GOAT, twenty seven years later

GOATtitlepage

Late night, December 5, 1986, halfway through my senior year of college, I started working on a sequence of 45 ten-line poems about a character named GOAT. I’d been carrying this idea in my head for about a week, and had jotted down a list of titles on a piece of paper. Six hours and four hundred and fifty lines later, right as the sun was rising over the Cascadilla Creek Gorge on the morning of December 6, I finished typing in the last line of the last poem.

It was not my first all-nighter, but it was, I knew even then, my first piece of mature verse; of something I thought would last a little longer than most undergraduate-age work. A few years later, in my small press days with a gang of college friends and an old Challenge proofing press, I published GOAT in a limited edition letterpress printed, hand-sewn format, with half a dozen lino-block illustrations by a young art student named Tom Williams. Twelve years later, when I co-founded a print-on-demand self-publishing company Greatunpublished.com, later to be called Booksurge, GOAT was the first volume off the press and through the binder and trimmer.

Hand-marbled endpaper from the Pathos Press edition of GOAT.

Hand-marbled endpaper from the Pathos Press edition of GOAT.

Every year on December 6th across these three decades I have set aside a little time to mark the anniversary of those six hours of writing that resulted in this complete sequence.  It has remained a pleasant and quiet anniversary, even with the thrashing of stubby (and stubborn) horns throughout these poems, the destructive romp through MOMA with Troll, an incident with escaped zoo elephants, guest appearances by Jerry Falwell and Johnny Carson and Andy Warhol, and a singularly devastating meeting in a subway train involving Chicken Little…

Since GOAT is mostly narrative and broken up into these ten line poems, I thought this year I could share it as a kind of serial poem, with perhaps two installments a day, and see if anyone else enjoys inhabiting the strange little world captured so many moons ago in that one long night of writing. The next post on this site will be the first of forty-five. I hope a few of you come along for the ride. The hills, I hear, are full of rocks and beasts.

GOAT1

The first poem in GOAT, from the Pathos Press edition. The typeface is Centaur Roman.

48 thoughts on “GOAT, twenty seven years later

  1. Pingback: GOAT UNLOGICAL [2] | Translations from the English

  2. Pingback: GOAT TRAVELS CURIOUSLY [3] | Translations from the English

  3. Pingback: GOAT TAKES IN THE CIRCUS & VISITS FRIENDS [4] | Translations from the English

  4. Pingback: GOAT’S STYLE IS CRAMPED [5] | Translations from the English

  5. Pingback: GOAT AT THE PARTHENON [6] | Translations from the English

  6. Pingback: GOATGEIST [7] | Translations from the English

  7. Pingback: CONFRONTATION AT THE BRIDGE WITH TROLL [8] | Translations from the English

  8. Pingback: TROLL & GOAT CREATE MANY WORLDS LIKE BRIDGES [9] | Translations from the English

  9. Pingback: THE KICK [10] | Translations from the English

  10. Pingback: TRANSLATED GOAT [11] | Translations from the English

  11. Pingback: BLESSINGS ON THE SEEMLY EARTH [12] | Translations from the English

  12. Pingback: GOAT EATS HIS ONLY FRIEND [13] | Translations from the English

  13. Pingback: MOVEMENTS [14] | Translations from the English

  14. Pingback: GOAT RETIRES [14] | Translations from the English

  15. Pingback: GOAT DANCES FOR THE QUEEN [16] | Translations from the English

  16. Pingback: GOAT COMES DOWN [17] | Translations from the English

  17. Pingback: GOAT PAINTS HIS IMAGE [18] | Translations from the English

  18. Pingback: FLUENT SPANISH [19] | Translations from the English

  19. Pingback: GOAT IN THE FACTORY [20] | Translations from the English

  20. Pingback: GOAT’S CHILDREN [21] | Translations from the English

    1. Jeff Schwaner Post author

      Thanks, Dana. It has been a very strange experience (and a heartening one) to share them with a new audience almost three decades after they were first written and published.

      Reply
  21. Pingback: LOCKED HILLS [22] | Translations from the English

  22. Pingback: EXPECTING MORE [23] | Translations from the English

  23. Pingback: GOAT SEES THE MAN ON THE MOON [24] | Translations from the English

  24. Pingback: GOAT READS THE SIGNS [25] | Translations from the English

  25. Pingback: GOAT’S PARENTS [26] | Translations from the English

  26. Pingback: A THUNDERSTORM KILLS GOAT [27] | Translations from the English

  27. Pingback: A PASSING TRUCK KILLS GOAT [28] | Translations from the English

  28. Pingback: GOAT IS SQUASHED BY SPUTNIK [29] | Translations from the English

  29. Pingback: GOAT IS SHOT INADVERTENTLY [30] | Translations from the English

  30. Pingback: GOAT BECOMES NOT SURE OF HIMSELF, WHILE THE WORLD CONSIDERS HIM AMBIGUOUS [31] | Translations from the English

  31. Pingback: SONG [32] | Translations from the English

  32. Pingback: GOAT INTERRUPTS PAW [33] | Translations from the English

  33. Pingback: WHAT PAW SAID [34] | Translations from the English

  34. Pingback: WHAT GOAT HEARD [35] | Translations from the English

  35. Pingback: TRAIN [36] | Translations from the English

  36. Pingback: GOAT BECOMES CONVINCED OF MORALITY [37] | Translations from the English

  37. Pingback: IN TAR [38] | Translations from the English

  38. Pingback: POOL PARTY [39] | Translations from the English

  39. Pingback: ALL HE WANTS TO DO [40] | Translations from the English

  40. Pingback: GOAT INGESTS SARTRE [41] | Translations from the English

  41. Pingback: THE SKY FALLS [42] | Translations from the English

  42. Pingback: GOAT CRIPPLES CHICKEN LITTLE [43] | Translations from the English

  43. Pingback: OUT THERE [44] | Translations from the English

  44. Pingback: GOAT’S ANSWERING MACHINE [45] | Translations from the English

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