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Begin Here book coverBegin Here

by Rosemary Catacalos

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Hand-bound chapbook, 36 pages

Begin Here, a limited edition (1,000 copies) chapbook, is Texas Poet Laureate Rosemary Catacalos' first new book in three decades. Printed using environmentally friendly brown ink on partially recycled paper, it has been sewn by hand (by the hands of the publisher, the author, and some of San Antonio's best poets) into handmade paper covers. The cover stock was made by Beck Whitehead and printed by letterpress by Léo Lee at the School by the River Press, Southwest School of Art, San Antonio, Texas. The labyrinth image used on the cover and inside the book is based on a hand-appliquéd fabric piece, "Cretan Maze," by Yvonne Seyler Parks Lifshutz.

The first 26 copies have been signed and lettered A to Z by the author. A few of these copies are offered for sale at $50. Inquire by email about purchasing one of these copies.

Begin Here contains some of Catacalos' most well known works, including:

David Talamántez on the Last Day of Second Grade

San Antonio, Texas 1988

David Talamántez, whose mother is at work, leaves his mark everywhere in the schoolyard, 
tosses pages from a thick sheaf of lined paper high in the air one by one, watches them

catch on the teachers' car bumpers, drift into the chalky narrow shade of the water fountain,
One last batch, stapled together, he rolls tight into a makeshift horn through which he shouts

David! and David, yes! before hurling it away hard and darting across Brazos Street against
the light, the little sag of head and shoulders when, safe on the other side, he kicks a can

in the gutter and wanders toward home. David Talamántez believes birds are warm blooded,
the way they are quick in the air and give out long strings of complicated music, different

all the time, not like cats and dogs. For this he was marked down in Science, and for putting
his name in the wrong place, on the right with the date, not on the left with Science Questions,

and for not skipping a line between his heading and his answers. The X's for wrong things
are big, much bigger than David Talam´ntez's tiny writing. Write larger, his teacher has said

in red ink across the tops of many pages. Messy! she says on others where he has erased
and started over, erased and started over. Spelling, Language Expression, Sentences Using

the Following Words. Neck. I have a neck name. No!  20's, 30's. Think again! He's good
in Art, though, makes 70 on Reading Station Artist's Corner, where he's traced and colored

an illustration from Henny Penny. A goose with red-and-white striped shirt, a hen in a turquoise
dress. Points off for the birds, cloud and butterfly he's drawn in freehand. Not in the original

picture! Twenty-five points off for writing nothing in the blank after This is my favorite scene
in the book because.... There's a page called Rules. Listen! Always working! Stay in your seat!

Raise your hand before you speak! No fighting! Be quiet! Rules copied from the board, no grade,
only a giant red checkmark.  Later there is a test on Rules. Listen! Alay ercng! Sast in ao snet!

Rars aone bfo your spek! No finagn! Be cayt! He gets 70 on Rules, 10 on Spelling. An old man
stoops to pick up a crumpled drawing of a large family crowded around a table, an apartment

with bars on the windows in Alazán Courts, a huge sun in one corner saying, Too mush noys!
The grade is 90. Nice details! And there's another mark, on this paper and all the others, the one

in the doorway of La Rosa Beauty Shop, the one that blew under the pool table at La Tenampa,
the ones older kids have wadded up like big spit balls, the ones run over by cars. On every single

page David Talamántez has crossed out the teacher's red numbers and written in huge letters,
blue ink, Yes! David, yes!


author's photo reading glasses About This Author

Read more about Rosemary Catacalos

Buy This Book : $25

ISBN 978-1-60940-323-2
US $25.00
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