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Arnolfini - est 1961

All of the members of Artist’s Book Club at UWE Bristol were invited to collaborate at a Word-binding party with Beth Calverley of The Poetry Machine on 28 April 2020.

Beth hosted an inclusive conversation to draw out what book art means to us. After everyone had contributed, Beth created this poem on her typewriter that incorporates all ideas into one collaborative piece.

We share this in the hope that it provides inspiration to think about what books mean to you.

Word-binding by Beth Calverley

Tumbling is a joyful act,
slightly clumsy but who cares?

we make small boxes for stories –
firewood for future ancestors to find.

We escape to the space of a pocket,
a stone’s throw universe of narratives.

Of course, it’s really about me, us,
connecting the stitches of letters.
A dream of completeness.

It’s important, somehow,
that these thoughts aren’t picked
but found, pressed to the ground.
Moments that others might just walk past.

As the pages unfold,
we begin to make sense. The finished magic.
Sewing, stitching, pressing into life
a manifesto of the extinct.

Goosebumps are patterns
that can go either way –
anxious or excited.
A calming discovery.

Crawling from the blanket-den of home,
we listen to the moods of nature
and map ourselves from darkness.
We are honest – a blush,
the shade of other people’s daydreams.

From all this, we build bridges,
the clear from the hidden,
characters from paper,
zigzags from the random.

Just sitting down to make things –
there’s something in it
that’s simply