Hidden Narrative

Our trip to Portland OR on Amtrak was cancelled due to mud slides.  So I cannot tell you about the opening, and show you works in the “Build” show.  Bummer.

But Busy Hands here has another small book to show you.


Since moving to the Northern Olympic Peninsula I have been captivated by its natural beauty. I find myself fascinated by river rocks, and I see that many of my neighbors have collections of their favorites too. River rocks are reminders to me of the beauty in small common objects. I find visual and verbal poetry there.

This book is an invitation to a DIY poem.

Mocking Bird Muse

You can click on the small images to see  larger versions.

Mom’s Memorial Prius now bears the dimples bestowed by “quarter-size hail” from a sudden thunderstorm that enveloped our climb into the Sierras during the last homeward trek.  Luckily nobody skidded off the road, and no glass was broken.  Scary though, when the windshield goes opaque with rain and hail.  Oola couldn’t see that part; she had her hands over her eyes for fear of the trucks.

It has been several weeks since the trip to Tennessee, several very busy weeks.  Among the results of all that activity is my newest artist book, Mocking Bird Muse.

Mocking Bird Muse - cover
Mocking Bird Muse – cover

Sometimes it takes a long time for a poem to ripen.  Mocking Bird Muse started as a poem about a prisoner/poet I knew when I worked as an artist at California Medical Facility in Vacaville in the ’80s. It grew into 2 books (each consisting of 4 one-paper books containing one line of the poem with photo collage) and a small one-paper book.  And it is no longer about a specific prisoner, or even about any prisoner in the conventional sense.

More pictures:

Mocking Bird Muse - drawer opened to reveal Part 3
Mocking Bird Muse – drawer opened to reveal Part 3

Opened up it looks something like this:

The text of the finished writing is stretched by the images and constrained by the necessities of the origami-like construction.  The text of these books reads:

Part one

This Jesus is a GONE poet
who combs his hair in precise exclamations!!
This poet has been known to steal crazy time.
He flies a mocking bird muse.
He stares into the sun.

Part two

He drives a yellow bus.
His hunger is insatiable.
He eats flames.

I wanted to tell my father.

Part three

Mr. Funnywalk is not afraid of anything
(except what he can find in his own head.)
His own hands are tearing him apart.
Do you have any money?
What does this mean?
They say that somewhere along the way he lost his soul.

More pictures:

Mocking Bird Muse - Mr. Funnywalk and plastic hand
Mocking Bird Muse – Mr. Funnywalk and plastic hand
Mocking Bird Muse - selected page
Mocking Bird Muse – selected page
Mocking Bird Muse - Books one and two
Mocking Bird Muse – books one and two
Mocking Bird Muse - opened
Mocking Bird Muse – opened to 2 books and window
”””’-=
Mocking Bird Muse - Overview close up
Mocking Bird Muse – Overview close up

The construction of this book reveals a delicious geometry which I only dimly planned, but which gives me much pleasure.

In case you are wondering, the amulet behind the window consists of a jute-wrapped harmonica, a bottle of poppy seeds, a frying pan, and a red unexplained object which just looked right.

Mocking Bird Muse is digitally (and archivally)  printed on Asuka and hand bound.  Technically this book cannot be editioned because the amulet behind the little window is not repeatable, But I would be happy to entertain proposals for an EV.

You can see more of my artist books at http://www.jandove.com