Limited Edition Handmade
Bloof Books Chapbook Series
Vol. 2: Issue 3
Conversation with the Stone Wife by Natalie Eilbert was the third title in the 2014 Bloof Books Chapbook Series. It was issued in a limited edition of 100 handmade copies, followed by a digital release. It’s “artifact” design concept was inspired by the same figurine as the poems themselves. Like the Woman of Villendorf, each book was been colored by hand, rubbed with natural earth pigments—red ochre and yellow ochre, plus river valley soils dug in Bloof’s native NJ. The title plate appliqué is inspired by a museum display, printed in archival ink. The interiors were laser-printed on natural white acid-free, archival-quality paper. Handsewn in natural twine.
From the author
“These poems engage the ‘Venus’ of Willendorf, the 30-35,000 year old figurine found in Willendorf, Austria over a century ago. Hundreds of these ‘venus’ figurines were found all throughout Europe and Asia, and many scientists theorize that nomadic tribes created them during the ice age in a phenomenon called Peak Shift Effect, in which a people creates art to exaggerate what they lack. Here, adequate fat storage and fertility and general human robustness. I’m interested in this, because I have a history of body dysmorphia and history of food issues. I just uncomfortably looked to my thighs and want to apologize but will continue sipping iced americano instead. So many of these poems were written over four years ago—not a long stretch of time relatively speaking—but for my current aesthetics and bureau of ideas, feels eternal. Coincidentally, I’m facing these old poems as artifacts of neuroses.”
CONVERSATION WITH THE STONE WIFE
You don’t get to tell me my arms are useless. The kith
of scales should move you, the dedication
to impoverished architecture. Girlfriend, what you don’t know is
I started gathering cotton grass in mock worship
of your romance with blackbirds. I started before you were born.
Dressed them in kohl, breathed my weathers into them.
You don’t get to tell me the priority of wings. I know.
The cattails whip the marshlands with the discipline
of a schoolmarm. I can tell you in the rain my labor is sexy.
My fat tits darken. I would lay down with anyone
who doesn’t laud the cloacae, the irascible beaks.
That’s ridiculous. All afternoon I grieved the great morning sky
you rode in on, prayed for its nothing change. See
how my English has improved. See how hot I look
descending the stairs, a choker of claws around my neck,
the talons dug into with arsenic. My old life bloats
like a collection of dictionaries abandoned beneath
the bed of some walk-up apartment. Hallelujah,
you’ve yet to get my magic. Already my veil appears silken,
my spiderleg lashes. Leave me my materials, my histrionics.