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Poems by Jena Osman
Mercury Rising (A Visualization)
Poems about Reading
from Please Bury Me in This
by Allison Benis White
After Reading Lao Tzu
by Amy Newlove Schroeder
Book Loaned to Tom Andrews
by Bobby C. Rogers
by Gerald Stern
Burning of the Three Fires
by Jeanne Marie Beaumont
by Billy Collins
Hans Reading, Hans Smoking
by Liam Rector
How to Read a Poem: Beginner's Manual
by Pamela Spiro Wagner
Inspire Hope
by Amy Lawless
Learning to Read
by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Light By Which I Read
by Eric Pankey
Love For This Book
by Pablo Neruda
My First Memory (of Librarians)
by Nikki Giovanni
One Train May Hide Another
by Kenneth Koch
Passerby, These are Words
by Yves Bonnefoy
Reading Moby-Dick at 30,000 Feet
by Tony Hoagland
Reading Novalis in Montana
by Melissa Kwasny
by Albert Goldbarth
Stet Stet Stet
by Ange Mlinko
The Author to Her Book
by Anne Bradstreet
The Best Thing Anyone Ever Said About Paul Celan
by Shane McCrae
The Land of Story-books
by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Reader
by Richard Wilbur
The Secret
by Denise Levertov
There is no frigate like a book (1263)
by Emily Dickinson
To the Reader: If You Asked Me
by Chase Twichell
Untitled [I closed the book and changed my life]
by Bruce Smith
Why I Am Afraid of Turning the Page
by Cate Marvin
You Begin
by Margaret Atwood
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To the Reader

by Jena Osman

Thereís a voice in the room and what are you noticing. What are the sounds in the room. Is there a bell that says that the dinner is ready to be served. Is there a bird warming up outside that you are noticing. In what ways does that noticing mean anything good. Is this its own performance or part of something else. Are you listening to someoneís voice while reading this to yourself. Are you listening to the words that the voice sounds or simply to the sound. What kind of sound are you hearing beyond the voice thatís sounding. Do you hear the cars on the road. Do you hear the hum of the fan on the floor. Do you hear anything from the hallway or from the rooms next door. Do you hear the one voice whispering to the other. Do you hear the chairs scraping against the floor. Do you hear a door closing and a latch latching. Do you hear the sound of the breath of the person next to you. Are you noticing your own body as it sits in the chair that may or may not be comfortable. Do you find yourself slowing down, looking up, tracking back.

Are you following words that are sounded and trying to situate yourself in relation to them. Are the words the wallpaper that surround the true activity of someone sitting up straight in front of you and you admire that personís coat or hairstyle or the meal that they have ordered. Do you feel that the words are about you simply because of a pronoun, or is empathy outside of grammar. Are there clues in a text like a hand intimately clasping. Is the skin there complete sensation. Are there two seeds from an orange on the table.

Does the butterfly serve as some kind of analogy, a quasi-splice for reeving new halyards. Are you noticing. Is this an easy space for capturing your attention. Or is the smoke beginning to get to you. Are you noticing a waver in the over of the edge. Are you noticing a cross-current in the waving having and the come on over here of the wave. Do you wish you had eaten a bit more before reading this. Which tree wavers under the weight of the bird. Did you drop this. Have you forgotten the beginning before my interruption. Does the first person pronoun jar unwelcome and unkind or does it reveal a body that is foreign and only good. Do you remember the aphetic elixir of the waver wavering wave. How straight is your spine. How sharp is your tongue. How is the shoulder, soldier.

Is it a large or small crowd. Would you use the word successful to describe a crowd or a poem. Are you sure youíre in the right location. Have the birds started to warm up yet. Are the lyrics to their songs like oo la la. Are you frapping for lashing drumheads and mousing hooks. Are you surging a line on a wince, then jamming a bight of the fall into the upper block. Could this be some kind of bid for a recently vacated cabinet position. Do you marry the two lines, laying them into each other. Are you the clove hitch, the slippery hitch, the stunner hitch, struggling with your own personalized orange revolution. Do you tie the shoe clerkís knot, the bow tie, the mermaidís braid, the bell knot. Have your fingers made even the slightest mark or indentation.

Audio Clip
June 13, 2008
The Academy Offices
From the Academy Audio Archive

Copyright © 2008 by Jena Osman. Reprinted by permission of the author.
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