A number of months ago, maybe even a year ago, my friend Karen shared Wallace Stevens’ poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. The poem sat in my To File folder on my desk for ages. I would come across it from time to time as I filed other papers, thinking, this would be great for a project one day.
During the 2013 Fall semester I taught Book Arts at MCLA. It’s one of my favorite classes to teach, especially when we make plunder books. Plunder Books are a Hedi Kyle invention. They involve the following rules:
Bring in three items to donate to the class. Consider what kind of items you are bringing. THINK: Something for pages, something for binding, something for covers. These can be individual items, but collections are great too! (For example, a pack of coffee filters for pages, or a bunch of discarded CDs.)
Numbers are drawn and in that order each person goes around and chooses an item. We keep going around until all items are claimed. You may or may not end up with the items you contributed. Then the fun begins!
Assignment: With the three items you have chosen, construct a book.
I had just enough materials to make 13 pockets that were mounted to the clear plastic accordion style. When I made the book I had NO IDEA that the Wallace Stevens text would become part of it. The time came for me to go through the To File folder, which dove-tailed nicely with the plunder book project.
I drilled holes into the poker chips and wrote one of Stevens’ stanza’s onto each of the chips with the number written out on the other side. I drew blackbirds moving through the stages of flight on each of the pages.
One the book was finished, I made the box you see in this picture to house it.