Hygiene in Reading
Hygiene in Reading is a series of poems sourced only from words appearing in the single chapters of Edmund Burke Huey's 1908 volume The Psychology and Pedagogy of Reading; With a Review of the History of Reading and Writing and of Methods, Texts, and Hygiene in Reading. That book is a work distantly foundational to my own research, but one that I had never read (or, honestly, even heard of) until recently. I undertook this project as an investigation into the language of talking about reading, writing, and the technologies that enable and undermine them; a rewind to the early days of my field. As I was writing the pieces, I was struck by the vibrancy of language and the scenes and players available to me in what is essentially a textbook. The book itself is something of a collage of educational research, reading & printing history, late-19th/early-20th Century research methods, and opinions documenting the various vigors, curiosities, and obsolescences in approaches to meaning-making throughout the ages. In the end, I found myself charmed by Dr. Huey and his peers and well equipped by their words to reflect on some of my own questions and anxieties about writing and reading.
Patrick Williams is a poet and academic librarian living in Central New York. His recent work appears in publications including Heavy Feather Review, 3:AM Magazine, The Collapsar, Hot Metal Bridge, and Sundog Lit. He received his MS & PhD in Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin; his research focuses creative writers' online reading and writing practices, social interaction, and what we can learn from the systems that support them. He is the editor of Really System, a journal of poetry and extensible poetics.