Thursday, May 6, 2010

Harvest Time: Chapbooks & Other Marvels, or, Why I So Love My Students

This is the last week of classes, so I'm harvesting chapbooks (and variations on them). Each of my students in English 411 (poetry workshop with emphasis on place) and English 713 (poetry workshop) made a final project in which she or he put a statement of poetics, a selection of original poems, and whatever exercises the poet wished. The undergraduates did exercises off of Bernadette Mayer's famous list. The grad students worked and reworked, translated and changed the form of a single poem they'd chosen to work on at the beginning of the semester; among these poems were pieces by Gertrude Stein, Louise Gluck, and other poets.

At the left you see a handmade book by No`u Revilla. I will try to upload another photo of her book--and others--later, but blogger is not being kind to me this morning. Blogger is eating photographs of poem books.

Now sitting at our window is a tree-poem project by Julie Tanji. She asked me not to water it.

This topographical map of Honolulu, with accompanying poems (on paper dipped in tea) is by Marissa Chung. It folds up as a large box, which you can then tie shut with a red ribbon.

Allegra Wilson had made her book in January and spent the semester writing poems that would fill it. Allegra's poetics statement was about the difficulties of being an outsider in Hawai`i; many of her poems were about Los Angeles, where she feels more "at home."

Quala-Lynn Young, who works at The Contemporary Museum, wrote a chapbook about her neighborhood in Kaimuki. Here it is, next to Julie's project by the window, just past the sleeping cat, Tortilla. You can see her neighbors' houses in the accordian book's shapes; each house contains a poem on the top, and a different kind of narrative at the bottom of the page. For example, the poem "Bobby," about an old man who "speaks in spells / of foreign words wrapped in plastic" has as its "foundation," these lines: "The house with dementia sleeps a lot. / The old house has a therapy dog."

--"To get to Makiki, / lower your standards." (Nicole Manuel)

1 comment:

Paul said...

Wow! They are wonderful book word object art thingys. It reminds me of your earlier post about Art and Poetry and the Museum. Various ways forward,