portrait of a library

Last April, I posted a poem that Stephen Dunn wrote about the home in which I was raised–a home most remarkable for the 30,000 books that my Dad has collected and used for his scholarship. People liked the post, presumably because of Dunn’s fine poem rather than my short commentary; and several readers requested pictures. On our latest visit to Syracuse, I took some photos and turned them into a short movie segment (below). It starts outside, works its way through the house to the attic, and ends in the basement, where most of the books are kept in library stacks.

I’m not satisfied with the aesthetics. You’re looking at the house under a pretty harsh direct flash, which turns dark-blue walls pale-blue, whitens the pine shelves, and reveals the wood behind the books. But at least I’ve documented the objects that Dunn wrote about, including the chairs that his ghosts sat on and the “startling print” upstairs.

3 thoughts on “portrait of a library

  1. Joseph Sinatra

    Hey Peter,

    I like the shot with the hanging hand saw. I assume your father catalogued these books. How did he ever keep track?

  2. Peter Levine

    The saw is mostly for building bookcases. The catalog is mostly in Dad’s head, although he has typed up a list of his older books, which are kept together in certain rooms.

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