William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Old Books’

The Man Who Lost His Head

The Man Who Lost His Head Notebook Illustration I’m Telling You All I Know June 1, 2009   “When our kids were small, my wife and I used to read them a delightful book from the library called The Man Who Lost His Head. Published in 1942, the story was written by Claire Huchet Bishop and masterfully illustrated by Robert McCloskey. It’s about a man who has lost his head, […]

Continue Reading →

Fossil Poetry

The well ran dry. He dug deeper, and deeper, his back to the soft spring rain.   Fossil Poetry I’m tempted to say writing is what keeps me sane, but I think we’d better reserve judgment on that. The opposite could easily be true. Writing might be what keeps me insane. Or, my insanity might be what keeps me writing. Then again, it might be my sanity that keeps me […]

Continue Reading →

May Day

I’m still reading Vincent’s letters, and will be for quite some time. I continue with Thoreau’s journal, a fourteen-volume project. I’m about fifty pages into William Wetmore Story and His Friends, from Letters, Diaries, and Recollections, by Henry James, published in two volumes in 1904. I’ve begun the Library of America edition of John Muir’s nature writings. And I’ve just finished at Home with Disquiet, a wonderful new collection of […]

Continue Reading →

A Mighty Wind Is

Yesterday evening, I learned something: to finish reading The Letters of Henry Adams is to want to read his books all over again; and it is to want to read the lives and letters of his friends. April 7, 2020   A Mighty Wind Is A mighty wind is thrashing the firs. Yesterday, the crows were busy gathering wood for their nests. When the wind dies down, they will resume. […]

Continue Reading →

Dear Theo

It is perhaps not that strange in these virus times, to want to hurry and read something before I die — and yet there it is — the thought arrives unbidden — and so I set it down, not knowing whether it is prescient or the result of a life-long habit of fictionalizing my existence. The book in question consists of three volumes, and contains the letters of Vincent Van […]

Continue Reading →

What Happened to Emily?

It would be foolish to suppose I know more about Emily Dickinson than anyone else who has taken the time to read her nearly eighteen hundred poems. In fact it’s likely I know much less. But I’ve loved her music, and will go on loving it. Cryptic as many of her poems seem to me, she was an artist in her subtle use of near rhyme and transformative rendering of […]

Continue Reading →

I Am Redeemed

I would rather spend the day in a country graveyard than in a shopping mall. Is that so strange? I would rather handle old books and antiques than plastic merchandise. Does that make me odd? Is it obsolete to think the finest jewels are raindrops hanging from a naked limb? And that if there ever was, is, or will be a god, she is here to love me back again? […]

Continue Reading →

Fragile

You’re familiar, of course, with the tissue guards that grace the title pages and illustrations in many old books. Like veils on faces and mists in the grove, they protect what is tender and innermost more surely than any fence or wall, or lock and key. If we are to know anything, or anyone, we must understand the connection between hearts and fingertips. Love thrives by its very weightlessness. A […]

Continue Reading →

Front Walk

In his journal, Emerson writes of walking with Hawthorne, talking with Thoreau, Carlyle’s latest book, and Tennyson’s new poems. In mine, I write of you, in terms of my own plain self. And this is our wealth: that we are each a funny blend of science and superstition, of pain, nerve, and luck. And this is our grief — the loss of dear Waldo, Emerson’s five-year-old son. August 4, 2019 […]

Continue Reading →