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  • Carrie Etter

Cole Swensen's On Walking On (Nightboat, 2017), first selection


I'm relishing Cole Swensen's new book. Here is a first array of favourite passages:

The first walk: the first line: that so alone am I who loved so is walking

always walking toward. I saw myself in shards. The drift that drives

the eye into time.

*

Any walk Rousseau once said is endless where the wild might seem

to have a name undone from within the unanswered flaw written out

by hand.

*

This I who ran adrift. Should it rain. Begin again. The rain.

Kept me in all morning among my hands.

*

You can see me there wandering, ecstatic

in the green of it, the grove of it, the mind.

Distilled the soul is always found alone in the clearing of a grove.

And shivers in a crowd.

*

I fell today as I walked I was talking to myself it was something I said

that broke the air and kept on breaking it down into smaller

and smaller pieces.

*

"In walking is the forgetting of the world" dissolved of body, small

in timing, sharp in lightning, and full of such abandon, hand in hand,

the heart rains from within, I think, the found, once trusted, veers.

from 'Rousseau: The Reveries of a Solitary Walker'

10:15, and a man is walking his cat. Unlikely, I know. He knows it, too. But it looks like an established routine. Man goes one way. Cat stays at corner; man comes back, making here-here noises; cat goes the other way; man follows. The street is calm.

end of 'A Walk on May 17'

And was

neither heard nor herded, although I sensed the gathering forces trying to

gather up the indeterminate group of all things headed forward. I will sort them.

end of first 'Wordsworth'

For whom there was no difference, to walk simply was to write

and vice-versa. Rhythm as a mode of sight

from second 'Wordsworth'

You can purchase On Walking On in the UK from Blackwell's.

#ColeSwensen #OnWalkingOn #NightboatBooks

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