Twelve Simple Songs: free digital poetry chapbook

View on Issuu

UPDATE (4/16/13): Now available in print form. (Including the shipping cost, the price should be $15.78 for U.S. residents ordering the full-color, medium paperback option.)

UPDATE (4/3/13): Now available as a videopoem from Nic Sebastian and Swoon! Also, the collection now has its own page on my author site.


Books are fun to make, and Issuu makes them reasonably fun to read online, too. I’ve uploaded a recording of me reading the poems if you want to listen while you read — if not, hit the pause button. If you only want the reading, download the MP3 here. And if you just want the PDF without going through Issuu, here’s an alternate download link for that.

You might remember my blogging the poems back in January and February. I had the goal of a small chapbook in mind as I wrote, though I was never quite sure whether to speak of these “simple songs” in the plural or singular — most of them wouldn’t really work on their own. For Rachel’s birthday, I matched the poems with some of my photos for a one-off, full-color, glossy paperback from Snapfish, which does very nice printing but A) is kind of pricey and B) isn’t really set up for text. (It’s a good thing none of the poems have italics in them, for example, because Snapfish can’t handle that.) So this second, PDF edition is slightly different, with better fonts, a fuller copyleft page at the end and other minor changes.

I guess the best one-line description for the chapbook would be: linked verses in dialogue with photographs about an intercontinental love affair. Some of the photos have personal associations for Rachel and me, but I don’t think that should prevent anyone else from appreciating the collection at some level, at least.

As for a second paperback edition, that’s coming, I hope. Issuu has partnered with a new and (to me) exciting new print-on-demand service called Peecho. I’ve gone ahead and ordered a test copy to see if the quality’s up to snuff — and if it isn’t, I’ll tweak it until it is. If you’re in a hurry to get a paper copy, you can go ahead and order one now through Issuu, but otherwise I’d recommend waiting until I give the go-ahead. Leave a comment if you’d like to be notified about this. If there’s enough interest, I could set up as an independent publisher with Peecho rather than going through Issuu, and possibly lower the price a little. (I would sell at cost.)


  1. Put me on the list of people to notify for the go-ahead. Peecho sounds intriguing. Might look into it for some of my poems sitting around in a box, gathering dust. Amazon is not the best for poetry chapbooks, among other things too.

    1. Yes, and doing affordable P.O.D. projects involving illustrations has been tricky (as we found out last year with the Words on the Street collection).

  2. And me too!
    I love the digital book and the sound of your voice reading/singing these songs. The photos are beautiful. But also I need a book to be something I can hold and smell and put under my pillow or in my pocket, or even lend to a friend …

    1. O.K.! I’m flattered by your enthusiasm for the project, and yes — I feel the same way about the physicality of printed books.

  3. Put me on the list! I like the idea of a printed book, but it would be missing your vocals. Each version – on-line or hard copy – has its own charms.

    1. Yes, there’s certainly a lot to be said for digital versions. Not to mention more radical versions that sometimes occur: the interpretative dance, the poetry film…

  4. Luisa A. Igloria

    Hear, hear. Add me on! Lovely.

  5. What a lovely, tender collection, Dave. Thank you for making it available in multiple formats.

  6. Add me to the list, as well!

    This was simply wonderful. Although I love print, I was pleasantly surprised by the attractiveness of Issuu and how appropriate it felt to read the chapbook on a screen with it. In particular, though, I’d like to complement your pairing of pictures with poems. That was especially well-done.

    1. Thanks so much. I know some people still prefer Scribd as a PDF publisher, but the amount of ads there is just too distracting, I find.

  7. This is beautiful, Dave. I really enjoy the way the text and the images interact.

    I read the .pdf but I’d like to be on the heads-up list when it’s available in paper.

    1. You bet. It’s beginning to look as if I might as well create my own account on Peecho, presuming the test copy I ordered through Issuu turns out O.K.

      1. Great photography and photography selection, by the way. The back cover is a particularly inspired selection considering the last poem.

        1. Thanks, Peter. That was actually taken at the same pond where I shot the rushes on the front cover.

    1. O.K., I’m working on it. The first copy back from Peecho wasn’t too good, but I am adjusting and trying again. Bear with me.

  8. As we say in Dutch; Heel Schoon en Puur!
    I’d love one

    1. “Very clean and pure,” says Google Translate. I’ll take that! Thanks so much for your interest in the project.

Comments are closed.