Family Reading Guide

I have been seeking a pdf version of Ronald Sukenick’s essay “The New Tradition” which I read in a wonderfully rich and challenging book of his called “In Form.”  So far I haven’t been able to find it available online but wanted so badly to provide a link to the actual text that some of you might pursue it that far and come to take it into your psyches and bodies.  Please believe me it is worth the time and effort to Inter-Library Loan this title (In Form) or uncover some of the essays therein.  I urgently recommend his work to you!  Particularly his nonfiction/essay works – from Wallace Stevens to Narratology…take delight and courage!!


This fictional life

Turning, Turnings Back


He (neuter) sets out.

In the world where “to know is to be,” he sets out.

Something changes.

In another world, “to be is to know” must pertain.

He turns back.


He sets out.

Into the webbing of things.

A world made of “being and having.”

He does not have. He will not be.

He turns back.

Into a world of “being and nothingness”

laid over “being and time.”

His time full of nothingness,

he ceases to be.

He turns back.


He sets out.

He enters a way

through a veil

marked “Nirvana.”

He is now/here.

He turns back.


He sets out.

He encounters.

A lover, a friend, a parent, a child.

He sets out.

He encounters.

A mountain, vocation, a suffering, a tree.

He turns back.

Part of the way.

He sets out.

Into starry realms

where “life is but a dream.”

He sings and believes.

He loves and he grieves.

He turns back.


He sets out. Numerically.

Where one is always one.

And one plus two is anything.

He stands at the ocean.

He turns back.

Setting out.


He’s set out.

He’s been seen.

He cannot forget

what he became

in that look.

Turning in.


He sets out.

Finding nothing in being

having the time

knowing a being

being the knowing.

He turns back.

A little way.


He sets out.


and pressed from all sides.

He takes space

and needs air.

He tunnels

turning back

always setting forth.

He sets out

carrying experience

in so many hands,

turning back

and all around

to set out

settling in.


He turns back,

holding hands,

they set out

and remain

turning about

and setting out.

N Filbert 2012