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The Inertia Variations

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  27 ratings  ·  4 reviews
A meditation of 78 poems on the themes of inertia, procrastination, laziness, boredom, ennui, apathy, torpor, lethargy, disinterest, inaction, sluggishness, indolence, creative blocks, work-avoidance, failure and other afflictions. These are the last words on very tired subjects.
Paperback, 76 pages
Published January 5th 2005 by KBP
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Oct 29, 2013 marked it as to-read

It would be a relief if I could resign myself
To unproductivity and simply exist
Unburdened by this tiresome need to produce
That has been the cause of so much unpleasantness.
It’s not as if I do anything with my time
And as for most of the people who do accomplish
Anything: one rather wishes they hadn’t bothered either.
Accomplishment, I suspect, is overrated.
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
How can you not love poetry on the topic of ennui? Tottenham is so dry and funny, he makes of lassitude a noble, or at least highly sympathetic, endeavor. Not since Bartleby the Scrivener, with which this has a great deal in common, does the refusal to scuttle about and reach for the goals that are laid out for us as what we should want, feel so sensible. I think it's a great book about writing, because it's in large part the poetic inner sanctum of authorly self-loathing. What's great about Tot ...more
Costel Paslaru
Apr 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Went through it two consecutive times, forth and back, and I will probably have to get back at it at least for a third time if not more. The one poem that stuck with me is "Nothing". ...more
Stephanie Coonce-Jordan
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
No one makes inertia more applaudable than Tottenham. That's a given. But how many can amuse in the process? Hands down, he's the king. See for yourself if you don't believe it's possible. ...more
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It is remarkable how far I am prepared to go
In order to avoid doing the one thing that might
Provide satisfaction, and it is remarkable to consider
What I will do instead of it, purely for the pleasure
Of being dissatisfied. When it is merely a matter
Of sitting down for a few hours and dreaming
That something of value might eventually arise
From this routine of self-enforced boredom.”

I am not yet quite over it.
I am lying down on top of it.
Surveying behind me a wasteland
Of dried-up promise.
While the lights below twinkle
With dull mocking uncertainty.
There isn't much left to look forward to,
And the looking forward of the past has been belied.”
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