Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Dear S ~,

Do have S send me her new book of poems, if you can both afford such a gesture, and I'll be sure to send you something new in return. The rites of a real Spring. Excited to learn of this for S. Readings off the island. If you and I ever get to have the chance to do a public reading I hope we can read on a pathway on the island, and whoever shows up by luck, happenstance, or plan, this will be who we read to. The years I read on the street raising money for Hurricane Katrina relief, and inviting Greg Joly to join (about the only one who would steer with my all outdoor, anonymous scheme) was exactly this way. Most who walked by thought we must be "religious." We answered, "Well, a religion of a sort."

You may not be inhabiting the new place but by all photographs you are making it your own. Slow and steady and sure work. It will be left for someone after you are done with it. Can a building have a finer life? Who knows where this fine door you are pressing together in cuts and strong angles will finally end up. In Vermont? Nantucket? Paris? Doors get around. I used one once in a pinch for a snow plow.

The past two weeks we have watched all our snow go into the ground and go away in the river. The river has been running like an emerald we haven't seen for years.

I've been every day with renovation work on the faraway cottage. I'm not sure I even had that built yet when you both visited? Built in 2000. Then the studio in 2002. The renovations in the cottage are all bookshop related since the whole building has been taken up with the book trade. Same with the studio; in fact, same with the house. So I've been building floor to ceiling bookcases and circling the room with these all downstairs. Not a space left free from bookcase — around all the windows, and there are many windows I put in since there is no electricity. Over and around the dutch door I built once upon a time. It's a spooky place to be in at the dead of winter, early morning, snowshoeing up there to retrieve books with a flashlight. It was organic and flavored by luck before we finally gave up with the stacks and mounds and table top piles of books and decided: enough! build those bookcases before the books take over. They had "take-over" written all over the dustjackets.

Since sugaring was very poor, mud season was very light, at least on our road. That's the usual m.o. While other dirt roads have been closed. A very cold March. The frost eased out of the ground gradually but the days weren't warm and nights cold for the sap to flow. It stayed only cold, often bitter. During that time an artist I have yet to meet in northern Vermont sent me a sheaf of his sugar bush drawings and wondered if I had any poems to go with them? I didn't, but I had a bad case of the flu, down for the count for a few days and over that time I wrote the poems and made the book for him and me. Never did that before! Couldn't again! Coming out May Day. One way or another we'll get a sugaring year out of 2014.

It was 75 degrees yesterday, sleeves rolled up. Today they say we may see snowflurries. Check that — a snowfall.
all's well, Bob 

photo © bob arnold