Really now…I didn’t “induce” you to do anything…

Really now… I didn’t “induce” you to do anything.
There was a time when I thrived on the energies of creative people.
And that heave and regress factor is inextricably tied into the blur notion.
As I heard him calling me to redeem myself and come into the light, I felt the urge and joy,
            so I answered the call and started shouting “Yes! Yes! I want to redeem myself and
            come into the light!” so we laughed at each other for a few minutes and he asked
            what I was doing, then he wanted to speak to somebody I never heard of.
I think this plus my freedom makes it appropriate for me to be an artist.
I’m oversimplifying, but maybe you get the drift.
Maybe for you, this is natural result of your aesthetic, which pushes away from most
            senses of reading or verbal meaning.
Thanks for the diversion, but a career in house painting still looks likely.
Referring to the fact that Stein is writing for herself and strangers (but not friends, never
            those damn friends…).
These are speech-acts or effects of discourse, I think, mostly.

Note on the Text

Correspondences is composed of 62 poems assembled while cleaning out personal email ahead of a swift termination date at an old job. It took 11 hours and 46 minutes. I don’t know why I timed it. I was thinking about my time there as congealed labor, though I didn’t do much of anything for 20 hours a week in my hidden cubicle. All lines are written by correspondents to me (and so “found” in a specific sense, perhaps “addressed” would be a better term). I normalized the punctuation and capitalization a bit for consistency. Only one line was taken from any given email. Many poets’ prose is poached here, but none from the Atlanta group (where I would read this material as soon as it was written).

John Lowther’s work appears in the anthologies The Lattice Inside (UNO Press, 2012) and Another South: Experimental Writing in the South (University of Alabama Press, 2003), and Stone, River, Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems (Negative Capability Press, 2015). Held to the Letter, co-authored with Dana Lisa Young, is forthcoming from Lavender Ink. His website:

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