Anne Stevenson

This is but one stanza from Anne Stevenson’s poem ‘Paper’ in her collection, Astonishment (2012). The whole poem is relevant to this section as it was composed with a printer and an archivist in mind, but it seems not the done thing to quote it all, so here goes with verse 2. All of you who have handled original items in an archive will empathise.

‘The way old paper levels time,

is the archive’s treasure,

is evidence talking to your fingers

when passion, two hundred years dead,

filters through the ink-net that,

pen in hand, a lover once spread for his mistress, ignorantly scooping the archivist

into his catch.’