the obligatory and yet so-well-deserved thank-you and dedicatory preface

Thank-yous go to Ralph and Bette Saul, for their generosity which has allowed me and other Junior Fellows to produce and reproduce our art, to Al and Jennifer and Tom for their assistance this year and other years, to Hannah for the cover and back photos, quite a few other photos, and for listening to me talk about this project incessantly for the past year, and of course, to all of my contributors:

Deb for her vivid and touching flora – Pat for a great poetry-reading-poem that perfectly parallels the essence of this project – Becca for her deliciously cynical haikus – Greg for allowing me to steal his stealing poem – Maria, Richard and Matt, all cheerful victims of my red hands, for their writings, but also for that cheer – Sam for an overwhelmingly beautiful poem and a long night at Cosi – Samuel, Peter, and Beandrea for their outrageous, thoughtful, inspiring and powerful letters and for reminding me how wonderful letters are and how much I want to write them – Alexis and Rachel, collectively for a poem, a found poem, prose and a letter and for their friendly and enthusiastic and skillful hands in the kitchen – Victoria, for writing something that helped me think through my relationship with writers house, and for her help in editing and thinking through metaphors, metonymy, men and other alliterative words I know nothing about – Jill for her myriad contributions cleverly targeted to fill in my gaps and for the use of her mailbox and for making other people write things for me and for smiling all that time – and Jack, for twenty beginnings and two great poems, for editing honestly and harshly and lovingly and fairly, for listening while watching my eyes and for always having the patience I only sometimes deserved...

Thank you all so much.

This is for Allie.