What Kind of Thing is This Thing of Kinds?
(First Things First and Last Things)


An anthology of taxoms with no discernible organizing principle.

An anthology is a dictionary without principles, or so it seems to those expecting a single order. It blooms with possibilities and eschews the definitive in favor of the fragrant. It's a game whose rules must be puzzled out, a tool whose use must be invented. Sorting Things Out is a taxom (taxon + poem) and a gathering of taxoms, scientific instruments of feeling and knowing, verbal Cornell boxes containing ambiguous objects where the frame rivals the field.

An old tradition, but taxoms remain rare. So I present Sorting Things Out as a provocation, denying the passive experience of list and catalogue, and as a prod to make your own taxoms, contributing to the collective history of the things of the mind or, if you like, to the history of nothing. But heed the Kikongo who take naming very seriously; a mistake in their language often results in drought or plague. Go ahead, nevertheless, lose yourself in a cloud of motives and adhere in the most disciplined way, like poets, scientists, and poker players, to the principle of both/and.