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What I Know about Epistemology

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As the light goes, go.
Be the rustling in the grass, the fall from
convention's good graces: learn, or someone
will have you filing files or writing writs,
demonstrating cutlery or selling knowledge

door to door; someone might even drop
your lovely life into a factory and have you
derusting rings on the coolant-spouting
turntable of a vertical lathe.
It's best for everyone that what you know

is generally thought of as general knowledge.
You can find it in pool rooms and roadside bars,
in meadows as inviting as beds, in bedrooms
where it whispers like a ribbon untying;
you can even find it in schools. But be careful:

it's dangerous, inescapable and exact
down to every atom of everything there is,
to every name each thing goes by and every
law each thing obeys. And the best part is,
you always know more than you know.

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2003 issue of Poetry magazine

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What I Know about Epistemology

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  • John Surowiecki is the author of four books of poetry: Flies (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012), Barney and Gienka (CW Press, 2010), The Hat City after Men Stopped Wearing Hats (Washington Prize, Word Works, 2007), and Watching Cartoons Before Attending a Funeral (White Pine Prize, White Pine Press, 2003). Surowiecki has also published six chapbooks, most recently Mr. Z., Mrs. Z., J.Z., S.Z (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011).
     
    Surowiecki is the recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s first Verse Drama Prize. His play, My Nose and Me (A TragedyLite or TragiDelight in 33 Scenes), was performed at the 2008 AWP convention in New York City and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater as part of the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry on Stage series (both directed by the late Bernie Sahlins) and as part of the Creative Sustenance Program at the University of Connecticut (directed by Denise Abercrombie). 
     
    Surowiecki has won the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry (sponsored by Nimrod International Journal) and has received second place in the Sunken Garden...

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