by Emily McVarish
As a number, “a thousand several” seems both rounded-off and vaguely supplemented. A thousand stands as a familiar figure of multitude. Several offers a convenient grasp of more-than-a-few. The scale may shift from one approximation to the next, but the desire to encompass persists. Yet within several lie sever and the adjective’s original use to mean separate, individual, respective. “A thousand several” thus evokes a disparate rather than a whole number: not a multiple of one but a myriad of difference.
A Thousand Several describes the profusion and dispersion that result from cuts: the cut of a cellphone call into social space, the cut away from that space in the ensuing conversation, the cut that every edit of attention makes. A Thousand Several draws an analogy between the uncollectible crowd that peoples a wireless sidewalk and the interrupted point of view of a pain-averse individual, who cuts off reminders of loss only to find them scattered for future ambush by this severance.
Dashed rule, photo clips, and color separations lend their outlines, layers, and breaks to both ungathered company and parceled subject in A Thousand Several. Text appears as an intermittent line and recurs in extracted bits that shuffle themselves back into the feed.
Written, designed, hand-set, and printed letterpress by Emily McVarish. Bound in cloth over boards by John DeMerritt. Signed. 10 hors commerce, 35 for sale.