Monday, November 30, 2020



P O E T S     W H O     S L E E P


                                           drawn & scribed by Bob Arnold

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Friday, November 27, 2020




— Finlay’s work, both as a poet and as a visual artist, is deeply traditional, in that it depends upon elements drawn from the whole history of Western culture; at the same time, it is deeply experimental, in that the deployment of these elements takes place in ways that are new, unexpected, and demanding. The method of reading each poem is not explained in advance by poetic conventions: it has to be intuited from the form presented by each individual poem.

                                                — Stephen Scobie


A wonderful glimpse of Finlay's correspondence
with a number of poets, including Robert Creeley,
Gael Turnbull, Ronald Johnson, Louis Zukofsky
and the editor of this volume Thomas A. Clark
on poetry and making. Finlay 1964:
"I am now very interested in the idea of using
poetry in architecture, and have designed poems for
large sheets of glass, and for the outsides of houses. . .though 
none of these projects have yet been realised. I am
sure they will, though, one day. I am also very
interested in toys — not for children, though,
but as pure objects. . .with simple shapes,
in bright colours. I would like to do many things,
when there is the opportunity."

There is a spirit here in Ian that only the birds know.

[ BA ]

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Wednesday, November 25, 2020



                      . . . at the river i stand,
                      guide my feet, hold my hand

i was raised

on the shore

of lake erie

e is for escape

there are more s'es

in mississippi

than my mother had


this river never knew

the kingdom of dahomey

the first s

begins in slavery

and ends in y

on the bluffs

of memphis

why are you here

the river wonders

northern born

looking across buffalo

you look into canada toronto

is the name of the lights

burning at night

the bottom of memphis

drops into the nightmare

of a little girl's fear

in fifteen minutes

they could be here

i could be there


not the river the state


and chaney

and goodman



and cheney

and goodman

and medgar

my mother had one son

he died gently near lake erie

some rivers flow back

toward the beginning

i never learned to swim

will i float or drown

in this mississippi

on the mississippi river

what is this southland

what has this to do with egypt

or dahomey

or with me

so many questions

northern born


Was it ten years ago now, or longer?
when Greg Joly and I read on the streets
to earn money for Katrina Relief, and this was
a poem I liked to read, and Greg had poems he
was ready to read and sometimes a brave soul
wandered across the street from the bar, plied
on some juice and he wanted to read, he didn't
care what. We let him. And Jim Koller came down
from Maine and read Ferlinghetti and Louise Landes Levi
stood in the December cold day and read with me and then
we went out with Susan and had hot Korean soup.
Lucille Clifton long ago came to Brattleboro and read
upstairs in the library and she was friendly vicious.
One of the finest readings I ever heard.

[ BA ]

Lucille Clifton
Blessing the Boats
New and Selected Poems
BOA Editions

Monday, November 23, 2020



P O E T S     W H O     S L E E P


                                           drawn & scribed by Bob Arnold

Sunday, November 22, 2020


My Mom

Penny Arnold

Belfast, Northern Ireland, 6 January 1928 ~ Naples, Florida, 22 November, 2020   

Susan and I love that photograph of Mom, fully Ireland. There are no stonewalls anywhere in the world like the Irish ones. The Germans and Swiss have their own style, so do the Italians and certainly the Chinese (The Great Wall!) and Vermont has them as well and I’ve built plenty of them. But the Irish wall seems most in play not quite finished, as if the wall builder has gone off for a pint, or a smoke, or is visiting, and the walls wait there, centuries, for a completion and one will never come. Ireland ever growing. Very organic walls.

[ BA ]

On Raglan Road, The Dubliners
(Patrick Kavanagh)




The first time I read this little powerhouse engine

of a book I clearly had no idea what I was doing here —

I simply read the book with pleasure, but there is

no pleasure here (though there is), it's a workout,

and so for the second reading I spent two weeks

reading its railroad line 132 pages.

It may as well be 132 miles.

Never a slog. You won't believe

how well this writer will airlift you.

The third book in a straight line reading

I did over a month starting with Murnane, then Inger Christensen

and finishing with Hemingway, where I went from

A Moveable Feast straight back into the

short stories from Up In Michigan (which Stein disliked)

and then not messing around to The Big Two-Hearted River

(Kent and I believe the greatest fishing story ever written).

An onion sandwich, dipped in river water.

[ BA ]

Farrar, Straus, Giroux


Friday, November 20, 2020


"When God put His mouth to the nostrils of Adam,
there was probably opium on His breath."

Nick Tosches

Bloomsbury, 2002

In our early days of bookselling, Nick Tosches
would call up by phone and purchase books
or magazines from us. The lone wolf.
 Our 17 year old son of the time once took a call
while we were away, he still speaks of it.

[ BA ]

Thursday, November 19, 2020


If there's one crime novel Jim Thompson
could have written, and it would have been
one of his best, but he didn't, because Elliot Chaze did,
it's the rough & tumble Black Wings Has My Angel ~
reissued by the literary godmothers and godfathers
of The New York Review of Books after it
was first published as a pulp from
 Gold Medal Books in 1953
smack dab in the Jim Thompson era.
It's an armored car heist.
There's a bad boy and a bad girl.
What are you waiting for?

[ BA ]