Showing posts with label David Bromige. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Bromige. Show all posts

Sunday, February 08, 2015

David Bromige


@ SUNY Buffalo


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Thursday, October 22, 2009

David Bromige reading in Seattle, May 2003

Today is David Bromige’s 76th birthday & it will be the first time in many a decade that I won’t have the opportunity to call or at least email him to wish him well. David’s baritone has long been a touchstone for me, one of those familiars that immediately bring comfort, no doubt because I associate it with love & wit. Thanks to PennSound, I can revisit that voice whenever I need to, as no doubt I will today. The latest addition there, I think, is a talk David gave in Bob Perelman’s talk series in 1977 on “Poetry and Intention.”

Last Friday, I traveled to Manhattan to participate in a memorial service for David at Poets House, now ensconced into its Battery Park City home with something akin to a 70-year lease – the venerable organization has room to grow, but also happens to be in the one place on the island that actually is hard to get to without walking several windy rainy blocks along the Hudson River. Joel Lewis, the bard of Hoboken, joked that it was easier to get to from New Jersey.

The following roster will give you some idea who spoke & what they read. Stephen Motika, who’s just finished working on a Collected Poems for Leland Hickman, was the organizer & moderator.

Kathleen Fraser: taped remembrance of David

Ron Silliman:"First" and "The Final Mission" from The Ends of the Earth

Nicholas Piombino: "Soul Mates" and "The End of The Stranger" from Desire

Gary Sullivan:  first two pages of the piece My Poetry

Bob Perelman: from My Poetry

Geoffrey Young: from My Poetry

Charles Bernstein: "My Daddy's at His Office Now" from "American Testament 4"

Laura Sims for Rachel Levitsky: comments and poem (I forgot to note which)

Corina Copp reading from "Joy Cone" from Hills 9 (1983)

Taking Amtrak’s Keystone Special up that afternoon, I’d thought this would be a terrific, joyous event, with no sense of sadness at David’s passing. The work is just so damn great & I’d never had the opportunity to read these two special poems in public before, almost as tho they were my own. But the instant I started to talk, I could hear my voice break – just a little – so I cut my palaver short & dove directly into the joy of the work.

Because we were asked to keep our remarks generally to 7 minutes each (to keep the reading to a reasonable [by NY standards] time – even with nine readers, it ran to 90 minutes – neither Bob Perelman or I were able to read our sections from the forthcoming 9th volume of The Grand Piano, both of which deal with David. It was interesting – and proves a long-held hunch of mine (or at least is evidence for same) – that My Poetry was the work most often cited here. It is, as I note in my piece for the Piano, David’s iconic book, even though it appeared only in an edition of 650 copies and was never reprinted. Geoff Young, who published My Poetry, conceded that he too has just one copy of this great book.

For my reading,I turned to earlier work – the premise of the order that night (at least after Kathy Fraser) was by the chronology of David’s writing – two poems that I heard David read on the night that I first met him in 1968. But since I didn’t get to read it at Poets House, here is my section from the next Grand Piano, which should be out in a week or two.


Furthest Up the Trail

SOMETIME AROUND late 1967, a then recent graduate of Bard, David Perry, arrived in San Francisco State’s creative writing program & he & I quickly discovered that we shared an enthusiasm for the work of Robert Kelly & the many poets Kelly had been teaching, basically The New American Poetry. David also knew all the recent Bard College grads who either lived in the Bay Area (John Gorham, Harvey Bialy) or were visiting (Tom Meyer, still then a teenager I believe). One day very early in ’68, David convinced me that we had to go to the Albany Public Library to hear Bialy read. It was the very place where I’d first discovered poetry some six years earlier, but I hadn’t set foot in that building on Solano since I’d left home, so for me the reading was already laden with symbolic power before Paul Mariah, who curated the series there, introduced the readers. Bialy was fine, maybe a little quieter than I’d expected, but it was the poet reading with him, somebody I’d never heard of before, who blew me away. David Bromige was tall with a long face, a resonant baritone, a mastery of syntax that I had not found anywhere, even in the work of Robert Duncan, & a ready, almost twinkly wit that gave me the impression that had Charles Dickens been alive and a New American poet, he would have been very much like this fellow. It was a stunning, eye-opening performance & I vowed to get to know this poet.1

At thirty-five, Bromige was a grad student at Berkeley, writing a dissertation on the Black Mountain poets, far more widely read than I & just a little suspicious of the motives of twenty-one-year-olds. He lived in a cottage apartment with his then-wife, fiction writer Sherril Jaffe, just north of the campus, not far from Josephine Miles’s place & a short walk to Serendipity Books, which in those days encompassed not only the rare books business it is today, but a bookstore & the distribution operations that subsequently evolved into SPD. I would meet David at his place or at Serendipity, or we would walk over to a beer & pizza den on Shattuck just off University & have long discussions, part gossip, part theory.

