku in the bathroom anymore:

I could count to 9 and have only 8 numbers—012345679—damn, I’m sure I’m dislexic,

               //I spell it wrong every time//

I find the best solution is to shrug and evoke my gender.

I am allowed to be bad at cars and math, and sometimes at driving.

But I better dress well,

I want to rush into the wade-pool naked—disrupt all the hermits in their conch shells.

I wish food was my only concern and not numbers. I am bad at finances, so I evoke my

Dislexia and tell my father, who has lent me—once again—money that: I am a poet.

Which absolves me of resource, I say, I will be immortal, he says, pay more attention, I say…

Daddy, and lie.

—ECW

Bookbinding 2: Make your Bed.

Hello Readers, 

The bookbinding post was so wildly popular that I decided to also include some images and tips from my journal-making experience. 

If you’re anything like me, poetry is a great love, but not the only love. I also enjoy painting. For me, poetry is the waking art, the one I try for, the one I perfect. Painting, or other types of visual designs, are the absent art, the one I do to calm me, in persuit of ambient inspiration. For some people this ambient art is music, others just go for a jog. It made sense to make a space where I could do both, write and paint, in a non-invasive way. For that, I needed paper that would not curl under water-color or buckle under acrlic. So I needed a cold press journal. And I would have to make that. 

journal1

Here are my thoughts on journals, now that I’ve made one:

1. Making a journal is personal. I get to pick the cover (paper used was from Paper Source, which just opened a store in Las Vegas) and make the pages from the type of paper I need. I wanted to have something I could paint, and so I didn’t need to spend $30 on a bound book or have loose sheets. I also got to decide how large I wanted it, which is something I always struggle with when choosing a book that always ends up having too many pages.

2. Building a book is like making your bed. It’s yours. I strongly believe that poetry is a vertical experience. We have an experience and then we write about it. But what if it was more than that. The experience was one you personally had, and then you thought about it, and wrote that poem in your own journal, that you made with your hands. First hand account on your own piece of art. It’s almost poetic and we haven’t started writing yet!

3. Poetry Gets Hands On. In my last post about bookbinding I talked about poems being very removed for me. I had forgotten how much I love writing things by hand. I miss writing and not typeing. I miss the permanence, even in draft form, of pen. It seems delliberate. It seems real. It also takes a hands-on experience to sew a book. There are awl punches and dangling needles and fidgety cardboard. It’s not always the simplest task, but it’s real. 

I find that I write different things when I plan to paint beside them. My poems really do conform them to their space. I tend not to write onto a second page or go outside the lines. I wonder what that says about me as a poet, about what poetry does to the spaces it encounters. 

So here are the numbers. 

$10 for the pages and cover (all in one of those artist pads at Michaels) – I only used half of the pages, it was just too many once they were all folded. 

$3 for the cover paper from Paper Source, they have lots of kinds 

$3 Rubber Cement

$0 for the inner paper and the pocket (I already had some scrapbook paper, it was in a pack of cardstock paper)

$6 for the hemp string (Paper Source), but there were 100’s of feet of it, and I’ll surely use it again! 

And I watched the same video by SeaLemon, which was helpful for the poetry book, and super great for the journal. (I used half of the paper, since water color paper is super thick when cold pressed). 

TIPS: The video will not show you how to cover the book with paper. It’s super easy. Take the cardboard and cover one side with a thin layer of rubber cement. Let dry. Take the paper and also apply a thin layer of rubber cement and let dry. Bring together. The dry rubber cement will stick better and faster than wet glue or wet rubber cement. Repeat for inner side.

 

For the corners, cut the extra cover paper to 1″ from the board. Then fold in the triangle of the corner, sticking with dried rubber cement on both sides. Then, fold over the 1″ margin once you have applied rubber cement on both the board and the paper and let dry. You’ll be amazed! For the inside, I used a piece of paper 1″ shorter than the board in height and length, affixed the same way as the other paper. 

Make sure that the holes are punched through the cardboard first and then later through the paper as you cover the sides. That way, you will have an easier time getting through the thick material, and it will be cleaner when finished.

That’s all for now. I hope you all make a journal and love it and fill it with hand crafted poetry goodness. 
Keep Writing, Start Binding!