On the Trail of Messages – poems

Published in the later 1970s, after SEASONS, and limited to 500 copies, (a printing double the size my first volume…but still very much in the small press realm) – my second collection of poems was linotyped in 12 point Caledonia on Strathmore Ticonderoga Text, polar white with matching, handmade covers and Grandee endpapers. The cover graphic is by Edward (Ted) Harper, co-worker, sandwich-maker, and comrade of publisher Tom Bridwell. The book was printed and sewn at Salt-Works press in Dennis, Massachusetts.

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By this time, my terrain had widened; I was sending out manuscripts accompanied by stamped, self-addressed envelopes (remember them?) and, lo and behold, getting poems and translations accepted into a hodge-podge of exotic literary and “little” magazines such as Bitter Oleander, Cape Rock, CutBank, Glassworks, On Turtle’s Back, Tuatara, Ordinary, etc. I still have copies of these and countless others in my study, and gaze at them on occasion, wondering, “Where are they now…?”

Leafing through the impeccably-rendered pages, I understand that my poems have emanated from a place of burgeoning imagination. I see concision and imagery, heightened coloration, human feeling, and grasp of essential moments. There are translations from the French poetry of Jean Mambrino and Simone Weil at the conclusion of this book, reminding me of my passion for that language…that I only managed three trips to Paris, shrouded, today, in the aroma of café au lait and the fumes of papier mais Gauloises. – N.B.

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