Ander Monson

Hide and Seek


Bored by the slick disposability of ebooks and deletable, antiseptic pdfs, I’ve spent the last five years haunting libraries of various sorts (a postal library, friends’ shelves while housesitting, the back seat pocket of a redeye flight to Denver, and of course more traditional libraries) spending time with real books and writing short essays in response to things I found there (a bookplate, a forgotten sentence, a human hair, a found text, homophobic marginalia, an overheard conversation). I print them on 6×9 cards and then, when possible, I publish them back into the books/libraries where they originated, as a communiqué for a future reader. In 2014 I’ll publish Letter to a Future Lover, a limited edition of these cards, unbound and unordered, in a box. Graywolf Press will publish the trade edition in 2015.

This video essay is a version of one of those short print essays. The footage is taken from one of my explorations of the Tucson storm sewer system where it empties out into the Rillito river. A desert city, Tucson doesn’t have extensive storm sewers, even though it could use them on days like today. In July and August we experience our fifth season, the monsoon, in which we torrential rain floods the city and fills the washes, turning streets into temporary rivers. It’s alien to a Michigander like me. Tucson’s all about the sun and surface, but there are underexplored regions underneath the city–and ourselves.

Ander Monson




Ander Monson ( is the author of five books, most recently The Available World (poetry, Sarabande, 2010) and Vanishing Point: Not a Memoir (nonfiction, Graywolf, 2010).