Over Near The Dictionaries
Vito Pasquale

Stitching The Poetry Together

Over Near The Dictionaries, the title of the first poem in my poetry collection Fourteen Threadless Needles, is taken from a phrase in James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Cranly was sitting over near the dictionaries. A thick book, opened at the frontispiece lay before him. . .

The poem is set in 1969 in secondary school and introduces the two characters whose lives are followed through the collection.

Most of the poems are slight and this one sets that precedent. A single scene, a single sentiment, a single young man whose space is invaded by a single young woman. This poem also includes the first of the undefined neologisms that appear throughout the book: hermitplace.

The neologisms — wordplay, was their fore-, if you will, play.

The “thick book” that lay before Cranly in Joyce’s novel is meant to foreshadow the story arc that the poems follow from their beginning in 1969 until some point in the 21st century. . . The relationship of a lifetime and a lifetime of relationships.