Dream Palace, Herbert  Morris, 1986

Once again, a chance encounter with a writer sent me to a poet whose work is quite wonderful.  In this case, it was a chapter in Peter Orner’s collection of essays about books and writers, Am I Alone Here? (see #2222)  Orner writes that despite having no idea who Morris is or was, he “gives us the miracle of other people in their most intimate, unguarded moments.” Orner goes on to say that he had never heard of Morris before digging a used copy of the 2000 published What Was Lost out of a used book bin at Dog Eared Books in San Francisco, a bookshop that I just read about in Bookshops (see below eventually).  Morris is quite spectacular, writing long, free verse prose poems about inconsequential events and settings that wring meaning out of the minor details of life.  The poem entitled Circus moves from the visit of an 11 year old boy to The Strand theater in Greenwich Village to the outcomes for the performers.  It’s beautiful in its details, its language, its evocation of childhood, and its ability to move characters through their lives in a few verses is quite wonderful.  A great discovery.