Our positions in those days were not at all equivalent. Having already had poems accepted by Poetry, TriQuarterly, Chicago Review & the like, I was full of myself, hyperconscious of my status as a “published poet,” which was somewhat unusual among undergraduates even at San Francisco State. But I was also painfully aware of just how hollow all of that truly was & appalled—daily!—at how little I knew & how much I had yet to learn. Not that I would have admitted that to anyone, least of all myself. Compared with David Bromige, I was an absolute beginner.

As the 60s gave way to the next decade, the grand pooh-bah of poetry in the Bay Area was manifestly Robert Duncan, who was only too happy to remind you of this himself. Of all the poets around him, David was by far the most accomplished, most published, most widely read. David already had four books: The Gathering, The Ends of the Earth, The Quivering Roadway & Please, Like Me. Two of these volumes were from Black Sparrow Press, a “big” small press publisher that aimed to be more to be like New Directions or City Lights than, say, White Rabbit or Oyez.

To read more, pick up the 9th volume of the Grand Piano.


1. Nor did this prove to be my only important discovery that evening. Hitchhiking back to my apartment by Lake Merrit in Oakland, I caught a ride with someone who recognized me from the reading—David Melnick. Forty-one years later, I’m actively involved in editing the collected works of both Davids.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Today, 7:00pm

Living in Advance:
A Tribute to
David Bromige
with Charles Bernstein, Corina Copp, Rachel Levitsky,
Daniel Nohejl, Bob Perelman, Nick Piombino,
Ron Silliman, Gary Sullivan, Geoffrey Young & Others


Poets House | 10 River Terrace | New York, NY 10282
(212) 431-7920 |

Cosponsored by the Poetry Project

Admission Free

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Friday, October 16, 7:00pm

Living in Advance:
A Tribute to
David Bromige
with Charles Bernstein, Corina Copp, Rachel Levitsky,
Daniel Nohejl, Bob Perelman, Nick Piombino,
Ron Silliman, Gary Sullivan, Geoffrey Young & Others


Poets House | 10 River Terrace | New York, NY 10282
(212) 431-7920 |

Cosponsored by the Poetry Project

Admission Free

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

KRCB-FM’s Tribute to David Bromige

August 26, 2009  
7:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time

Katherine Hastings presents a one-hour tribute to the late poet David Bromige. The author of dozens of books and the recipient of many literary honors, David Bromige was also a former Poet Laureate of Sonoma County, a professor at Sonoma State University, and a mentor to many. His experimental style and sharp wit translated to a large collection of work so varied that the poems could easily be mistaken as the work of many. Born in London in 1933, Bromige died in Sebastopol in June of this year. Participating in tonight's program will be his wife, Cecelia Belle, their daughter, Margaret, and others. Recordings of Bromige reading his work will also be featured.

 To listen to the program:

 1) Tune in to KRCB 91.1 FM

2) Stream live at

3) iTunes:Go to Radio/Public/KRCB

4) Comcast Cable TV, Santa Rosa, Channel 961

Saturday, July 04, 2009

In the 14 years and two months since we – my wife, my then-three-year-old sons & I – first moved to Pennsylvania, there have really been just two moments when it felt like hell to be so distant from the Bay Area. The first occurred early in 1996, still in the depths of our first real winter here, when Larry Eigner died. The second will be this Sunday, when there will be a memorial service for David Bromige at Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastapol from 1:00 to 4:30 pm (further details, with map, behind that link).

David was like an older brother to me, tho looking at those dates above I realize that he is closer to my parents’ age – six years younger than my dad, seven than my mother – than he is to mine. There is nothing I have written in the 41 years since I first met him that doesn’t have some tinge of his influence about it somewhere, even to my use of ampersands or the spelling of tho at the beginning of this paragraph, a last nod to what I once heard David call Robert Duncan Spelling, tho Duncan got it from Pound as Pound did from Blake, etc., an acknowledgement of the changeable and personal dimensions of language. And of a heritage that reaches back centuries, to the days when Shaxberd cld spell his name any way he damn pleased. Or pleas’d. Or pleasd.

