Like books, quilts are symbolic items with patterns that can tell stories. Quilts tell domestic narratives and have been recognized as important historical artifacts. As a result, the Smithsonian’s National Quilt Collection at the National Museum of American History contains hundreds of quilts. However, it might be surprising to hear that the Smithsonian Libraries also hold quilts – or rather, quilt-like books.
“Where the fold should be / There is no fold” reads the entire tenth poem of Reading Red. Reading this poem is a jarring experience: the book has many folds, extra folds. Is the “fold” of the poem related to the physical construction of the book in which it is printed, or is it a statement about something outside the book? As this poem makes clear, the work is concerned with the physical form of its presentation.
Something is wrong with the corner of the page. Maybe not wrong, but strange, I think to myself. Examining Mark Wagner’s Smoke in My Dreams more closely, I realize that the bottom corner of the page opens up.