Incongruities

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Years ago, I worked in a library…

Incongruities

so little depends
upon

the half-Japanese
bookman

reading Italian
haiku

in the Texas
library.

Once again, my apologies to William Carlos Williams, whose poetry inspires and therefore often bears the brunt of my little diversions into whimsy. “Incongruities” first appeared here in October 2015. The original WCW poem can be found here.

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11 thoughts on “Incongruities

    • A moment both ridiculous and profound! The library did away with my position a few years after I departed for greener pastures. I’d read the writing on the wall, which said “we don’t need no stinking bookmen.” Ah, the digital age!

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          • When I was in college, I got a work study job. I was ushered into a room with hundreds of stacks, each many feet high, of library cards (yes, this is how old I am–library cards) and was told that it was my job to alphabetize these. LMAO. Spin this room full of straw into gold.

            But then I was repaid by going to work for the Lilly Library and getting the job of rearranging the priceless items in its vault. Hand-engraved books by William Blake. A Guttenberg bible. First editions of Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. Many, many other priceless treasures.

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            • I loved those old card catalogs! I saw few priceless treasures in my job, as most of the donations were 20th century, and the bulk of them from the latter half. But the occasional gem of a modern first edition slipped through, and once a volume inscribed by Prince Albert to Queen Victoria on a special occasion. Each day was a treasure hunt!

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                  • A friend of mine was going through a box of old books for 50 cents in a used bookshop in Rochester, NY, and she came across a biography of Gerard Manley Hopkins that had belong to and had notes throughout, in the margins, by T.S. Eliot. And years ago, I ran across, in the circulating stacks of the Indiana University Library, a first edition of Robert Frost’s A Boy’s Will–the one published in London before Frost was published in the US and became famous. This is an extremely rare book. Frost himself looked in vain to find a copy years later. I took it to the desk and explained that this was an extremely rare book and probably should not be circulating freely. Several weeks later, it was back in the stacks. LOL.

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                    • A friend of mine bought some books at a garage sale. Tucked in one of them was a handwritten note from Ezra Pound to the previous owner of the book. I was never that lucky, but once purchased five books for $1.00 at a library sale, one of which I sold maybe 5 years later for $800. Ah, the pre-internet days!

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