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Monday, May 07, 2012

Foliate / Death

Probably I shouldn't bother to post today because Clive Hicks-Jenkins has put such a long, interesting recollection of our first acquaintance in the comments of the last post that it is bound to be more appealing than whatever I could possibly write! Clive and Andrew Wakelin are currently in cahoots on the interior and cover designs for The Foliate Head (UK: Stanza Press), and I can say is that it is going to be astonishingly beautiful. I've seen a version of both, but they are still tweaking, and the book of poetry and with its green man illustrations grows more marvelous by the instant. It has a color head on front and back with many black-and-whites inside. Lovely, lovely, and yet again lovely! 

Roiphe has driven a car for the first time with Pip as passenger; Roiphe's mother, Lil, is standing out in the Georgia dirt yard, unfastening the pin curls set around her head. Alden, Roiphe's younger brother (or younger bother) is close by.

“Mommer, would you go comb your hair?  You look like a medusa.”  Roiphe climbed out of the car, staggering a little as if the ground were a foreign medium.
            Her fingers moved nimbly around her head, collecting the crooked pins into a small dark sheaf, which she bound with a rubber band and dropped into her apron pocket.  “You could have been killed, the pair of you, or landed in the county jail with a pack of misfits.  Roiphe Tattnal, you don’t know the least thing about driving, no more than a fresh-laid egg.”
            “He does now.  The boy proved himself a driver of ingenuity and downright verve.”  Pip clambered from the passenger seat and leaned for support against the side of the auto.  He was not sure he could walk away yet, having recently been startled by a close call with a straggle of cows in the lane. 
“Lil, that was a dadgum shattering experience, but I believe—I truly believe that he could have done a powerful sight more if he had put his unthrottled genius into the thing.  If he survives, Roiphe Tattnal has some kind of a future in transportation.”  With a wrench, Pip yanked a bushel basket off a headlamp and surveyed it.
            “First man on the moon,” Alden crowed.
            “First idiot on the moon, more like.  Y'all better pluck those chicken feathers off the front before Mr. Louis sees it,” Lil advised.  “That’s all I’ve got to say.”
            “Would that it were.”  Roiphe rolled his eyes dramatically.  “All,” he added in case she had not understood.
            “I got your drift, bud.”  She started combing her hair out with her fingers. 
            “Pip wants to ride out to the cemetery,” Roiphe announced.
            Lil gave her brother a quick glance, half screened by hair, and then turned back.
            “Is that so,” she said, no hint of a question in her words.

Please don't forget that the Goodreads giveaway of 24 copies of the novel ends on the 15th, so sign up!

A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage
Read chapter one at Scribd 
See the book page
See the new facebook page

Goodreads giveaway, April 15-May 15

Amazon hardcover and ebook
Indie bookstore search
Buy direct from Mercer


  1. I put in for a copy to give as a gift. I want others to read this book!

  2. Well, be sure and bug your local bookstores for me! I'm not sure how far a Southern university press reaches--California is a mighty long way off!


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.