The beautiful new Lime Hawk includes five pieces from my recently-completed series Hygiene in Reading (an earlier piece, “The Gingerbread Method” appeared in Cheap Pop a few months back). The poems featured are “Disjecta Membra,” “Each City and Region For Itself,” “The Thought Reader,” “The Extreme Thrill of Simplicity,” & “Dynamogenesis” (drawn from chapters 8, 16, 17, 22, & 6 in the source text, respectively). I wrote a little bit about the project in that earlier post, but I’ll reproduce the artist’s statement I provided to Lime Hawk here:
Hygiene in Reading is a series of poems sourced only from words appearing in the single chapters of Edmund Burke Huey’s 1908 volume The Psychology and Pedagogy of Reading; With a Review of the History of Reading and Writing and of Methods, Texts, and Hygiene in Reading. That book is a work distantly foundational to my own research, but one that I had never read (or, honestly, even heard of) until recently. I undertook this project as an investigation into the language of talking about reading, writing, and the technologies that enable and undermine them; a rewind to the early days of my field. As I was writing the pieces, I was struck by the vibrancy of language and the scenes and players available to me in what is essentially a textbook. The book itself is something of a collage of educational research, reading & printing history, late-19th/early-20th Century research methods, and opinions documenting the various vigors, curiosities, and obsolescences in approaches to meaning-making throughout the ages. In the end, I found myself charmed by Dr. Huey and his peers and well equipped by their words to reflect on some of my own questions and anxieties about writing and reading.
I recently re-sequenced the poems into a chapbook manuscript I hope will see the light of day sometime soon. More than anything, though, I’m looking forward to reading some of these to an audience soon. They’re a lot more active and meaty than so much of what I write.