A Series of Small Boxes
Thomas Devaney is a brilliant poet. He writes of life and life lived in such precise ways while not forgetting stamps and refrigerator boxes from childhood. I discovered his poetry also through the June issue of the Believer. The review offered a few lines of the title poem, A Series of Small Boxes (which you can read in full here). After reading those lines I knew I needed this book. While the title poem is still my favorite many gems and brilliant lines linger throughout the entire book. He even writes about Nothing in a well-informed wrestling with John Cage. The fabulous photographer Zoe Strauss, whose work I saw at the Whitney a few years ago, even took his photograph for the back jacket.
1- "Which I also love in a way one can love
A City one has loved and been loved in
Because it enters you, in a way, as you walk,
Buy stamps, tell time..."
3- "Does silence have to mean a lack of silence?"
4- eyes, saying hello
6- "Is this what 'half' looks like?"
8- "all those times we never kept meeting"
10-12- A Series of Small Boxes
12- "corrugated magic"
13- "Clouds replace the clouds."
22- WE STILL REFOLD MAPS
23- "New Jersey is the greatest poem never written."
35- "Birdwatchers had nothing on what the birds saw."
39- "The most remarkable love poems in the world have nothing to do with it."
-"The calm, late-night companionship of a book.
Assured in words not to be reassured in words.
No promises past the page only all the moment can hold."
41- One Hour, October
43- "Like records when they were records and letters letters."
54- "Everything I had to say I didn't need to say."
55- John Cage
-"the Wallace Stevens line: 'Nothing that is not there and nothing that is"
-"Nothing + Nothing = Something, that is 'Nothing' which is really something," I said not knowing where that came from.
-"Here is a line for not talking, which isn't silence"
56- "I am only describing, as words are one way, and walking is another."
-"new John Cages get added"