The talk of the subject and the object I read earlier today leads me to a long overdue entry on TO DELITE AND INSTRUCT, my new blue lion book. The heart of this book is a manuscript once called PHYLUM, including the prose poems in File 'Em (a near-anagram of MY LIFE). Tihs manuscript, in turn, was once part of the (still unpublished) sequel to DaDaDa, entitled OOD: Object-Oriented Design.

Now, having been in catholic high school, subjectivism - objectivism (not the poetry movement) and symbols figured large in english class. An other memory from school was the speed test, where the (arithmetic drill) handouts were designed to be used once, but they had been used and reused for about 30 years by the time we got to them. Not marking the tests was more important than actually learning the drills. Ah, Sister Josephine.

In any case, the genesis of the majority of the poems in TO DELITE is the mimeo master, grade school workbooks (often without accompanying texts) from the 50s and 60s, the strange annual AWP conference "papers" which actually consist of writing expercises typed out on letterhead, and also office procedure manuals from the "library" of a fly by night degree completion school in the Wilshire corridor where I briefly taught. I wrote the poem "Palm Anthology" from DaDaDa concurrently with many of the poems in the File 'Em section.

The hallmark of the "exercises in perception" handouts that made up the core challenge in the book was page after page of 50s clip art. Various language tapes I think were meant to be played, and various functions performed with the clip art, as a step toward reading. There were also black faces to be filled in with facial expressions.


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