When the first issue of This came out in 1971, David had already published six books. David never once played the “I’m the older poet” card with us youngsters, and if he could easily have garnered more fame had he just stayed what he had been in his youth – the heir apparent to whole SF Renaissance scene – he moved on from that with no sign of a second thought. His first appearance in This, in its third issues in 1972, was a far cry from the circuitous sentences & magesterial line breaks that had characterized his earlier books. Instead, he presented a series of six works from a larger (and I believe otherwise unpublished) project called “Homage to N. Rosenthal.” One piece was a single word: prettier. Two others were works of a single line, including the epic Get off my tits. One was a couplet as complex & mysterious as any two-line work I’ve ever read:

light work but
dear materials

You have to hear how that couplet opens & closes around the liquids of the two els that bracket this work to appreciate just how fine David’s ear could be. At one level, this poem might be read as being “about” writing, but at another, deeper level, it’s a celebration of the a sounds in its second line. Nor is the vowel sequence of the first – i, o, u – any less exquisite. Ditto the way hard consonants shut each one-syllable word of the first line, yet appear just twice – at the opening of dear and within materials.¹ David makes this look / sound effortless, but clearly it’s not. It’s a compression of formal detail at a level of force a new formalist, so-called, couldn’t even imagine. Just two years after Melnick & I weren’t sufficiently courageous to gamble on Robert Grenier in the Chicago Review, this couplet shows that David’s not only reading Grenier, but thoroughly gets it, to a degree that would take some of us (me, for example) several years still.

I think David held his relationship to what was soon to be known as language poetry every bit as lightly he did his relation to the New American Poetry. What was interesting about this new work evolving in San Francisco interested him; whatever he found tedious, was easily ignored. When his doctoral committee at Berkeley balked at the first draft of his dissertation – it wasn’t sufficiently tailored to the MLA idea of prose – David decided that it was the degree itself that was unnecessary. He had what he needed to stay at Sonoma State & he’d done the thinking that was the actual core of the project. The rest ultimately was unimportant. As I think the many statements that can be read at the David Bromige website his son Chris has put up make clear, teaching for David was really about his students. He showed no interest in using the position to build a power base or an institution.

David had two gifts that stuck with him throughout his life. First, he had the best sense of the tension between line or linebreak & the sentence of any writer I have read. He might have learned this from Duncan, Creeley & Olson, but it was something he took deeper than any of his masters. Which may be why, when he started producing the little prose poems of Tight Corners & What’s Around Them, many of his devoted readers gasped. For the master of the line to forego his most powerful tool underscored just how serious he was about moving on as a poet.

Bromige’s second gift was that he was the finest reader I’ve ever heard. His voice, a warm baritone, combined with an accent that held equal measures of his childhood in Britain, his young adulthood in British Columbia & his life as an American. As I told Carolyn Jones of the Chronicle the other day, listening to David gave you a sense of what Dickens might have sounded like as a post-avant poet. But a Dickens tempered with the likes of Louis Dudek, Fred Wah, Robert Creeley & just possibly some American noir slang as well. You can hear a number of his East Coast readings on PennSound, but for me the archetypal Bromige events were always the ones in the Bay Area where David might know as much as 75% of the audience personally. David’s give & take with the audience between poems was as much a part of his presence as the poems themselves. All I have to do to hear David at his best, is just to think of them – they’re quite etched in my imagination, going all the way back to the reading at the Albany Public Library in 1968 where I first heard David, reading with Harvey Bialy & introduced by Paul Mariah. David Perry, a Bard grad & acolyte of Robert Kelly who was a fellow student of mine at San Francisco State, had coaxed me out to that event so that I could hear Bialy, who was fine. But it was the other reader, with this not quite British, not quite placeable accent, with this resonant voice & fine wit, who flat out blew me away. 41 years later, that remains one of the most eventful readings in my life.²

So this Sunday, starting at 1:00 PM Pacific Time, I will be turning my heart & my thoughts toward Sebastapol & toward the great gift that was David Bromige and to the people who loved him.


¹ Really at the start of the second syllable, a “soft” echo of the d in dear, the t serves almost as a pause to set up the flourish of the couplet’s final phonemes.

