Making chapbooks

I shall essay* to explain this process. I have been working out a choose-your-own-adventure (CYOA) type flipbook chapbook of haiku for nearly 3 months now.

The number of options in how to read increases exponentially with more poems. A dozen haiku make for 1,726 possible readings. 18 haiku make for nearly 6000 possible readings. The goal is to make twists towards different emotional states with simple components that grammatically and semantically all fit together.

This constrains kigo, unless to make it all winter, or all summer, all day or all night. I have probably subbed in over 5 dozen haiku at this point. Maybe 8 dozen. I’ve lost count.

It’s like CYOA, but with haiku. this small singing is based on what’s left unsaid: 125 haiku (2017) by Maxianne Berger, itself modelled on Raymond Queneau’s 1961 Cent mille milliard de poèmes [a hundred thousand billion poems] of strip sonnets, done with the help of mathematician Francois Le Lionnais, in the process of which they initiated Oulipo.

Queneau was inspired by Heads, Bodies and Legs (Richard Chopping and Denis Wirth-Miller, 1946), the funny children’s book where you swap a third of each person with each strip, which I admit to a certain fondness of, (and on some tired days, emulation of).

If you’re following along at Instagram you’ve seen a bit.

A lot of editing so content doesn’t clash, grammar doesn’t break, there’s a twist in new combinations, and also don’t get a combination with two gerunds.

*I was once told with a sneer that if there are too many words proportional to text, it’s not an “article” it’s a “photo essay”. Editor declined to comment on the ratio. Categorize this as you will.

I’m literally pulping my poem drafts and obsolete research notes from my local family history poetry project.

Using WikiHow, I began. The green food dye doesn’t seem to take to anything but my fingers. I had to first decide the final size of my covers. Not hard since I have a paper mock up.

How to attach a title? I have tried with rougher paper before to do an adhesive title sticker with mixed success. I have tried hand writing but mine is not an elegant hand and the course on calligraphy didn’t take me far. From Knife Fork Book I got in my package a Blasted Tree chapbook by Gary Barwin which attaches the photo prints by cuts to the cover. Voila, a route.

Building a screen, whirling the soaked papers cleaned from the office. Upending the frame after couching the slurry.
19 sheets, so far still damp. Apparently I can use a hair dryer, which the dog will hate but may speed it up. They are too delicate to hang to dry yet.

So, that much done, most of the finicky bits of chapbooks are still to go, but I have a few days before the small press fair.

Next the hanging them up, like so many dried cod, and pressing them down under say, 80 books, or a piece of marble.

Once they are not too delicate to move, drying.
See, to be read piles are handy.