06 April 2005


from James Tata via Superfluities:

A new book meme circulating around the sphere is going by the name “123.5,” and its rules are these:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

Here's mine:

This part of the poem closes with the nineteenth-century gold rush:

      Then came the white man: tossed up trees and
         boulders with big hoses,
         going after that old gravel and the gold,
      horses, apple-orchards, card-games,
         pistol-shooting, churches, county jail.

This from Helen Vendler's Soul Says: On Recent Poetry. She's discussing Gary Snyder's poem "What Happened Here Before."


  1. Hmmm. I followed instructions precisely, and the 5th line makes little sense out of context and isn't particularly significant without the whole page!

    [Rita Dove's book about her grandparents]
    Thomas and Beulah, sometimes presents their experiences from the
    [first person]

    from The Poet's Companion by Kim Addonizio & Dorianne Laux.

  2. ah, but I do love that book! what an excuse to go look at it today.

  3. I've done it and posted on my blog, which you know because you've commented. Amusing little task it was. Since I also happened to have Frank Conroy's Stop-Time on my desk this morning, I checked it out as well:

    "But that never happened either."