The Surgeon General’s Collection

by Arn Henderson

1976, ISBN: 0-937280-02-x. 64 pages, $10

“Arn Henderson’s The Surgeon General’s Collection establishes Point Riders Press as an important publisher for anyone who cares about the totality of a book. The care, craft and unity of his design reflect the poetry: They are a part of it.

Photograph and word are woven together through a series of square and rectangular die cuts in the page so that portions of photographs are visible and portions of the poem are readable, timed through the turning of the page.  This experiment with negative space and photograph and language is an important breakthrough for poetry.

Henderson’s lines are crisp and taut, so taut they sing like barbed wire in a dry prairie wind. He wastes no words, does not decorate; but when you hear these poems, the words fall like a fistful of ball bearings on a concrete floor and ping and impinge and resonate long after the hand has opened”

Charles Levendosky, poet and newspaperman.

“The Surgeon General’s Collection is a powerful and disturbing view of life in the United States–almost devoid of hope, except for a few glimmers here and there, as in the last lines: ‘Now look. bob-tail truck with red slat sides / full of green watermelon. eat all night.’”

Norma Clark Wilson, Professor Emeritus of English, University of South Dakota.