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VIII, by Robert Hass
Chester found a dozen copies of his first novel in a used book-
store and took them to the counter. The owner said, “You can’t
have them all,” so Chester kept five. The owner said, “That’ll be
a hundred and twelve dollars.” Chester said, “What?” and the
guy said, “They’re first editions, mac, twenty bucks apiece.” And
so Chester said, “Why are you charging me a hundred and
twelve dollars?” The guy said, “Three of them are autographed.”
Chester said, “Look, I wrote this book.” The guy said, “All Right,
a hundred. I won’t charge you for the autographs.”
– from Praise. © Ecco Press, 1979.
American Poet Robert Hass, born in San Francisco on March 1, 1941, received both an MA and Ph.D. in English from Stanford University.
“Poetry,” he told interviewer David Remnick in the Chicago Review, “is a way of living….a human activity like baking bread or playing basketball.”