Absolutely Enchanting

Chapbook Number 3 of the Poets of Le Metro Series is Ten Thousand Reflections by Spencer Holst.  I knew nothing about Holst before spending a few minutes with his work in my sun filled bedroom on an unseasonable warm October afternoon.  In those few moments, time stopped and I was completely enchanted by what strikes me as a perfect gem of a book.  Holst was a legendary storyteller famous in New York City for his spellbinding renditions of his short, short stories, described as a cross between Kafka and Hans Christian Andersen.  He must have read at Le Metro at some point and Saxon asked him to preserve one of his stories for his chapbook series.  Unlike the first two chapbooks, which used a typewriter, here the text is in Holst's handwriting. Daniel Kane in All Poets Welcome discusses Saxon's magazines in terms of the various effects conveyed by poets handwriting the poems for publication.  For example, a sound in a word can be emphasized by making an "O" larger than the rest of a word.  These effects mean a lot if you are trying to preserve a poetry reading in print.  I did not notice anything of that nature in Ten Thousand Reflections but the experience of reading the story in Holst's own handwriting was intensely personal and intimate.  It was like he was reading directly to you.  Apparently, Holst did some work with calligraphy so presenting this story via handwriting seems right to me on that score as well.  The story has to be under 500 words, and the chapbook ends with a pasted in drawing by Beate Wheeler, Holst's wife, who he met in the Village in 1959.  Again a nice touch by Saxon.  A wonderful surprise on an otherwise uneventful Sunday afternoon.



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