Dies Mirabilis

Posted on March 29, 2010

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Last Friday I received three printed copies of a book I had finished writing 13 or 14 years ago (cannot quite recollect now exactly how long ago). A review came out on it (based on proof pages) in 1999 in The Prose Poem: An International Journal. I remember correcting another set of proofs while flying to Romania in September 2000 to adopt our son. Since that time I’ve written (and had published) two other collections of prose poetry. I looked on this book as the prodigal — lost and never to come back home. If someone ever asked about it, I’d try to change the topic, preferring to not think of the wait, the anticipation, the hope…

But good things come to those who wait, and who have some faith, some hope. Those sixty-four prose poems — each one based on a different hexagram from the I Ching — have now a beautiful physical manifestation. Set in metal type (Goudy Handtooled and Goudy Old Style), printed on a letterset press (text in three colors — one color for the hexagram, another for the title and another for the text, with multi-colored artwork) and hand-bound, it is an exquisite artifact. When I hold it, and think about the process and the wait, I’m overwhelmed. Ed Rayher, at his Swamp Press, has done an exceptional job. In terms of the old craft of making books, I doubt you will find anyone any better.

The prodigal has come home — and is blinding in its beauty. Good things do come to those who wait. Now I can look to the future with a clear conscience, an unimpinged consciousness, without regret…

In the meantime, my copy of Keith Waldrop’s Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy has arrived, with its Motherwell cover marred by a National Book Award logo I wish were merely a sticker I could remove. I look forward to continue wondering at my Who Lets Go First and I look forward to reading the trilogy, especially since I used a roughly similar methodology in assembling the “Aid” section to my latest book Aid & A_Bet.

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