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Rachel Blau DuPlessis’s 2008 and 2009 Tapa Notebook — page 10
[ Text: What’s at stake in ‘ending’ Drafts? / I said (in my imaginary dialogue with Ron Silliman) (a dialogue with 2 readers, / him + me) that I’d get to the end and / then see what I would do. However, as / I stand ready at any time to begin again / with 96 [an ‘it’ draft], I realize that the / whole set, every poem in it, is potentially / inflected with the outcome of this decision. / Options 1) don’t care 2) care 3) decide now / what to do 4) write every one of the 19 poems in a double / mode — readable as part of a set that / finishes and readable as part of an endless / poem, a poem that is not going to finish. / (tho this is like [however] the situation of all / poems in a set called poetry.) 31 Dec 08 ]
RBD gloss: Ron S had made a large pitch, in his then blog, for my NOT declaring an end to Drafts. This occurred particularly in the first sentence of his blog on Monday, February 18, 2008: ‘The only thing I’ve ever been able to find ‘wrong’ with Rachel Blau DuPlessis’ marvelous life poem Drafts is the idea that some day it’s going to end, and that day is drawing increasingly near.’ http://ronsilliman.blogspot.com/2008_02_17_archive.html It was an extraordinary piece by him, and I responded to it by writing a private dialogue, first only to myself (constructed as a tenso between me and Ron) and then, a year or so later, simply shared with Ron. The ‘it’ Draft — all first works initiating each of the six units of 19 poems refers in some way to Draft 1: It. In my shorthand, all first works are on the line of one.
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. 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.