Nov/Dec 2015 • Vol. XXXVII No. 6 Walking with Poets |

from “Henry David Thoreau: ‘Walking'”

Listening to ice crack itself across winter—it was the winter of 1845, and the Second Great Awakening was ending all over New England in which someone coming down a road looking so familiar is so little different from someone suddenly before you in all particularity; one encounters so rarelyin the forest of the human, of the face, one passes with a nod of recognition, thus exploding the separation of beings into a fleeting region much nearer to the way we travel from mansion to mansion, ending in a horse racing across a field • • remains because and therein sees in the bitter iron of things brilliantly distinct. Thoreau believed in grammar as a laser of distinction, discretion, dissention, and, in the laser of dissection, saw And now we see the night and now we walk inside and break, combing through the dark. • • Thoreau who got lost          who aimed only for that                 

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Photo of Cole Swensen

Cole Swensen is the author of twenty books of poetry, most recently And And And (Shearsman, 2023) and Art in Time (Nightboat, 2021). Previous volumes have won the Iowa Poetry Prize, the San Francisco State Poetry Center Book Award, and the National Poetry Series and have been finalists for the National Book Award and twice for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A translator of French poetry, prose, and art criticism, she divides her time between France and the US.

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