I have these manuscripts sitting on my hard drive, where they do me and the world no particular good at all. So I have decided to start putting them online in pdfs -- hopefully, pdfs which will be easy and pleasurable to read on the computer (which means they are not being designed to be printed out).

I'm going to start with 5×5×5(×5), which, as its name suggests, is a series of 125 five-word poems. They were inspired by Bob Perelman, I suppose. In his poem "Chronic Meanings" he wrote: "Five words can say only." For me, this rubbed up against the idea that people can keep five things, more or less, in mind at once. Then, after an event celebrating the release of his book The Marginalization of Poetry, I wrote these poems in a frenzy, in exactly two hours.

I've often presented these poems in random order, or in random selections, although many of the poems relate to their number in the sequence. I tore through the entire sequence in ten minutes at the Poetland event a few years ago, and one of the poems was quoted in a review of the event in the Oregonian.

The photograph in the cover of the pdf is by Anthony Easton.

Download 5×5×5(×5).

Update: A very nice review by Geof Huth.


  1. Geofhuth said...


    A nice little set of poems, with quite a few charmers: 55, 110, and 111 are favorites, but there are others.

    For 100, I'd change it to "ends with word five hundred" or something else more accurate, since the "this" is the line, the five words in it.

    Beautiful cover image. A great job. Makes me what to write a book just like it, but I'll leave it as yours, which suits it just fine.


  2. Chris said...

    Thank you. 111 is still a favorite of mine (and particularly hard to read aloud properly), and I'm glad you noted it. Also, I assure you that the "error" in 100 is entirely intentional.  


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