Tyler Knott Gregson is a bit of an anomaly — he has fallen in love with the typewriter. After picking up an old Remington from an antique (?) store, he has created almost 1000 unedited poems. In the day and age when children are learning to manipulate a computer from pre-school age, and most adults are using it constantly in business, stores, and schools, moving whole sentences or paragraphs around, replacing or inserting words, changing colours, highlighting, underlining, and even writing with voice-recognition software, Gregson is taking pages from old books, paper bags, grocery receipts, library cards, graph paper and other scraps of paper, and rolling them around his platen to type uneditable, inspired poetry. Sometimes, he uses his own photographs to make a visual to accompany a poem, or even takes pages from an old book and blacks out words until the ones left are the ones that convey his message, his poem, his personal stamp. Personally, I’ve already inserted, changed, and moved words several times in this review, and I can’t imagine writing any more without editing. I can’t help wondering if there are many poems he doesn’t keep; to have this many poems come out so complete in one go, is amazing.
At any rate, this collection of his poems, chasers of the light: poems from the typewriter series, makes a wonderfully moving book full of life and love and wonder at everything around us. His book caught my eye right away because when I was teaching, I sometimes had my students create poems on the computer about a bag lunch and then we would insert a paper lunch bag into the inkjet printer (also an antique, now) and send their poems to print. They made an interesting display and it was a bit challenging for students to manage their poems so the whole thing fit on the lunch bag. I have also used pages from old books in my art journal and encouraged the students to do so as well.
Tyler says his poems all try to do two things:
Dissect big things, giant gestures, grand emotions,
into small glimpses, tiny fragments.
Take miniature moments, stolen seconds, blink-
and-you’ll-miss-them glances, and make them
To me, all of his poems seemed to be about love. Not just intimate love, but love of life, love of looking at things with a different perspective and taking joy in that new view. There were some poems that stood out for me, but there wasn’t one poem that I didn’t like or didn’t get what he was trying to convey. They were all splendid, with an economy of words, well-chosen words — ones that seemed to be precisely right. There are a lot of his poems in images when you google them, but I want to include a few here that I thought were special. Perhaps you will think so, too.
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