² Hitchhiking on my way home afterward that night, I got a ride with another of the event’s attendees, one David Melnick, who has likewise turned into a lifelong friend & influence.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Trailer for a documentary on David Bromige by James Garrahan

Monday, November 04, 2002

David Bromige & New Zealand poet & book dealer Richard Taylor have been discussing the relative value of some of David’s books in the rare book market on the Poetics Listserv. It made me think of the path mapped out by the early Bromige, volumes that I still consider indispensable, but which have become hard to find. The list that follows is not exhaustive. But what matters to me personally is the absolute logic of his journey, as articulate a personal history of the evolution of poetry from the 1960s to the 1980s as has been written.

The Gathering (Buffalo, Sumbooks, 1965). My copy of Bromige’s first book has turned almost unimaginably dark with oxidation, worse even than Wieners’ Hotel Wentley Poems (which is seven years older). The Gathering shows a still-Canadian Bromige moving under the spell of the Projectivists, a consequence of the first Vancouver poetry conference and his friends at the magazine Tish. Published by another Canadian with a strong interest in the New American Poetry, Fred Wah. Bromige already shows the great wit & care for which he will become known, as evidenced by the first line break in the title poem:

Picking mushrooms out of a horse
pasture, evening, seemingly
none when we first look, then
one, a dozen, luck turns or they
grow, youd swear, at the turn of a back –

The Ends of the Earth (Los Angeles, Black Sparrow, 1968). Bromige’s one true Projectivist volume, written while in graduate school at Berkeley, he is already pushing the received formalism of this tendency, mostly with an ear almost perfect in its capacity to make distinctions. Here is the first stanza of “First”:

One aches to know
one fact as axiom
to act. Whatever I do
I die
as you
also at times doubt
the beneficence of the inevitable
Earth-bound as one is.

The work in this volume is what Bromige was writing when I first saw him read with Harvey Bialy in the Albany Public Library Series (the same reading where I was to meet David Melnick while hitch-hiking back to Oakland). I remember being filled with envy at Bromige’s ability to combine the demands of both the sentence & line together like that – and I still am. This is a slender book, especially for Black Sparrow, with just 56 pages, but there are several poems here, in addition to the one cited above, that are among the very best I have ever read: “A Final Mission,” “Weight Less Than the Shadow,” and “Forgets Five.” If Bromige had never written another word after this, he still would have been one of the great poets of the 20th century.

Threads (Los Angeles: Black Sparrow, 1971). This is a more complex & larger book, difficult precisely because Bromige is straining against / struggling with the limits of Projectivism. In retrospect, the most important poems in this volume are among its very shortest, such as “Precept”:

I’ve helped you in the past
Okay, go ahead, help me in the past again

It seems like a wise crack – & at one level that’s exactly what it is – but at its core, Bromige’s poetry is starting to look at the role of logic & its relation to both meaning & syntax. It was only today (after having owned this book for 31 years) that it dawned on me that the other major influence at that first Vancouver shindig besides the Black Mountaineers was of course Spicer & his circle, Spicer being pre-eminently a poet of consciously contradictory logics. If Spicer’s relation to much of the New American Poetry was as its guilty conscience (implying always that “language is not the solution you think it to be”), Threads represents a book in which that same nagging whisper has started to emerge.

Birds of the West (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1973). The exceptionally thick cover of this book has always made it a hard one to handle – you are forced to choose between opening the pages slightly or else breaking the binding. My binding is still intact. Because Birds of the West was distributed more actively in Canada than in the U.S., this book seems not to have had the influence on this side of the border that it warranted. Bromige is continuing to work through the same issues as in Threads, but in a far more relaxed, less anxious fashion. Especially wonderful is the long section of short pieces entitled “The White-Tailed Kite” which begins to approach langpo in rather the same way that Creeley’s Pieces could be said to have done. Also of great interest here is the afterword, “Proofs,” a sensible & insightful assessment of Bromige’s processes as a poet.

Tight Corners & What’s Around Them: Prose & Poems (Los Angeles: Black Sparrow, 1974). Subtitled (being the brief & endless adventures of some pronouns in the sentences of 1972-73). Tight Corners is a book that could seen as documenting the move from Projectivism to langpo, although I don’t think many people recognized it as such at the time. The volume begins with one of Bromige’s finest poems “in the old style,” “They Are Eyes.” But soon, interspersed with these poems, the short prose pieces called “Tight Corners” overtake the text. Each figured in the text with a graphic symbol (roughly ┌) that hovers just to the left of the first letter, these pieces are constructed almost entirely through the syllogistic connections of a disruptive sense of logic, sort of Frege as rewritten by Lenny Bruce:

Faceless Fussduck put away his dry revolver. The closet was wet.

