Wednesday, July 15, 2009


It seems fitting (though personally irritating) that I've been tutoring Michael in math for nearly two months now. Math was never my forte, but I guess I know more (barely) than someone who barely knew subtraction before Moi entered his life. His forthcoming 7th grade's math focus will be pre-algebra.

"Pre-algebra" -- now, that's yet another of those words that literally is unnecessary, ain't it. Poetry teaches that all of Life is inherently algebraic.

In any event...and relatedly, I've been working on finalizing the manuscript for my next book Footnotes to Algebra. As its subtitle will indicate, it collects together "uncollected poems" from 1995-2009 ("uncollected" meaning poems not previously published in earlier books). As I wrote before, this book swiftly jelled after its conceptualization. Which is to say, the book's organization lacks much of the mulling over and editing that often creates a poetry collection as one considers which poem "fits" or not.

But the fast approach (akin to my beloved first draft, last draft) was purposeful. I wanted to test my faith in algebraic affinity -- that these poems would cohere beyond any deliberate organization on my part...just because that's what poems do.

In Poetry, I've found that Faith is always rewarded. I like the book that's come out of this process and hope you will too as it will come out soon. Meanwhile, here's a look at my drafted front cover:

Thanks to book designer Geoffrey Gatza. As for the cover image, this is the acknowledgements for it--thanks John!:
"...a tattoo on the arm of John Bloomberg-Rissman entitled “Secret Life of Angelus Novus (Skinglyph/Twombly View) (Tatt #1)”. A photograph of the tattoo is part of the anthology 1000 Views of “Girl Singing” (Leafe Press, U.K., 2009) featuring responses to, or translations of, Eileen R. Tabios’ poem “The Secret Life of An Angel.” The tattooed text is from Walter Benjamin’s “Über den Begriff der Geschichte” (“On the Concept of History”), Thesis 9. The background is a detail from Cy Twombly’s painting Autunno (no. III of his Quattro Stagioni), taken from the cover of the catalogue to an exhibition at the Tate Modern.

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