#Throwback Thursday: Upside Down Tapestry Mosaic History

Happy New Year to folklore & literacy readers old and new!

Recently I’ve been going through my personal archives and found the first manuscript of original poetry (along with my original cover art) that I ever put together.

When Broadside Press expressed interest in publishing my book, I decided to call it Upside Down Tapestry Mosaic History, from my poem “Grandiloquent.” The book was published in 1987.

the book with my original cover design (photo by Leslie Reese)

Since this was in the 1980s, I typed my poems on a typewriter, using carbon paper, and Wite-out! Emotionally it hurts a little bit to realize that the technology I used back then could be considered archaic now – some 30 years later.

a typewritten copy of my poem “Grandiloquent” (photo by Leslie Reese)


  1. Wow! What a beautiful throwback! That was 2 days before my 14th BDAY! It’s me who’s feeling old now. I like the poem – have a particular fondness for the word “tapestry” too.

    Ever think of preparing a 2nd edition now that the technology has changed? How many poems does the book contain? Republish, I say. Good literature is timeless. ?

    1. Happy New Year, Avril! Thank you for the great suggestion about preparing a 2nd edition – it may happen, yet! You’re a Cancer baby- aha! and share a birthday with my Grandmother?.

  2. A beautiful poem Leslie, both the reflection and it’s shape, I’d love to hear it spoken, there is something magic in hearing a poet discuss a poem and then recite it, I’m in awe.

    I remember taking typing classes in secondary school when I was 11 or 12 and it was compulsory for both boys and girls, but by the time I finished university and had my first job, I had one year of having a secretary type our letters and a year later we had the mini apple computer and began to create documents on the computer. Those lessons were never really enough, I reverted to two finger typing pretty quick.

    1. Hi Claire – Now I can confess that although I, too, took typing classes, to this day my method is a blend of sentence memorization plus “hunt-and-peck”! I’m glad you enjoyed the poem. When I think back on writing it, it was the word grandiloquent that I was infatuated with, and that somehow suggested these other things, i.e. “mosaic history,” “the piano trilling,” etc.

    1. I love that you remember the exact date of when you moved into your very own first house. You never know what’s going to open up memory’s floodgates! When you have time, maybe you would like to read my post about Sandra Cisnero’s book A House of My Own.

  3. Leslie, your poem is beautiful and thought provoking as is the art work. You are a real trailblazer aren’t you? You did that over 30 years ago and it looks and sounds so current?! WOW!!!
    That has inspired me to write some upside down poetry!

  4. Hi Leslie! Happy New Year!! Thank you for sharing this lovely poem and art. Was the original cover art by you too? Girrrrlllll!!! You’re too multi-talented!!! Ahhhhh… the typewriter…. I am seasoned and embarrassed to say that my professor recently pointed out that there should be only one space after a period, not 2. Gasp! When did they change that rule? And who was going to tell all the “old” people?!?!?
    I remember my older sister being a successful secretary and she and mom making me go in the basement (where we kept the typewriter) and practice typing. They would say, “As long as you know how to type, you’ll always be able to get a job.” hahahahahahaha
    Nothing takes the place of long hand. There’s something magical and therapeutic about cursive (lol) writing….. xoxo

    1. Hey Colette! Happy New Year, Old Friend! – We can be “seasoned and embarrassed,” together, because I continue to press the space key twice after every period – I didn’t know about the new rule. Nobody asked our permission!
      Yeah, back in the day it was true that those who knew how to type could always get a job – EVERYbody agreed on that. Are we getting old?
      I, too, feel the magical
      and therapeutic properties of writing in long hand – thanks for those great adjectives and for
      visiting my blog, today.

  5. Hey Leslie! Great poem and I love the cover art too. I learnt to type on a type writer, copying sentences from a learn to type book. That was in the 80s. I dreaded it and it was one of the things my dad got me to do in school holidays, but when life transitioned to computers (and seems to have replaced handwriting) I am grateful for knowing what QWERTY means.

    I read your poem from the bottom up a couple of times, prompted by the ‘upside down’ in the title of your chapbook- and it works! Excuse the ignorance if that was actually your intention and I missed the point (but stumbled upon it anyway) haha.

    So…how is your prose going? 🙂

    1. Mek – I love your impulse to experiment with forms! Thanks to you I read “Grandiloquent” from bottom to top for the first time and it has inspired a fresh concept for sharing it with others.

      I’m sorry you dreaded typing on a typewriter but I’m glad you know what it’s all about.
      Your last question requires a blog post all its own……..for now I will say that my prose is going well. Thank you for asking.

      1. That is what happens when you get someone like me who is equal part literal and abstract haha. I read again and really like it back to front but also the right way round too. I would love to read that blog post reply…I wait patiently 🙂

  6. Leslie, this poem is beautiful! Please don’t remind me of the typewriter and the White Out! Those days held horrible memories of re-typing research papers for school.

    1. Oooooh, Kathy! yes, I DO remember the days of typing and re-typing research papers for school. What a nightmare – complete with agonized tears and white-out-smeared fingertips! I’m glad you like the poem; its gratifying to read something that I wrote so long ago and not feel the need to cringe.

  7. Wow, Leslie! Thank you for sharing these wonderful works of art. Well done, and so differently crafted with historic tools. The technology may change, but the artistry to use it well is the valuable part. Happy new year!

    1. Thank you so much, Margaret! “Historic tools,” indeed! It makes me wonder about the range of balancing acts going on with the generations who learned to do so much by hand prior to the digital age? When does technology enhance artistry and when does it become an arrogant intruder?

  8. Fantastic poem Leslie. I’m thinking you and your typewriter had it going on. Did you bin it, or still type 1st drafts this way? I’m still very impressed with your work today. Probably because of you and your typewriter. Literary bond all the way!

  9. Happy New Year, Leslie!

    I love typewriters. There’s something about the clacking keys that enhances the writing process for me. And yep, I remember using White-Out, too. 🙂

    The last six lines of your poem are my favourite.

    1. Thank you, Nadine! Those clacking keys add something to the otherwise aurally quiet process of writing. So now I am curious about your personal writing process – do you write on typewriters, sometimes, then switch to computer? I’m still hooked on handwriting and wonder if I could train myself to at least compose blog posts at the computer to save time?

      1. My early writing process began with handwriting, and then progressed to using a typewriter. Now, I mostly use the computer, because it saves time. However, I still write in my journal, and compose short pieces, like poems, and a rough outline for a story by hand. I’ll forever have a thing for typewriters, though.

        By the way, check out this article about Freewrite, a ‘smart typewriter’: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/27/freewrite-hipster-typewriter-technology

        Smartphones. Smart homes. Smart cars. What will they think of next?

        1. Ah, the march of progress…! I guess I am old-fashioned. As much as I enjoy having a laptop to work on, there’s no charm in it – if you know what I mean. Will we look back on today’s laptop in 10 years and have feelings of nostalgia?

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