Friday, August 30, 2002


I am the slowest of readers, so much that when I was a student, my high school enrolled me in an Evelyn Woods’ speed reading course to see if it couldn’t increase my pace – but I always imagined words to have sounds & sentences and paragraphs to set off thoughts, requiring me to reread passages over & over whenever I returned from my flights of “fancy.”


Today, I am reading perhaps 50 books at once – I have a stack beside this desk that includes The Angel Hair Anthology, Lorine Niedecker’s Collected Works, Bruce Andrews’ Lip Service, Allen Curnow’s Early Days Yet, Tan Lin’s Lotion Bullwhip Giraffe, Conjunction’s special issue on American Poetry: The State of the Art, Serge Gavronsky’s 66 for Starters, Charles Tomlinson’s Selected Poems, James Sherry’s Our Nuclear Heritage, Frank Stanford’s The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You, Barbara Guest’s Selected Poems, and H.D.’s Collected Poems 1912-1944. Some of these are “rereads” (Sherry, Stanford), but others (Lin, Curnow, Tomlinson) are books that I have been reading literally for years.


In addition to this stack, I have another that sits by the front door, waiting for those moments when I can relax and sit on the porch and read – these are the books I took with me to Nova Scotia this summer (though the Angel Hair anthology and Niedecker collected were also in that group and have since migrated down to my study). In my bedroom is another clutch of books of poetry that will be integrated with the stack by the door. Plus the novel I’m currently reading, David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten.

The stack by the front door includes Christian Bok’s Eunoia, Pattie McCarthy’s bk of (h)rs, Lyn Hejinian’s A Border Comedy, Heaney’s version of Beowulf, Besmilr Brigham’s Run Through Rock, Jennifer Moxley’s The Sense Record, Geoffrey Hill’s Speech! Speech! (a curiously flaccid text given its reputation), and Edwin Torres’ The All-Union Day of the Shock Worker.


In a restroom upstairs is a smaller stack of critical &/or non-fiction texts that I’m working through more slowly. And in the dining room is Stephen Wolfram’s self-published tome, A New Kind of Science, which I’m going through with the idea that there must be some ideas for poems in there that I might use once I begin Universe in earnest (still a year away, I’d guess).


But in my pocket, as an e-book, is Robert Duncan’s H.D. Book, which I’ve downloaded to my Palm Pilot using the Adobe Acrobat Reader for Palm tool.