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Rachel Blau DuPlessis’s 2008 and 2009 Tapa Notebook — page 01 ‘front cover’
[ Text: nil (front cover design) ]
RBD gloss: What Rachel and Michele were doing in 2008:
Rachel Blau DuPlessis: In the academic year 2008-09 when this notebook was composed, DuPlessis and Robert DuPlessis had relocated temporarily from Philadelphia, PA, USA to Durham, North Carolina, USA where both had fellowships at the National Humanities Center (in Triangle Park, N.C.). 2008 was the year of the world-wide financial collapse (the ‘Great Recession’) and of the first victory of Barack Obama as U.S. President. DuPlessis was working on research for and writing of a book on masculinity, eros, gender, and poetic institutions that was published as Purple Passages: Pound, Eliot, Zukofsky, Olson, Creeley and the Ends of Patriarchal Poetry (University of Iowa Press, 2012). She was also writing poems. The poems in Drafts that date from that year were ‘Draft 92: Translocation’, ‘Draft 93: Romantic Fragment Poem’, ‘Draft 95: Erg’, ‘Draft 96: Velocity’, ‘Draft 97: Rubrics’, and ‘Draft 100: Gap’. This work spans across two books: Pitch: Drafts 77-95 (Salt Publishing, 2010) and Surge: Drafts 96-114 (Salt Publishing, 2013). She was becoming aware, during this time, of the imminence of the once imaginary (and apparently unachievable) number ‘114’ which she had postulated as the point at which Drafts would close, if not conclude or terminate. Her thinking about the critical book in process and her questions about ending Drafts become recurrent topics in this notebook.
Michele Leggott, former poet laureate of New Zealand and professor at the University of Auckland, had asked DuPlessis to compose this notebook after RBD participated in an international project, initiated by Leggott, a project imaginatively joining ‘Italy’ and ‘New Zealand.’ This original project resulted, for DuPlessis, in the poem ‘Draft 86: Scrapbook’ (dated January and May 2008). DuPlessis was later invited to the University of Auckland and spent half a semester there as a Distinguished Visitor in February-April 2012. At the time she was writing the Tapa Notebook, she had not yet visited New Zealand.
These are scans of pages of a Tapa Notebook, filled out by American poet Rachel Blau DuPlessis for the University of Auckland Library. It ponders Rachel’s experiences writing in 2008 and 2009. For more of this backstory, see here. For a grid plan of all the Draft, and to read ‘The Schemata of Drafts: A note from 2005-2006’, go to http://poeticsresearch.com/article/5590-dtapa-grid/. The word ‘tapa’ refers to the kind of dyed patterned cloth (made from the paper mulberry tree) shown left, and on the front cover of the notebook, an honorable practice popular in Polynesia. (See Wikipedia) Most spreads of this notebook have a blank verso (left hand page), except for 7L and 7R. Blank verso pages are not shown; usually only the recto (right hand) page is shown.