Afternoon with the Little Red Leaves Textile Series

What does a tiny series of books make.  A tiny series of books made of strings and textiles.  What could a tiny series of enclothed feelings make in the world.  How could anyone look at them without seeing their smallness, but also the love and care for each.

One of the authors in the series, MairĂ©ad Byrne, has a bio that says she was "born into her father's library in Dublin, the fifth of eight chapbooks" and these little books feel this way too, born slowly and growing more numerous over time, finding homes on shelves.  Their homes outsourced all around the globe.


Like, for example, A Reading: Birds by Beverly Dahlen. The fact of the two poems in the book.  The first one a poem by Dahlen that spans over the course of several pages and thinks about birds, about doves, about how we think about or see or look at or say birds.  How do the words say the "cranes" or the "tule fog" or "sparrows" or all the other "mythical creatures" gathered.  How did we learn the names of all these birds.  Who did the teaching of what is a "robin" and what is a "sparrow."  Who would "mother them."

The end of Dahlen's poem is jarring, dwelling in "how miserable is this imitation:" "the mourning doves' hoo-hoo-hoo."  And there is something that is felt to be lost, something that has seemed to escape from the book, what was lost in the dove's call becoming those marks on the page.  But then moving on, the realization as Dahlen includes an endnote with "the story of the mourning dove as told by the Yurok people of northwestern California."  And suddenly, going back in time to these first words, this first writing or human singing of the song of the mourning dove, the miserableness of the imitation of the hoo-hoo-hoo is deepened, added to, made more profound and somehow the echoing of this new imitation thickens the previous attempt: "Wee...poo...poo."

And then Lucky by MairĂ©ad Byrne with illustrations by Abigail Lingford.  This one is orange and red and green and black and all kinds of colors irrecognizable to this colorblind eye and, when opened, reveals a more colorblind friendly field of black polka dots (that aren't actually black I think) and yes I do feel lucky, like lucky is what I feel like to have such a beautiful little object in my hand.  And suddenly I am making rugs and observing centipedes and lap-tops together for the first time.  And then the eye is popping out through a series of Figures, scientific illustrations of how an eye comes to protrude and then exude from the eye-socket and it's weird and beautiful.


And in a rush, I think I don't need to fix up my house, I can just set up the floodlights.  I'm told I "can rent them fairly cheap or even invest in a set."  And with those floodlights I'll never have to worry about my ramshackly house again.  Yes!  And I never saw a more thorough meditation on an unexpected "Heap of Snow" in the back of a pick-up truck than the one found here.  Ever.  At the end of the book, Byrne comments on "anything on which smaller things feed" and she reminds me I'm thinking about these little books.

What do these little books feed on.

Holes punched out and made to run a course around the text:


Tiny windows with tiny microscopic slides slid through the carefully sized gaps, creating tiny new poems: collaborations between book-maker and poet:


And I've figured out what these tiny books feed on.  You should too.