I found this book, along with some others from the 1860s and 70s, in a pile at the back of a closet, and now I’m altering it as a form of therapy.
It’s also a way to play, to discover, and to stay curious. What strange repetition of images and contexts will I find? What is this found poem trying to say say to me?
In my mind there’s an emotional context that a reader might not experience, but it doesn’t matter. We make our meaning of it as the moment happens. The reader finds their own meaning, and the drawings add another layer.
It’s very restorative, the process of finding poems. It’s a moment I can dip into over and over, pour m’amuse.
The nutsy granola, aging-hippie in me chafes at the book’s intended purpose and audience, which is to introduce young, working class men to “polite society,” to help them polish off the rough edges and give them a boost in status.
But it also is fun to leaf through it to read the party tricks they teach, which all rely on word games or versions magic tricks such as “the three matches.”
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