The Traveler's Vade Mecum

The Traveler's Vade Mecum

by Helen Klein Ross (Editor)
The Traveler's Vade Mecum

The Traveler's Vade Mecum

by Helen Klein Ross (Editor)

Paperback(1st Edition)

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The original Traveler’s Vade Mecum, published in 1853, contained thousands of telegrams. Ross chose telegrams as titles for poems solicited from dozens of poets, including Bollingen Prize winner Frank Bidart and former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins to create a digital-age compendium of old-world poetics. Here are lyric poems, language poems, prose poems, found poems, haikus, pantoums, ekphrases, epistolary poems, acrostics, sonnets and mirror sonnets. Demonstrating the range of what poetry can do, this book provides a fascinating glimpse into the habits and social aspects of 19th century America—and shows how we have evolved 163 years later.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597092241
Publisher: Red Hen Press
Publication date: 10/10/2016
Edition description: 1st Edition
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Helen Klein Ross’s poetry, essays and fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times , The Los Angeles Times and in The Iowa Review where it won the 2014 Iowa Review award in poetry. Her second novel, What Was Mine from Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books was star-reviewed and debuted on January 5, 2016. It sold out on Amazon before 8 AM and was chosen by People magazine as a "Best New Book of 2016." Helen graduated from Cornell Universityand received an MFA from The New School. She lives with her husband in New York City and Salisbury, Connecticut.

