The pleats of the accordion file have softened like the folds of my neck. Rusted staples sink into yellowed paper beds. Such Tragedy of Recognition in Aristotle, Sophocles, Beckett and me. A plethora of plethora’s. Ubiquitous ubiquitous. The Compression of Time in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – unafraid to state the obvious, I see. And George Tesman: A Character Study. Who is George Tesman? And who is this self I keep reading about? The self does this, the self does that. We can even Travel with the Self in Three Nineteenth-Century British Novels. I wonder if the self who wrote these words is different from, say, myself? Am I the same boy under his little desk lamp dissecting The Imagination of Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley as if nothing in the world, not love, not war, were more crucial? The same boy whose own Images of Utopia were, let’s face it, not to be found in Johnson and Coleridge but in the professor’s handwritten praise with that A underneath? I wanted it then, I want it now, I guess I learned nothing about Jouer et Jouissance in Roland Barthes’s Le Plaisir du Texte.
Bill Hollands’ work has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as Rattle, DIAGRAM, North American Review, and Boulevard. He was recently named a finalist for New Ohio Review’s NORward Prize and Smartish Pace’s Erskine J. Poetry Prize. He lives in Seattle with his husband and their son.