Sandra Lerner and Sue Horvitz were artist friends who also ran a small press that published artist books. They heard me read a series of poems called “Cock Dreams” at a reading in Philadelphia, and they approached me with the idea of doing something together for Synapse, A Visual Arts Press. They were intrigued with the look and feel of books printed in Braille, and they wanted poems that would work especially well tactilely.
We started with “Cock Dreams,” and I added a whole new section in a darker mood. I came up with the title Finger Food: Poems of Love, Sex, and Dream.
A decade later, I was walking by a lecture hall at UArts and happened to peek in where a visiting artist had the cover of Finger Food with my picture projected on the screen and was describing what made it an artist book he especially liked. He didn’t seem to know I was on the faculty. He seemed stunned when I introduced myself after the lecture, as if he had conjured me up. And then a few years after that, a friend told me she had seen the book on sale at a rare book dealer’s website. He was asking $400 for a signed copy. I always wondered whose book it was I had signed.
Aside from a nice mention in the New York Times, the book didn’t cause much of a stir. But I am pleased that it has achieved at least a little recognition. It is in the permanent collections of The Sachner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry (Miami), The Paper Museum (Tokyo), the Kyoto Institute of Technology, and the Marilyn R. Rosenberg Collection at The Ohio State University Library.