A book is a hairy, heavy thing that used to be made of skin. It doesn’t move when you press it. But everything falls away if you dip your head in. A book likes company, a kind of order understandable to hand and eye. A library, like a person, can die. It can be dismembered, and its parts redistributed, but that means it’s dead, just as with a person. Even if one part continues to live in—and bring life to—another body. The empty library seems full of possibility, as long as it stands. Its acoustics are rich. The alcoves designed for books now house conversation, and solitude.

—Mairéad Byrne


Mairéad Byrne is Professor of Poetry + Poetics at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, teaching courses in Sound Poetry, Visual Poetry, Digital Poetics, Material Poetics, Contemporary Poetry, and poetry workshops. She has published six collections, including Famosa na sua cabeça (2015), selected and translated by Dirceu Villa, and runs couscous, a peripatetic performance series of diverse poetries.

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