‘Alex- A few moments of reading pleasure in return for an evening of sensual delights. Denis October Bacchanalia 1994’ Found on the flyleaf of The Physiology of Taste - Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin Spidery writing offers pleasure on the pages of a mildewed book discovered in an antiquarian book stall by the Seine. Taste is something one cannot measure, he argued once with that bushy-eyebrowed, furrowed look that makes him appear slightly insane. I suppose, when he has found such treasure, it would be rude not to unhook the cover from a hardback once again and taste its mustiness at leisure, trace the fingerprints of every reader who took the time to turn each page and scan the tome’s physiology: how words fit together and sentences flow like babbling brooks. To think that Denis, with a pen in hand, after some thought and with little pressure, scrawled this message to be read in a quiet nook, which he hopes I will not misunderstand. I decipher his arachnid script, endeavour to appreciate the nerve it took, and think, October Bacchanalia be damned!
Kim M. Russell, 17th November 2022
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This week’s Meeting the Bar at the dVerse Poets Pub really caught my imagination, thanks to Laura, our host. A fantastic prompt for booklovers, which I believe we all are, which explores handwritten messages between book covers, the flyleaf treasure of personal notes or signatures, doodles or dedications.
Laura says that often when we gift a book and write something on the flyleaf, we are leaving an imprint of history there – that of the relationship, the time, and ultimately the anonymity – and finding such books second-hand naturally piques the interest.
She has shared two wonderful example poems, W. S. Graham’s poem “[To Sheila Lanyon, on the Flyleaf of a Book]” and ‘In Translation’ by Deirdre O’Connor.
Our challenge is to pick ONE inscription from a selection of five provided by Laura as topic for our poems, in which we should place the chosen inscription as epigraph at the start, enter this portal to the past and use our imagination.