A Year Alone inside of Woodland Pattern
Author: Peter Burzyński
Publisher: Adjunct Press (2022)
"This book is the fulfillment of a long promise. About twenty years ago, Peter Burzyński began giving readings at Woodland Pattern. We eagerly looked forward to his participation in the annual marathon, a mounting recollection of years. He used the store in a way that only a select few used it, as a reading means of education, to develop his vision and writing. When he finally came to work at Woodland Pattern he was fired with a generous enthusiasm (‘it’s like an organized mess / of retired trees’) and an imagination vividly displayed in this book which comes after a pandemic year of isolation in the store.
A consequential year! And excruciating, costly. Yet Burzyński’s eye is light, and nearly jovial, recording things as various as proposed (and ironic) pick up lines, homages and such lines as these: ‘The pandemic’s cruel spittle / is unleashed / and the bookstore closes / for browsing.’ ‘Well, I’m not always alone. / Sometimes Lorine is here / watching.’ And ending: ‘inside of Woodland Pattern— / the only place in which / I’ve ever wanted / to be / so alone.’ As light as these poems seem to be, they are subtle, consider the way that line ‘for browsing’ doubles, the inside and outside of it.
This book really becomes quite personal to me. When I went to work at Boox, Inc. (from which Woodland Pattern emerged) I was mostly alone in the store for a year and a half, thanks to a reconstruction of Water Street. I was frustrated with that—though the isolation gave me lots of time to order and buy and hand distribute books, and to organize and conduct off-site readings and performances. Since the construction was an effective barricade to visitors, I also had a lot of time for reading and contemplation. So the time alone was a blessing of reading and discovery.
What a wonder, then, and to see that such is so richly possible, thanks to this book of marvels from Peter Burzyński."