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The Beginner
Lyn Hejinian
42 pages
ISBN 1-931157-03-0


Originally published in a limited edition of 300 copies in 2001 by Spectacular Books, The Beginner forms the middle section of a trilogy (without a name), whose first part is Happily (Post-Apollo Press, 2000) and whose last part is Slowly. Tuumba Press is pleased to bring the book back into print. It is significant that, despite its title, The Beginner, forms the middle section of the trilogy: "This is a good place to begin," the poem announces in its first line. "From something." Beginnings never depart from the midst of the things they find themselves among nor from the midst of the things they begin.

Lyn Hejinian is a poet, essayist, and translator. She was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and lives in Berkeley. Published volumes of her writing include Writing is An Aid to Memory, My Life, Oxota: A Short Russian Novel, Leningrad (written in collaboration with Michael Davidson, Ron Silliman, and Barrett Watten), The Cell, The Cold of Poetry, and Sight (written in collaboration with Leslie Scalapino). Her most recent books are A Border Comedy (Granary Books, 2001) and Slowly. The University of California Press published a collection of her essays entitled The Language of Inquiry in 2000. Translations of her work have been published in Denmark, France, Spain, Japan, Italy, Russia, Sweden, China, and Finland. She is the recipient of a Writing Fellowship from the California Arts Council, a grant from the Poetry Fund, and a Translation Fellowship (for her Russian translations) from the National Endowment for the Arts; she received an Award for Independent Literature from the Soviet literary organization "Poetic Function" in Leningrad in 1989. She has traveled and lectured extensively in Russia as well as Europe, and Description (1990) and Xenia (1994), two volumes of her translations from the work of contemporary Russian poet Arkadii Dragomoschenko, have been published by Sun & Moon Press. Since 1976 Hejinian has been the editor of Tuumba Press and from 1981 to 1999 she was the co-editor (with Barrett Watten) of Poetics Journal. She is currently the co-director (with Travis Oritz) of Atelos, a literary project commissioning and publishing cross-genre work by poets. Other collaborative projects include a work entitled The Eye of Enduring undertaken with the painter Diane Andrews Hall and exhibited in 1996, a composition entitled Quê Trân with music by John Zorn and text by Hejinian, a mixed media book entitled The Traveler and the Hill and the Hill created with the painter Emilie Clark, and the award-winning experimental documentary film Letters Not About Love, directed by Jackie Ochs. In the fall of 2000, she was elected the sixty-sixth Fellow of the Academy of American Poets. She teaches at the University of Califormia, Berkeley.