Cover of Each Thing We Know Is Changed Because We Know It
Kevin Hearle author photo
  • Series: Modern & Contemporary 49
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-916272-57-9
  • ISBN-10: 0-916272-57-5
  • Pages: 62
  • Size: .3125 x 6 x 8 in
  • Price: $14.00

Each Thing We Know Is Changed Because We Know It

Kevin Hearle

All places are complicated, because what one becomes depends on them, but I think poets who are native Californians have bewildering ironic relationships to the place, and not just because California has changed. It’s that there are references so strange, so odd, one feels he couldn’t explain them to anyone. . . . Like Didion or Hass, Kevin Hearle is obsessed by an identity that doesn’t exist anyway now, something that can’t be expressed. . . . This is a brilliant first book, not because the poet is a native Californian troubled by his sense of exile from the place even though he lives there. It’s brilliant because the poet is so gifted. By the end of it Hearle sees through his illusions and cherished self-enchantments, has seen through himself, so that this book, at the end, looks out on the world.


From the introduction by Larry Levis

For Confucius, Giordano Bruno, and my Uncle Johnie


I sing this song for Confucius,

who loved music and recommended it

as a means of moderating grief;

and I sing this song

for Giordano Bruno, who

loved memory and felt

that nothing

was ever moderated it was

transposed into a different form;

and I sing

this song for my Uncle Johnie,

who, in his love and


at eighty-two, called me

his grandson and begged me

to remember his dreams.

I cannot please them all:

I remember their dreams

only so much

as they are mine, and I sing

to remember them, those

who made me who I am.

And, if I should wake up

from their dreams no longer singing,

that would be the grief

most wholly mine.


Copyright © 1994 by Kevin Hearle

Kevin Hearle author photoKevin Hearle is a fifth-generation Californian from Santa Ana. He holds degrees from Stanford, the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, and UC–Santa Cruz. He has written extensively on John Steinbeck and is the voice of "Our California Legacy"—a public radio program on KAZU-FM in Santa Clara.