I grew up in what can be described as a troubled house. I took flight in books. I became the reader, as Wallace Stevens wrote; I became the book.
When a child, I stole to buy books: Mill on the Floss, Crime and Punishment. Signet, Fawcett on Woolworth racks. I haunted the dim stacks of libraries, which I would replicate as an adult in a compulsion to escape.
The book came to mean movement, if not of the body, then of the mind. The inviolate curve of a book’s pages suggests a seagull’s wings which “shall dip and pivot him.” Like Hart Crane, I was lifted up and out.
I became a poet and a scholar.
When I first saw the stock photo chosen by Alex Garcia for this site, I was reminded of Boston Ballet’s performance of John Neumeier’s Third Symphony of Gustave Mahler. In its final movement, the company’s men raise their partners to their shoulders where, arms outstretched, they soar. An open book releases the soul.