21. INFORMATION FROM THE SURFACE OF VENUS. New York, NY: United Artists, 1987. 5½x8" 112 pages. (P)
Offset, smyth-sewn paperback. Black-and-white cover by Louise Hamlin. Typeset by Maureen Newmeyer. Poems 1976–’82.
“I published this book myself. I wanted to get these poems out of the way, into a book. Some of the poems were written in Lenox, a few in Henniker, New Hampshire, where I lived for a year, but most of them were written in New York. The poems are very dense, but some of my favorite poems are in this book, including the end poem, ‘Korean Love Song,’ which I wrote in the voice of a Korean woman in a nearby grocery, trying to imagine what her life might be like, and a poem called ‘4/13/79’ which I remember magically appearing in a few hours out of my typewriter. I was constantly trying to work things out, and this book is like a workbook or a kind of transition, between points A and K, or between the sides of things that you could never touch, or get close to. I don’t know if I ever came out the other end of what this book was about. My life was utterly up in the air, but this book is less melancholic than some of my other books. I was teaching, I was taking care of my kids, I was falling in and out of love, I was making new friends and watching some old friendships dissolve. But I also felt unmoored, unsure of what was ever going to happen next. I was living in a tiny apartment on Clinton Street in Manhattan; eventually, around the time this book came out, I moved to a much larger place in Park Slope, a first floor apartment with a garden, no less, and a covered porch, so you could actually sit out there and read and watch the rain. For a while I felt settled there. Children and teaching were high priorities. The book is dedicated to Marie, Sophia and Max.” (LW)