Monday, January 09, 2006

If Thou Be Such

"To the Reader, if thou be such, I make thee my patron, and dedicate the piece to thee.. . .Fare thee well, and fall to. Read."

The above is a book dedication by Ben Jonson in 1631 as noted in the second part of yesterday’s delightful William Safire column in The New York Times.

Even up to three years ago I used to have fantasies about the dedication and acknowledgement pages of my upcoming book of poems published by a prestigious publisher.

That was before I realized the poetry publishing system is the States is rigged and the market for it is abysmal.

Lately I have become aware of a number of reasons to be grateful that I have labored in total obscurity all these years. One of which is that I was saved the embarrassment of having made a complete fool of myself on my dedication page.

It is kind of like waiting to have one’s first tattoo until well after the fact of it might make a difference in one’s personal life.

With all the small accumulation of humiliations one accrues by the work of gravity on an aging body it is nice to know that there are some embarrassments we can avoid.



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