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Vectors: Aphorisms & Ten-Second Essays

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  8 reviews
James Richardson is one of the finest poets now writing, and the best contemporary practitioner of the art of aphorism."—Publishers Weekly

"Not since the appearance of W. S. Merwin's translations and adaptations of aphorisms in Asian Figures, some thirty years ago, has an American poet managed to put down so much delightful and compelling wisdom."—American Literary Review

Paperback, 120 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Ausable Press
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Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
My reading has been scattershot lately. I’ve been dipping into Kipling’s short stories, and into Chekhov’s. I’ve been reading essays by Loren Eiseley and George Orwell, too, but the only book I’ve read cover to cover in the past several weeks is this one. James Richardson is apparently a poet, but I don’t read much poetry and don’t know him that way. He’s quite a good aphorist, however, and it seems to me that aphorists are due some fresh appreciation in this era of abbreviated attention spans.

Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
These short passages remind me of those metal links puzzles that were so tricky to figure out, but gave a huge sense of satisfaction once you'd figured it out. A fascinating look into an artist's thought processes.
Vincent Scarpa
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it

“A beginning ends what an end begins.”

“The wound hurts less than your desire to wound me.”

“When it rains you discover which things you did not want out in the rain."

“I have so much trouble choosing that I wish restaurants would ask me for a list of things I absolutely will not eat, and then select a dish at random from the rest. In that case, I would only have to figure out how it was good in itself, and not why I again failed to know what would make me happiest.”

“That the bookstores divide into
Mar 03, 2011 added it
I liked this book a lot. I found it helpful for understanding myself better and becoming a happier and kinder person.

This is a book of 500 aphorisms and ten second essays. None of these are more than three or four sentences. Most are less than that. The book reminded me of two other books: Sand and Foam, by Khalil Gibran (which can be found here in full and "Your Time has Come," by Joshua Beckman. What connects these books is that they express lots of re
Feb 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: so-glad-i-read
The strongest aphorisms and essays in here are the ones that don't try too hard to emulate Zen koans. Richardson hits in here the kind of boiled-down wisdom that makes poetry so vital. I hate to say that there is the occasional item here that actually goes too far, but there were some that had me sold before their final twist at the end, but these are far outshone by the most brilliant. This is a book to tear into shreds to hang off your steering wheel, on the lampshade, to pop up randomly on yo ...more
Dec 17, 2007 added it
Shelves: poetry
These aphorisms are really marvelous, in the tradition not only of proverbs, like Blake's "Proverbs of Hell," but also of fragment. I love the idea of the fragment as a unit of poetry - Jim's book is also fantastic for teaching the idea of a poem as the form of a thought, which has been invaluable introducing students new to poetry to the essentially formless-form of free verse. One of my favorites from the book, "All stones are broken stones."
Jul 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Richardson has made himself the posterchild for aphorists. Some times these aphorisms come very close to preachy zen-moralizing, but it’s a great genre and includes many great tibbets of wisdom and some rather fine poetry besides.
Apr 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aphorisms
Excellent collection of contemporary aphorisms. "Succeed and the world becomes just." or "If you're Larkin or Bishop, one book a decade is enough. If you're not? More than enough."
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“To me the great divide is between the talkative and the quiet. Do they just say everything that's on their minds, even before it's on their minds? Sometimes I think I could just turn up my head like a Walkman so what's going on there could be heard by others. But there would still be a difference. For inside the head they are talking to people like them, and I am talking to someone like me: he is quiet and doesn't much like being talked at; he can't conceal how easily he gets bored.” 8 likes
“All work is the avoidance of harder work.” 8 likes
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