Moon of Ripe Berries:
The Ashfield Poems

©2001 by Lui Collins
Molly Gamblin Music

"For my mother, who taught me to seek the infinite in the infinitesimal."

From Lui's February 2001 Musings post:

"...It started with the Precipice Poems in the fall of 1996. They came about a month apart, and were like taking dictation. Not all the poems come so easily! Soon I started sharing poems in concert, intermingled with the songs. Next thing I knew, people were asking if they were published. It was Frank Allen Philpot, after a concert at his house in Bethesda, Maryland last December, who convinced me to go ahead with the project. I am grateful to Frank Allen for lighting the fire under me!

My daughter Sylva and I walked through the first stages together: laying out the poems on the floor, grouping them into seasons, and selecting those to be included. Sylva did the initial layout, and then we transferred them over to Jeff LeBlanc, who did the graphic design. Jeff helped us choose a font and select paper and cover stock. What an adventure that was, searching through stacks of sample books to find just the right color, texture and weight. Jeff had endless patience—and it's a good thing!

The binding of the book presented the greatest mystery to me, and was the most intimidating part of the process. I discovered that the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts has probably the greatest density of hand bookbinders of any region in the country—a wealth that arose naturally in response to the proliferation of private presses in the area. After several phone calls, I made a visit to the Thistle Bindery in Florence, where David Bourbeau gave me a nutshell introduction to bookbinding, and showed me several examples of beautiful ways to bind a chapbook. By the way, for the uninitiated like I was, a chapbook is simply a small collection of poems, usually 30 to 60 pages in length. David also showed me his letterpress, whereupon I decided to have him hand press the title in silver on the berry-colored cover. His daughter Anja, who has been binding books since she was four, would hand-sew the pages."

Read the rest of the post here.


Cover title stamped in Centaur type by David Bourbeau and Kirsten Baringer at Thistle Bindery, Florence, Massachusetts. 

Body set in Baker Signet by Jeff LeBlanc at Paradise Copies, Northampton, Massachusetts. 

Editorial and design assistance by Sylva B. Menard. 

Third printing coordinated, assembled, and hand-sewn by Magdalen Zander.



Into the Woods

The Precipice Poems

part 1: Standing on This Precipice

part 2: Sequel to the Precipice

or Well I Leapt, But I Did Not Fly

Journey’s End

Shiny White-Toed Hightops

Darkness Descends

I Wrest My Joy

Glance in a Mirror


part 1: Appliances and Other Distractions

part 2: Grace Comes When Least Expected

The Growing Light



Spring Has Gotten Into the Creek

Moon of Ripe Berries

By Invitation Only

Moon of Ripe Berries


"My dear friend Gkisedtanamoogk advised me in 1993 that the most important thing I could do for myself in any given day would be to sit for a time quietly in the woods.  Even walking is too fast, he said.  It was not until I made the move to Massachusetts in 1997 that I learned the truth of his words, when the woods out the back door of my Ashfield home became solace and sanctuary to me.  With a couple of exceptions, notably the Precipice Poems, written on two separate road trips in the fall of 1996 while I was still living in Connecticut, and On Invitation Only, written just before making the move north, all poems were written in or near or about my Ashfield home.  The woods figure prominently in these poems, as they have figured in my life here, and indeed many of these poems formed themselves in my head as I ascended the wooded path toward my home."

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