As the title of the book suggests, Tight Corners is obsessed with the connections between things & the possibility of altering direction (a process that at a  line “break” is called “verse”) while in motion. This will be Bromige’s last large collection of new work for six years.*

My Poetry (Berkeley: The Figures, 1980). One of the masterworks of poetry – there is not a single false move in its 98 pages (nor in the 99th, “My Palaver,” a poem that gently parodies the various notes & dedications Bromige has been using ever since The Ends of the Earth). Picking it up is, for me, an experience not unlike holding a copy of Sgt. Pepper or Highway 61 Revisited. This book as a whole is very much like a symphony, carefully executed. After the initial title piece, a mock review of his own poetic past taken in part from seriously transformed versions of real reviews, Bromige proceeds with “Six of One, Half-a-Dozen of the Other,” a reprinting of seven of his better known poems, each paired with a discussion, halfway between a memoir & a critical unpacking, of each. The echo of Jack Spicer’s “Homage to Creeley,” from After Lorca, but with Bromige having turned the prose on its edge in utter seriousness (or such as Bromige’s irrepressible wit can commit). The third section contains four poems in a “new” mode. The first, “Our Tongues,” turns Projectivism on its head, right side up, a prose poem that discusses the organ of speech ranging from neomedical physical description to comic “how to” instruction. This section takes its title from the second piece, “An American Heritage History,” a long, skinny (3 columns to the page to underscore the point) piece, perhaps what you might expect if Ted Berrigan had happened to write one of the middle sections of Zukofsky’s “A.” The third piece, “Authority,” is Oulipudlian in its impulses – two of its five sections only use words beginning with “a.” The fourth piece, “One Spring,” is one of Bromige’s most famous works, a long, luxurious d├ętournement taken entirely from language lifted from the local newspaper over a season. The next section of the book is a series of seven works, including a reasonably straightforward “torture poem” intended to be read at political occasions, the previously published “Credences of Winter,” and a delightful & daft play whose eight speakers include istorian, aspirant, objectist, anthony abstract, one more authentic voice, love poet, chainsaw jack and I. Speakes. After the play comes what might best be called a short story, although it occupies that middle space that is neither story nor poem exactly but both, then a prose poem, “By Visible Truh We Mean the Apprehension of the Absolute Condition of Present Things,” that I included in the critical “Second Front” section of In the American Tree, and finally two more prose pieces, “My Career” & “My Plan” that are from the same series that the title poem (& the afterword) were also taken.** Finally, Bromige closes with “Hieratics: A Triptych,” which, tellingly enough, is in five parts numbered 0 – 4. A prose poem with a sense for overall surface texture – I don’t think it can be successfully quoted here – that is as strong in tone as Bromige’s earlier works were in their fabulous push-pull between sentence & line, “Hieratics” perhaps points most clearly to the later work, which is the writing that perhaps today is best known of Bromige’s work.

Many of the poems, from My Poetry & the other early books, can be found in Desire, the 1988 Western States Book Award volume from Black Sparrow, but not in the same order. And not in the same order means not as part of the same evolving literary narrative as the earlier books themselves articulated. For example, one finds “Hieractics,” but not “One Spring” or “My Poetry,” nor is extraordinary sense of occasion that was My Poetry available through a selected, any more than one can grasp the full import of Williams’ Spring & All from the poems printed in Williams’ Collected.

Only 650 copies of My Poetry were ever produced, in spite of the lush Francie Shaw cover that suggests to my eye a much larger printing. Only three copies are available through abebooks, the website for rare and used books. The same site currently shows seven copies available of The Gathering, 15 of The Ends of the Earth, eight for Birds of the West. These are among the treasures of our literary heritage and, as a group, an essential collection for the history of writing.

* There is, during this period, a selected, Ten Years in the Making, which is typed rather than typeset but which includes two dozen otherwise uncollected pieces; plus some smaller items, such as Three Stories, Out of My Hands and Credences of Winter, all chapbooks from Black Sparrow; a slightly larger collection Spells and Blessings from Talonbooks that I’ve never seen; a collection of songs written with Barry Gifford & Paul DeBarros, also something I’ve never seen.

** That section of this series turn up in different places, to different effect, within My Poetry is characteristic of Bromige’s approach to his work. My only complaint about this book is that it failed to include my personal favorite of the “My” works, one with a curious title I recall as “Glurk.”

