Jacob A. Bennett / Wysihicken [sic] / $10
32 pp / 8.5″ x 7″ / Screen-printed covers by Jodi Hoover / Limited to 75 copies
A Note from the Author
I began composing the first sections of this poem in my head while riding my bike through Wissahickon Creek park in Philadelphia’s northwest quadrant. The peculiar formations of Wissahickon schist, which lurch and twist and testify to their geological tumult, but which at the moment are cool and stable, intrigued me and struck me as analogous to the development of human history. As I read more about the place – its geological makeup, its human stories – I realized what now seems so obvious: that there is no way to pin down a place by naming it or telling its story. After all, even bedrock fractures and loses its place.
As the site of some of the first mills heralding American industrialization, and of Revolutionary War maneuvers, and of indigenous displacement, and of a mystic’s religious hermitage, and of suburban escape, Pennsylvania’s Wissahickon Creek banks through rock and hosts a brief historical period of human activity that prefigures the bewilderment, industry, upheaval, and carnage that punctuate the record of colonial America’s expansion. Wysihicken [sic] is a poetic sequence that attempts a multiple and layered account of the human and natural history of a limited geographic landscape that serves, like so many other out-of-the-way shady places, as microcosm or repository of the foundations of the United States of America. Appropriation and dominion, naming as claiming, domination and change – these are American themes, and the themes of this poem.