I've gone away from my comfort zone in a sense because I don't often read poetry and I've been so busy recently I haven't read anything challenging at all. But while I was at the Sturt Winter School I picked up Ampersand Duck's beautiful letterpress book of Rosemary Dobson's poems and thought I'd like to read some of her work. Tracking anything down in Coffs Harbour has been a challenge in itself but today, amazingly, our local library had a volume of her collected poems and I chose the following poem:
Learning Absences (1986)
Being alone is also to be learnt
Long time or short time.
Walking the length of the house, shutting
The doors and the windows
No longer calling casually over one's shoulder.
Returning to find no trace
Of the other, companionable living -
Bread smell, the stove still warm,
Clothes on the line like messages,
Or messages written and left on the kitchen table:
"We need to keep watering the cumquat."
Or, "I have paid the milkman."
At night, at this season, lingering at the window
Not being certain where to find Halley's Comet,
And looking a long time at the darkening sky.
Text taken from "Rosemary Dobson, Collected Poems", part of the Angus & Robertson series 'Modern Poets'. Published 1991, ISBN 0 207 16864 4. Text copyright © Rosemary Dobson 1991.
I hope you like it: I thought it had lots going on in it, and immediately started thinking of making prints before reminding myself that I'm supposed to be thinking about making a 'book'!
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the following people are guilty of wanting to be involved:
Moreidlethoughts, Ampersand Duck, Jane Aliendi, Art & Etc, Barnacle Goose Paperworks, Precious Little Birdy, Amanda Watson-Will and of course ME, which makes 8 participants, which gives an edition size of 9 books each. We'll all get a complete set and there will be once complete set left over for exhibition.
Now here comes the tricky part... deadlines! I said 'New Year' initially, but you might want to consider this: the Libris awards are on again at Artspace Mackay, as part of the Focus on Artists' Books V forum in April 2010. These are Australia's premier book arts awards and only happen every couple of years so we might want to put the set of books in for the Libris awards - only trouble is, if we want to do that we'd need to enter them by Friday 4th December 2009!
Now I don't think we'd need to send in the completed books at this point, just photos and an application form (I'm not 100% sure because the entry forms aren't yet available, but they'll be out shortly). Usually it's a case of putting together some high-res photos on CD, completing the form and paying an entry fee - the books won't be required until probably March 2010. So what do you reckon, could we be adventurous and see if we could put something in for the Libris awards? It would be a great start!
What do I need from you now? Really just confirmation that you want to take part and an email with your contact details if I don't already have them (Carol and Dinah, I don't think I have email addresses for you so at the moment the only way I can communicate is via blogging!). I've registered a blog called Book Art Object (for no particular reason - just came up with that name - if you hate it you can register a different one and we'll use that) and was going to set up all participants as members of that blog so we can all post entries and pictures. At the moment it's completely blank and could do with some love and inspiration!
Blue sky thinking...