Thursday, October 03, 2002

O for Opacity:
I have been devouring the poetry of David Bromige with interest ever since I first went to hear him read with Harvey Bialy in 1968 at the Albany Public Library, a series curated by Manroot editor Paul Mariah. Having gotten to know the man and his work reasonably well in the ensuing 34 years, one might think I would not be surprised the nature of any new book by the British-born, Canadian raised author. One would be wrong.
As in T as in Tether (Chax, 2002) shows yet a new side to the bard of Sebastapol* as this master of erudition turns instead to mount arguments so densely packed as to resist yielding beyond the surface domains of the signifier. It's hardly accidental. The book, which I've thus far only partly completed (and am reading most slowly because I don't want it to ever end), is composed of four sections, the first subdivided into five sections, the remaining three each containing 16. The poems in the last three sections are numbered 1 through 15: each section contains one poem numbered 7.5. Of the 53 sections or pieces, only one (to which I have not yet gotten) is in a format other than the centered stanzas that we have most recently come to associate with the poetry of a very different Bay Area writer, Michael McClure.
Bromige announces the language as signifier theme in the first of the four sections, which the first piece proposes as an alphabet, literally:
A as in alphabet
B as in baffled
C as in congress
D as in delicate
E as in elephant
F as in fornicate
G as in grass
H as in hands-on
I as in idiot
J as in jouissance
The arbitrariness of the logic of the assignment of meaning is never more brutal than in the "obviousness" of any children's alphabet book, and gradually the poems in the first section turn up the heat:
P as in elocute
O as in excitement
N as in Z
M as in breast
L as in party
K as in Whitman
The second section, "Initializing,"** is by far the most dense, reminiscent almost of Jeremy Prynne's work, as in this excerpt from "To a Drawing Board (2)":
Slate roof drive impel
Hot brown register
Clever-fingered want to fall
Bird-nose valentine
Seizes rainy day
As long as you're there
Reclination monkey
So close as to shut
The trap is studded
Not this the lost access
To a final run
Then, gradually, the text opens up again almost as though it were a natural process that was being observed. Observe how, in the final piece in the second section, "Stands the Pencil on its Point," Bromige permits sound to gradually organize the ongoing text, which in fact arrives at a moment of absolute lucidity:
Lists supplicants
Names the soul
Whereon one stands
Church clock at ten to three
Mentions mellitus
Orders weight be brought
As if to tea or table
Stranger amendment
Checks off by fives
Hot bodies in a hayloft
Combustion baby
Lists pains
Plants punishments
Options death or drunkenness
Insists that choice
Opens in the voice who
Utters numbering
Halfdone figured
Criminal reform
Grants immunity
From mortal
Upshot o love
Pen is sans relation
To its neighbor pencil
Feathers and lead
Islets of almost
Life's no narration
Mentions isolation
Subordinates particulars
Up against the insulation
Poised on the links
Hands touch the keys
Print finish or begin
Write meet again
The process begins almost inaudibly with "Lists pains," that first p starting a run of three, the latter two of which end on the same ts as "lists," the word called up again in the echo of "insists" followed finally by that clearest of indicators, the rhyme betwixt "choice" & "voice." One can follow these details through the sly exploitation of Latinate endings right to the end of the text with its remarkable equation of "Write" with "meet," the role of the poem that absolute confrontation with a reader (who might also be oneself).
The use of centered lines mutes variations in line length, since the longer ones literally "stick out" less by moving out in both directions***. But what I think Bromige is ultimately after here is maximizing the verticality of the language experience, the way in each line does function as though it were a phrase flashing ever so briefly on an LCD screen. Writing/Meeting is exactly what this book is about. Tether is a thrilling, challenging & occasionally sad work, the poet confronting how the body, particularly one that has long battled diabetes, tethers the soul. It's one of those books that lets you see poetry responding to its highest calling. We have far too few of these.

* & current poet laureate of Sonoma Country, steering one hopes a solid middle course betwixt the nonsense of Mr. Collins and that of Mr. Baraka.
** The second, third and fourth sections, "Initializing," "Establishing" and "Authenticizing" derive their names from the stages of Bromige's computer's process of booting up.
 *** Bromige alludes to the “spine” of the text, a spatialization of the left margin (and one that suggests that a poem “faces forward” when centered, and is viewed “in profile” when left as that normative left column).