Author's Note to 2005 Blog Edition:

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This book takes its title from a remark my friend Jeff Monseau made about the punitively lengthy letters I used to airdrop on him; "…characters come out, your haunts and geography."

He and I began writing each other in fall of 1987. If I remember right, it all came about as the result of one depraved night in Boulder when I mistakenly purchased the Collected Letters of Lew Welch—drunkenly mistaking them for a book of poems. Thousand of miles and some stories later, holed up and too broke to hit the road, I was starving for words. I picked up the book of letters, expecting little. Instead, I found the raw transcripts of Welch and his peers learning their chops and eventually even making a durable mark on literature.

I scrawled off an impassioned note to Jeff, saying "quick! Now! We gotta get this all down before we know anything, so there'll be a record of our innocence some day, and a map for others to follow on the road to knowing..." At last count, the total correspondence weighed in at roughly 1,800 pages, typed and single spaced, and I'm sure there's more than enough evidence to damn us both on multiple charges of knowing either too much, too little or too late. But I guess that's all grist for the biographers, now...

Because we never had any stamps and I moved around a lot, the letters got longer and longer until we jokingly referred to them as "novels." A number of these poems had their beginning in those letters, some in a very different form and some almost exactly as they appear here.

Another factor shaping these poems was Stone Circle, a forum for the oral tradition run by poet Terry Wooten. Learning to speak poetry from memory had an enormous effect on my use of language, teaching me how to make music of words and how to hear the music in everyday speech.

There is a place in Michigan
where words still live,
spoken live over a fire
in the center of three great rounds of boulders,
arranged to mark the stars.
Rolling out in echoes,
sometimes magic happens there.

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John T. Unger poet

I'm best known as an artist and designer. Relaxing makes me tense, so I tend to put in a lot of hours on diverse projects.

Before becoming a visual artist, I spent 15 years as a poet. I studied poetry at Interlochen Arts Academy, Naropa, Stone Circle and on the streets. I performed my work for years at Stone Circle, solo shows, poetry readings, and at Lollapalooza in 1996.

I still write poems, but only if I can make them fit the constraints ofTwitter.

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