16. HIVES. Lenox, MA: United Artists Books, 1979. 8½x11" 44 pages. (P)
Mimeo, side-stapled. Black-and-white cover by Rosemary Mayer. Blue endpaper between cover and title page. Printed recto only. 500 copies.
“Hives was one of a series of long poems that I wrote in Lenox. Each poem was ‘about’ something else. This poem, for instance, is ‘about’ beekeeping, and the habits of bees. The Lenox Library was just up the street and Bernadette and I went there every day for the three years that we lived in the center of town. We took the children and they learned to walk in the library garden. I would take out four or five books on the same subject and write a kind of eccentric gloss, creating little clusters of language, dividing the poem into sections with roman numerals. I began to have ideas about writing poetry, as opposed to just writing poems, influenced by Bernadette, I’m sure, who was always having a million conceptual ideas, and was always experimenting with new forms. She, in turn, became more of a lyrical/personal poet during this time, so our symbiosis—if that’s the right word—was totally reciprocal, and much of our time in Lenox (when the children were asleep) we worked feverishly on our new projects. The winters were particularly harsh during the years we lived there and some days we never left the house. When we did go, we went to the library and the bookstore just around the corner. Everything we needed was a few steps away. I spent hours of my life in this library looking for new source material. (See Bernadette’s Midwinter Day for the best picture of what our life was like during this time.)” (LW)