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About this poet

Lyn Hejinian was born in the San Francisco Bay Area on May 17, 1941. Poet, essayist, and translator, she is also the author and coauthor of several books of poetry, including The Book of a Thousand Eyes (Omnidawn Publishing, 2012), Saga/Circus (2008), The Fatalist (2003), My Life in the Nineties (Shark, 2003), and A Border Comedy (2001).

Other collections include The Beginner (2000), Happily (2000), Sight (with Leslie Scalapino, 1999), The Cold of Poetry (1994), The Cell (1992), My Life (1980), Writing Is an Aid to Memory (1978), and A Thought Is the Bride of What Thinking (1976). She is also the author of The Language of Inquiry (University of California Press, 2000), a collection of essays.

From 1976 to 1984, Hejinian was editor of Tuumba Press, and since 1981 she has been the co-editor of Poetics Journal. She is also the co-director of Atelos, a literary project commissioning and publishing cross-genre work by poets.

About Hejinian's book The Fatalist, the poet Juliana Spahr has written, "Hejinian's work often demonstrates how poetry is a way of thinking, a way of encountering and constructing the world, one endless utopian moment even as it is full of failures."

Her honors include a Writing Fellowship from the California Arts Council, a grant from the Poetry Fund, and a Translation Fellowship (for her Russian translations) from the National Endowment of the Arts. She received the 2000 Academy Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets for distinguished poetic achievement. In 2006 she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She lives in Berkeley, California.


Multimedia

Lyn Hejinian discusses poetry and place at the 2008 Poets Forum.   From the Image Archive

 

The Book of a Thousand Eyes [The Lost Pines Inn would be a good name for a motel]

Lyn Hejinian, 1941

The Lost Pines Inn would be a good name for a motel, or No Sheep in the Meadow, The Lost Egos, The Downtown Country Inn, Mike and Ann's, Doug and Diane's, Bob and Joe's or Just Joe's Hotel, Warm Toes Hotel, Anything Goes Inn, The Come Inn, The Company Retreat, The Hermit's Den, La Cave, The Little House Hotel, The Reliquary, The Happy Family Inn, The Rooster's Coop, The Corky Floor, The Henhouse Hotel, The Egg-in-a-Nest, The Rooks Retreat, The Cooks Inn, The Beat A Retreat, and a music group could call itself Crested Loader, or 10-Second Crossing, or 9 Car Train, or Thumb on the Space Bar, or the Unlike Minimums, The Shepherds Without Sheep, Sheep Without Sleep, Two Feminines, Autism, The Twice Maniacs, The Genetics, The Nasty Uncles, Interfering Women, but streets get named typically after numbers or trees of they're given the names of prominent as well as lesser-known citizens or the names of great cities of the world or the great letters of the alphabet from A to Z but in celebration of the things we consume the names of products and objects should be given to some streets (Tagliatelle Lane, Glue Stick Street, iPod Alley) and to encourage pursuit of intellectual professions a city's central thoroughfare might be called Mathematics Avenue, Neurochemistry Street, Jurisprudence Boulevard, or Lit Crit Street while at the edge of town the thoroughways and by ways could commemorate abstractions and generalized conditions (as in Global Capital Street, Logic Throughway, Affluence Alley, Interruption Boulevard, Domination Interstate, Accumulation Highway) and another great name for a motel would be The Soporif's Inn, or The Archive, and Duke, High Spot, Drummer, Archimedes, Shadow, Ranger, and Gamelon might name some of the 220 horses at work under the hood of the blue 2003 220-horse power P.T. Cruiser that got me home by bedtime.

From The Book of a Thousand Eyes by Lyn Hejinian, published by Omnidawn. Copyright © 2012 by Lyn Hejinian. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Lyn Hejinian

Lyn Hejinian

Lyn Hejinian was born in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1941.

by this poet

poem
To achieve reality (where objects thrive on people's passions), enormous effort
and continuous social interactions are required, and I can't get started
without you. Not here—over there's a better place to begin a funny story.
History with its dead all shot through with regularities in the woods
and following
poem
The manner in which we are present at this time to and fro
    appears, we come to point of view before us
The matter is here
Can we share its kind of existence?
"I" moving about unrolled barking at blue clouds
    devoted—to each other? to hasten to the point?
    to evade anxiety? to picture?
Having awkward
poem

Useless lighthouse, and the bucket on the beach, the tattered begonias
Forget examples—there’s not an entity or detail around that isn’t more than a mere example
What’s truly funny?
Once upon a time there was a mouse, and there was a cactus and a pair of very small rubber
   boots with a hole in