Paper Dolls & Books

Greetings! You've maybe heard of Taylor Swift as Books--the pairing of book covers and photos of Taylor Swift--or perhaps you've heard of Poetry + Fungus--the pairing of poetry books and photos of various fungi? If you are scratching your head about why someone would take the time to do such a thing, scratch away, or join the fun! What makes Paper Dolls & Books a little different is that I am selecting books to read then creating dolls to go with them. The doll is a response to writing that moves me. It is a triangulation of the book's cover, content, and my own imagination. Why? Because someone smarter than me once said that "the best response to a poem is a poem." In this case, the best response to a book is a paper doll. Click on each image below to enlarge. 

My first featured book of 2022 is Instructions for an Animal Body (Moon Tide Press) by Kelly Gray. The cover artist is Douglas Pierre Baulos. This is a book so rich with imagery that it got me out of my poetry slump. I had a physical reaction to this book; it made me sprout corvid wings and long claws and slick fur. I grew fox ears that could hear the ocean lapping at the nape of the forest, boots crunching leaves, fire licking the hills. 


Set in a small, forested, unincorporated town in California where the speaker is daily faced with the birth and death of animals along with the uncertainty of the pandemic and wildfires, this book is dark, richly textured, and grippingly alive. 

From Kelly Gray's "Introduction: Keeping Apparitions:" 

"The vulture sits above my house, black wings spread, drying herself off against the wet night. In her vomit we find finely cracked vertebrae and delicate femurs. Down the hill are old men with crumbling cabins and dry crab nets. The river shoots creaks in every direction, usnea drips green from trees, everything is pulled in and spit out by the forest. The ocean is 9 miles and seven fences posts away."