Table of Contents

In Which This Book Is Explained 15

Editor's Note on the Arrangement of the Text 23


4800. If Health Permits Eva Hooker 29


1573. There Was a Great Want of Civility Julie Suarez 33

1723. Our Friends Have Come Lee Gould 34

1508. We Abound in Good Cheer Erica Wright 35

7936. I Suffer Considerably at Intervals Desirée Alvarez 36

179. I Start for Home This Day Norbet Hirschhorn 37

129. I Am Agreeably Disappointed in This Place Stephen Massimilla 38

3021. I Have Discovered an Error Anna Rabinowitz 39

1516. The Children Wish to Be Affectionately Remembered Abigail Thomas 41

8369. My Wife Unites with Me in Kind Regards Chip Brown 42


49. The Clouds Look Threatening, and There's the Prospect of a Storm David Lehman 45

2469. You Have Been Deceived Richard Stull 46

1678. The Weather Is Very Cold Emily Fragos 47

450. The Offer Is Accepted Ann Aspell 48

5714. I Have a Key to Unlock the Whole Difficulty Monica A. Hand 49

7910. The Storm Is Violent, and Doing Much Damage James Sherry 50

274. I Shan't Tell You What It Is, but Will Show It to You When You Come Sonja Greckol 52

8015. Symptoms Are Unfavorable, and Alarming Michael Gottlieb 53

1878. It Is Complete Beth Baruch Joselow 54

1353. It Is a Case of Necessity Quinn Latimer 56


8206. What Is the Wholesale Price of the Traveler's Vade Mecum? Sandra Beasley 61

8243. I Have a Vivid Recollection of It Jimmy Roberts 62

8328. Do You Know of a Person Going West Soon, I Who Would Take a Lady under His Protection? Bergen Hutaff 63

8254. How Long Shall I Wait? Laura Cronk 64

8288. Have You Plenty of Water? J. Gerard Chalmers 65

7413. A Reply Is Not Necessary Denise Duhamel 66

1412. Is There a Certainty of It? Abigail Wender 67

80. Some of the Passengers Were Killed by the Accident Jo Sarzotti 68

2429. Have You Seen My Daughter? Catherine Woodard 70

483. Have You Accomplished Your Object? Gregg Friedberg 71

8428. I Have Written Several Times, but Get No Answer; I What Can Be the Reason? Ann Settel 72

3630. Say When It Is Enough David M. Katz 73


7777. There Are Signs of a Gale Huang Fan Margaret Ross 77

461. A Sad Accident Has Happened Gail Segal 78

1019. The Body Has Been Found Harry Bauld 79

73. The Journey Was Not as Pleasant as Anticipated Megin Jiménez 81

3437. Early in the Morning Jennifer Franklin 83

4196. The Weather Is Fine, and I Am Improving It Ron Horning 85

7983. All Were Taken by Surprise James Cummins 86

5723. No One Was Killed Hailey Leithauser 88


1209. Business Is Dull on the Canal Billy Collins 93

6001. The Country Is Quite Level Jamie Stern 94

8305. The Weather Is Unsettled Maria Lisella 95

4552. A General Gloom Pervades This Community sDan Vera 96

7920. It Is Best to Submit and Make the Best of It Dan Kraines 97

7546. The Roads Are Indifferent Len Joy 98

6226. Please Inform the Mayor Jon Swan 99

4830. The Heirs Will Not Consent Michael Tyrell 100

4738. Harsh Language Was Used Gretchen Primack 101

6723. The Original Can Not Be Found Patricia Carlin 102

6030. More Light Is Wanted on the Subject Colette Inez 103

997. It Is Supposed the Boat Is Detained by Fog Deborah McAlister 104

3078. Every Thing Here Looks Very Dismal Ann Fisher-Wirth 105

2268. I Shall Take a Different Course Brett Fletcher Lauer 106


8127. I Am in Trouble, and Need Assistance Beth Ann Fennelly 111

4839. Help Has Been Obtained Joe Zendarski 112

56. Good News! The Harbor Is in Sight Claudia Burbank 113

3079. Things Do Not Look as Dismal as They Did Barbara Ungar 114

7237. The Rain Is Over, Apparently Lynn Melnick 116

4453. The Funeral Was Largely Attended Scott Hightower 118

6487. Please Give Me the Name of Barry Goldensohn 120

6156. Lives in Great Magnificence Stuart Bartow 121

7671. It Is No Secret Here Sandra Beasley 122

7647. The Cargo Is Saved Martin Jude Farawell 123

1644. There Are Flying Clouds of Doubtful Import Anja Konig 124

1878. It Is Complete Tim Cresswell 125

Post Scriptum

431. The Enterprise is Abandoned Frank Bidart 129

Contributor Notes 131

Contributors (Alphabetical) 145

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Essential reading for poetry lovers and experimenters, The Travelers’s Vade Mecum dramatically and wittily expands the notion of the literary prompt.”

—Billy Collins, Former United States Poet Laureate

“Helen Klein Ross connects poets of today to a clever telegraphic idea from yesterday, and in doing so re-introduces readers to A. C. Baldwin, a 19th century consumer advocate whose vision and persistence impacted the world in unexpected ways.”

—Ralph Nader, Father of the modern American consumer movement, author, Founder of the American Museum of Tort Law

“To open this eccentric and improbable volume of sixty-six poems by sixty-six contemporary poets responding to sixty-six pre-fabricated statements found in an antique collection for ‘the convenience of persons traveling on business or for pleasure’ is to take an unexpected trip in the company of various and surprising voices: the dead, the missing, the missed, the imagined, and the re-imagined. Ahab and Faust and the murderers of Garcia Lorca show up among the un-famous (but never ordinary) in meditations and tributes, curses and love songs, all originating in ready-made phrases fashioned for expedient use. Keep this book by your bedside and in your kitchen; read it at night and first thing in the morning, savoring its felicitous lines with your first coffee of the day.”

—Peg Boyers, Executive Editor of Salmagundi

“An anthology needs to be remarkable in its conception, array of authors, and execution. Check. Check. Check. The body of the book is wonderfully arranged—it can be read straight-through or serendipitously. It will feel just right in the hand (and look great on screen).”

—Alan Ziegler, Editor, Professor, Director of Pedagogy at Columbia University

“In an inspired rediscovery of A. C. Baldwin’s The Traveler’s Vade Mecum, Helen Klein Ross and her poets have magically transformed an obscure 19th century invention into lyrical gold.”

—Arthur Molella, Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History


—Daniel Menaker, Former Executive Editor-in-Chief of Random House and author of My Mistake: A Memoir

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