I’m always trying to catch up on my Hejinian-reading. Slowly is a short long poem, published by Hejinian’s own Tuumba Press (resurrected? – dunno, but I miss those wonderful letterpress chapbooks from the old days). As the title would indicate, it’s a poem about – or revolving around, or formally built upon – the adverb. I can’t help thinking of all those workshop strictures on adverbs – I’ve thrown them around myself – you know, “if you’re using an adverb that means you haven’t found the right verb,” “avoid adverbs, they drain energy from your language,” etc. So there’s some foundational cheekiness here I quite like. Of course, what LH’s really interested in, & what gets tracked thru all those adverbs (yes, “slowly” appears quite often) is the process of perception, how the world comes to us modified by our senses, by the various grids & seines of our consciousness that can be represented on one level by the shorthand of the adverb. Much of the book’s in a series of the sort of paratactic, present-tense declarative sentences that I associate with some of Barrett Watten’s & Ron Silliman’s work. So much so that it’s a kind of major event when Hejinian shifts into the past tense for a run of lines. A brow-furrowing read.