PRINT December 1982



AS A CHILD I WANTED to read all the books in the library. Eventually the enormity of it all left me content to read some of the books in the library . . . and the dictionary. It was supposed to be factual, but it was the fantasy it provoked that excited me most. One word or a small group of words would send me into a consideration of blackness, a reverie on the shores of Zanzibar; or to the image of a pronghorn roaming my territorial space. It was my journey, no one else’s. Much like a map, the dictionary is a repository of possibilities the poetry of which lies in our own ability to recognize it. It is there if we are willing to travel. Doris Cross’ Col•umns is an excursion of sorts into the dictionary.

In an opening statement Cross insists on “the word as a mark,” leading me to conclude that she wants to be “read” in visual terms. She says that she sees the dictionary columns as “a body

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