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Rachel Blau DuPlessis’s 2008 and 2009 Tapa Notebook — page 34
[ Text: “moving the tree rather more to the middle” // The decisions about Drafts are like / orienteering or mapping with some overlay / of cost benefit analysis + risk-taking. / This morning, dissatisfied in several ways, / I thought — move Puppet Play/Puppet / Opera again. It should not be on the line / of two! [i.e. second poem of any group of nineteen poems in Drafts] Perhaps the line of six (Dr 101) wd / be better. WHY // [indented list follows] 1) even at 97 it’s too close to the dialogue / of R + pen in 95 / 2) it does not have the transformed lyricism or the red splash of the line of two / 3) eerily, tho it was written in summer 2008, / the issue of the hanged female resonates too horribly with the death of Emma Bee Bernstein / 4) it happens (as a poem-topic) too fast / in the build of any series. // 18 Jan 09 ]
RBD gloss: The citation that begins this note comes from Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. (1927). It is one choice among Lily Briscoe’s long set of aesthetic and emotional choices (and her gathering of the courage to make them) that build toward the completion of her long-deferred painting at the end of the novel. It is one of the talismanic moments for Woolf in her depiction of the Bildung of a female artist.
Draft 101: Puppet Opera did finally stay in that spot, although it had been somewhat mobile and in question before (as this note indicates). The work is a dialogue about gender between two puppets, one hand puppet, and one marionette (trussed up in her own strings), based explicitly on an image in conceptual discussions by Marcel Duchamp. ]
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.