Gale Nelson: stare decisis


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In first grade, after an absence, I was sitting at the reading circle, silently pronouncing ‘ka.nif’ and ‘ka.nit,’ while a classmate went uncorrected in saying ‘ni-f’ and ‘nit.’ As such, I came to find the silent k, and put this ‘lost’ lesson into practice when my turn came to read aloud.

I have, in stare decisis, tried to ferret rules in order to renew my acquaintance with words. By diverting each section through a formal practice, I have sought an elemental vocabulary that could balance silence with the momentary lapse of meaning.

Gale Nelson grew up in Los Angeles and now lives in Providence. He is Assistant Director of the Graduate Writing Program at Brown University and editor of Paradigm Press. stare decisis is his first book.

“He isolates rare and beautiful words so much that they begin to pulse with a visceral, frustrated rage…. Nelson has planted his flag on the far edge of new poesie pure, and marked a boundary with fierce energy.”

–Henry Gould, Northeast Journal

stare decisis endeavors to explore the inner workings of poetic language, digging into the mechanisms that allow meaning, identity, and understanding to emerge.”

–Susan Smith Nash, Lower Limit Speech