Inanna, a chapbook

Some nice news! A swatch of poems from Dumuzi will be published as a chapbook by Little Red Leaves. I’ve loved their books (fabric covers, hand sewn, venturesome poems) since I first came across them. Sew colour me thrilled. (Sorry, terrible.)

Title to come but I’m thinking simply Inanna Sent. The poems are a graphic novella, collaged out of junk mail, that tells the story of Inanna’s trip to the underworld. Thought I’d post a few panels, final versions. Here’s the first –


Panel 1

The strata are the linings of security envelopes. Inanna and her sidekick, the scancodes you see on autosorted mail. Her jaunty cap, the Bank of America logo, while he sports the NBC paycock (Pound’s spelling). The speaker is one of the galla, demons of the underworld; to them’s given the work of narration. They’re all blown up out of these:


scan code

If you get your pareidolia on, that can look like a postmodern Roman frieze, gods, monsters, epic struggle. Next panel.


Panel 2
As Inanna gets deeper in, her logo-feather-flame hat dirties and darkens. Small serendipities: with each new panel, I lifted the logo from the last with a letter opener and taped it down on the new one. Each move brought more scuffing, each layer of tape more obscuration and road dust. One more.


Panel 3
Scancodes and photocopy noise. Have written some more about Inanna, what and why she means to me, the space I was in (an intense one) making these poems, here and here and here and here. And a bit at the end here. If curious. (Old images there, the script far less open, but in the spirit of blog, I’m going to leave as was.)

Oh and the grainy oblique smudges above “Her sad eyes”? Bits of pinewood, my writing desk, pulled up by scotch tape I’d stuck there momently while I spotted a paperscrap just right. The meaning of the whole is, make peace with your accidents. (Not in a hey-do-this sort of way. In a note-to-self sort of way.)

Tried to explain the desk splinters to Stephen Burt when he asked me about my work. Talk about happy accident! But, he seemed not so impressed. Oh well.


If you’ve made it this far, thoughts on the title? I sent it out as Junk Inanna Down. That now feels like a hostile mouthful. Do you think so too? What about Inanna Sent? Too mild? Comment away …

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The Making of a Book

In the spirit of reuse – the description for my summer course.


ENG 459: Editing and Publishing: The Making of a Book

Making a book takes work—and it’s not done when the writing’s done. Still to come, the queries, the subs, the pitches, the proposals. The rejection slips. The acceptance letter! Revisions. Cover art, layout, permissions. Galleys, copyediting, proofs and proofreading. Marketing. ARCs. The launch party. The book tour. Would you believe it’s actually kind of fun? (It’s your book.) (Whether you’re author or editor or designer or marketing intern—it’s yours.) (Also at key points there are wine and cheese.)

This course is designed with two sorts of student in mind. One, those who’d like, when the time is right, to see their own work in book form—knowing that books can take a gazillion forms, from mass market paperbacks to e-books to small–press run poetry volumes to one-of-a-kind artist’s books writ in oxblood on paper made of pond algae. (Wondering why the hyphen between “small” and “press” looks too long? It’s an en-dash. Wonder why it’s there? Take this course, you’ll find out.) Other, students interested in careers in the publishing industry. And here, while the book will be our focus, it won’t be our bound; knowledge you gain, skills you develop (e.g., copyediting, proofreading), will be useful in careers across the publishing industry.

Expect lots of hands-on exercises; in-class work on your peers’ drafts; student presentations on how books come to be; student-designed lessons on grammar and punctuation; and a final research project in which you explore a possible path for yourself, as author, editor, agent, designer, or TK, in editing and publishing. Likely texts: Suzanne Gilad, Copyediting and Proofreading for Dummies. Sarah Parsons Zackheim and Adrian Zackheim, Getting Your Book Published for Dummies.


Now I’ve got to design the damn thing.

Envelope poems

Yeah been weeks. And nothing now much to say of my own. Goes that way. But saw this on my friend Barbara Nickel’s blog and wanted to share. She’s been perusing Bervin & Werner’s compilation of Dickinson’s envelope poems, and a lovely blog post’s the fruit borne –

The Yarrow Graces – magnolia, forsythia, peach, even the bleeding heart – have been serviced lately. Town abloom on the first day of Poetry Month; thank you Emily Dickinson for getting it right – spring always seems – at least in this part of the world, not on the prairies where I grew up – somehow too gorgeous, masking the inevitable sting; the other day a violist died.

Read the all of it here, with vis poem, rejection slip made projective,

Barb's arrow

and regrets into egress.


Not much to say, except, don’t eat foraged morels and drink wine, or not much anyway. Lost a coupla days there. Viz. Probably should have sautéed them longer, too. But hells they was tasty.