Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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Writers Here & Now

A week ago, Sunny and I were antiquing with Sarah in Frederick. So many beautiful things to collect. I remarked to Sunny that I always wanted to start some kind of collection, but had never hit on the exact right thing for me to collect. That day, I was toying with the idea of collecting perfume bottles. We saw a lovely one, dark green, Depression-era or earlier, with a silver filigree base. Truly collectible.

It was only later in the week, as I tried to find a home for the books I'd bought at Bread Loaf that I realized I have been collecting since Wake.

I collect signed (preferably first edition) books by literary writers. Now, most of these writers are not what you might call popularly known nationwide, but many have been Poets Laureate in various states, and are well-respected literary writers. Note that the Writer's Market groups "Literary" with "Little."

I have signed books by Gerald Stern, Carlos Fuentes, Kate Daniels, Deborah Pope, Michael Chitwood, Linda Gregg, Michael Collier, Alan Shapiro, Ron Carlson, Jay Parini, Michael Lowenthal, and backward to the first signed book I remember. Cousin Pam gave it to me, years ago. I have no idea where that book is, but I remember it was signed; the title escapes me. Hermana Mia got one too. Something about a cross...

I added to my collection last night at the Galway Kinnell reading, this year's kick-off for the Writer's Here & Now series at UMCP. Kinnell, State Poet of Vermont, read from his most recent collected works (such as Blackberry Eating), and read some new, as-yet unanthologized pieces.

An austere and charming elder gentleman, Kinnell was sometimes difficult to hear. He had trouble hearing himself. But I spoke up (extrovert!), and introduced myself as a graduate of the program, and expressing interest in
"Insomniac," which captivated me; it was published in the New Yorker last March, the author told me as he signed my copy with a pen dipped in an inkwell.

I plan to skim it over what is sure to be a lonely week. Hubby's traveling, best friend and writing partner is visiting a friend. It should be a good week to read. Books are such good company.

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