32. THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD. Berkeley, CA: Creative Arts Book Company, 2001. 5½x8½" 104 pages. (P)
Offset, smyth-sewn paperback. Full-color cover art by Lewis Warsh, designed by Wayne Pope. Author photo by Katt Lissard. Blurbs from Robert Creeley, John Ashbery and Lyn Hejinian.
“I began writing these fragmented poems—one disembodied line after another—in the late-eighties. Ten years later I had this book—seventeen poems written in that form. Gloria Frym and I were in touch at the time and she offered to show the book to Don Ellis, the publisher of Creative Arts Books, in Berkeley, and that’s how the book happened. I became serious about doing collages in the mid-nineties and decided to use one for the cover. It seems a little busy to me when I look at it these days. I was writing more conventional-looking poems, and then I was writing stories and novels, and this is my attempt at some kind of hybrid work—sentences that morph into lines in a poem, and then back again. The form is completely open-ended and I could work on these poems at any time. There are narrative threads concealed in each poem and there are references to anyone or anything that ever entered my line of vision. That includes, of course, other people’ words, though most of this book is my own, or variations on lines I copied from books. Anything. I scavenged all my reading notebooks, time and again, and also all the old poems that didn’t really work. There was always a line or two in one of those poems that I could use. It’s important to save everything. Anything you write looks different over the passage of time. This book is all about the detritus of everyday life. Each poem is a kind of edifice—brick after brick.” (LW)