About The Problems

I wrote The Problems more or less to record my stream of consciousness, in December 1971. Originally, it covered 21 typewritten pages. I was involved in the Rhymers’ club at Sonoma State College; we were printing a monthly twelve-sheet mimeograph poetry magazine with work by local poets that we sold for five cents. Twelve was the number of sheets that the English Department collator could handle at a time. Clifford Schwartz sold most of the magazines and proposed to the club that instead of a magazine we print a book of the same length written by me. I had this manuscript, so I reduced it to fit neatly into our page limit, drew a cover (on mimeograph stencil), and we published it for April 1972. It was my first published book.

Reading it today, I cannot explain the strange lack of grammar, the deliberate misuse of punctuation, but for me the poem has a cumulative effect that is interesting. The theme that I remember was my work on a set of problems that Doctor Frederick Luttmann had given his class on number theory. This had gotten mixed up with my thoughts on a lecture that I heard Alan Watts give on the radio.

I gave it as a gift on 19 December 1971 with this note:

[Tom Sharp at the rim of Haleakala; photo by Terry M. Sharp]

Photo by Terry M. Sharp

Tom Sharp, Ph.D., holds twenty patents, works as a programmer for IBM, is a member of Seldovia Village Tribe, and is the author of numerous books.

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