neath luna

My book collection did this to me

The title alludes to the purported last words of San Francisco poet Jack Spicer (replace “book collection” with “vocabulary” to retrieve the last words).

Mallarme (another one of them poets) famously said “everything in the world exists to end up as a book,” and he perhaps even more famously tried to write that very book, The Book. He even more more famously failed, of course, but you’ve got to give him credit for trying.

(I give Mallarme a LOT of credit, usually for his resolutely-unclassifiable poem / drama / thing Igitur, which has been ultra-persistent in the way that it has haunted me over the years — but for other things as well.)

Recently it has occurred to me (more often than previously) that I have the enthusiasms I have, and cling to them as desperately as I do, mainly because this gives me an excuse to buy books about them, and have those books about me.

What is this? I am ashamed. Do I not truly intend to learn Ancient Greek, but only have the essential books about Ancient Greek on my shelves, so that one day (as is reported to have been the case with the poet Robert Southey — yeah, the guy Byron made such delicious fun of — in his declining years) I might roam up and down the shelves, taking down volume after volume, and page through them lovingly and without comprehension?

That’s not a good prize.

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