Friday, February 05, 2010


Friday Speak Out: Bookmaking—For You, For Me!, Guest Post by Patricia A. McGoldrick

Bookmaking—For You, For Me!

by Patricia A. McGoldrick

I have to confess that bookmaking has become a bit of an obsession to me. Not cooking the books or becoming a bookie, but actually constructing and compiling books.

Right now, you might be dismissing this new-for-me activity as somewhat of a childish hobby in which to be engaged; however, as a poet writer, I assure you that it is a worthwhile one, one that has not only captured my imagination but that of other visual and word artists. They have, as I will discuss, inspired me to publish my poetry and stories in book form, of all shapes and sizes —creatively and sustainably.

As a bookmaking newcomer, I have been positively inspired to make books by visual and word artist, Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord at On her website, in free, PDF file format, plus a You Tube link, Susan provides user-friendly instructions for making these small books. As a poet, one of my favorite Gaylord titles, available for purchase, is Homes for Poems: Making Books for Poetry. This “home” concept for my writing appeals to me.

I am not the only one who has been drawn to Gaylord’s popular, informative, website. Poet, Kay Day, mentions it in an article "Publish your poetry; there are more options than ever," as she urges writers to publish their work in these small venues in order to promote and share their words. Day is an encouraging voice in tough times.

Making small books is an opportunity not only to share one’s writing creatively. It is also a means of practicing sustainability by reusing resources that are often right in front of us. This is clearly a focus at Gaylord’s website and it is also a focus of Jill Magi, a poet with a visual flare for reusing paper and other goods for publishing her works. This wordsmith urges readers to "Make a Tiny Book" in the 2010 January/February issue of Poets & Writers. As a web search reveals, the creative Magi, with her sustainable use of materials, is a tremendous source of inspiration for making those homes for your words as gifts to others, recorded memories, a library of your own works.

Last year, I wrote, designed and published several books (See Figure 1): two memorial books, one posted on my blog at; an easy-to-carry book for Poetry-in-your-Pocket month; gift books about my Mother, a little child, spring, basketball, and our puppy, Cody (Figure 3); a chapbook of my completed Poetry Month venture to write a poem-a-day based on some literary prompts during April (Figure 2). Covered with a navy sheet of cover-stock paper and spine trimmed with burgundy ribbon, this chapbook now sits in my writing area for inspiration to persevere.

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

I would like to conclude by assuring you that these books are not difficult to make. For inspiration, I recommend checking out the websites I have listed; then, gather some colorful paper, yarn, glue, pictures plus your words. Make a book!

The sense of accomplishment is wonderful as you see your words being published in a book, designed by you! National Poetry Month is coming up soon—you might want to give bookmaking a try—that’s my plan!


Patricia A. McGoldrick writes poems, essays and reviews about history, nature, books, social justice, events and people. Most recently, non-fiction article "'Now Boards'Give Life to Dreams" was published online; Poems published at Sleet; Irish American Post; Chapter And Verse; Cyclamens and Swords; League of Canadian Poets; Contributions are in: leaf press, Frost and Foliage; Voices Israel Anthology 2009; Ice: New Writing on Hockey; Love & Longing in the Near North; The Changing Image,2008,1994; The Grand Table Anthology. Patricia is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society (TOPS).

BLOGS: ; PM27's Blog


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