Previous: Destroying My Router with a Hammer (and etc.)
Next: Intentionally Ignorant: Does Free Will Exist?



View count:166,300
Last sync:2023-06-04 14:30
In which John cannot locate his* copy of the third edition of the Norton Anthology of Poetry.

The poem in question is The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm by Wallace Stevens, and yes, you can read it on the Internet:

(But you can also read it in the third edition of the Norton Anthology of Poetry.)

* Or, some would argue, Chip's.

Subscribe to our newsletter!
And join the community at
Help transcribe videos -
John's twitter -
John's tumblr -
Hank's twitter -
Hank's tumblr -
Good morning Hank, it's Tuesday, I can't find my Norton Anthology of Poetry.

I don't mean *the* Norton Anthology of Poetry
which can be purchased from any bookstore, I mean *my* Norton Anthology of Poetry. Or, more specifically, my friend Chip's Norton Anthology of Poetry that I borrowed from him in 11th grade and then eventually stole.

The 3rd edition of the Norton Anthology of Poetry is a deeply flawed book. For one thing, it contains almost no poems from the last 40 years on account of having been published 35 years ago, but it is *my* deeply flawed book... or at the very least, Chip's.

And I can't find it. One of the central facts of my life is that no matter how many times I reorganize my home library in any given moment, I will not be able to find the book that I desperately need.

Like, I can always find the New York Public Library's guide to organizing your home library... except when I'm embarking on a library reorganization. And I can always find my 9th grade copy of 100 poems by EE Cummings...
except when it's March and I want quote that poem about
Spring being like a "perhaps hand which comes carefully out of Nowhere" etc.

Right now I have no problem locating Everything You Need To Know About The Goth Scene, I can find plenty of copies of the Swedish edition of Turtles All The Way Down, and its AMAZING cover, but I can not find my Norton Anthology of Poetry.

It's not with the poetry, It's not with the Hot Wheels Ultimate track, it's not in the bookshelf behind our bed
And it's not in the background of this video set... although while we're here...

Two books I've really enjoyed reading recently are
this extraordinarily engrossing biography of Joseph Conrad, which are not words I ever thought I would say.

And Dactyl Hill Squad which doesn't come out until September but I've been reading an advanced copy with Henry. It's about orphans in the Civil War who ride dinosaurs and IT IS AMAZING.

But that is a tangent WHERE IS MY Norton Anthology of Poetry! I mean this is ridiculous. I've been looking for my Norton Anthology of Poetry for an entire day I haven't been able to write a Vlogbrothers script because I've been looking for my Norton Anthology of Poetry, which, ergo, *has* to become the topic of today's Vlogbrothers video. IT'S A THREE POINT TWO POUND BOOK. Nobody like takes a 3.2 pound book on vacation and leaves it there.

And yes I know that I could just Google the poem I want to read but I don't *want* to Google it, I want to read it in my Norton Anthology of Poetry which HAS to be somewhere in this house I mean it's not like I would have taken it out of the h- ... [whispered] wait a second
Could it be at the office?

Okay I'm going to drive to the office to look for my Norton Anthology of Poetry and if I don't find it I *am* going to let it go... Maybe.

I'm on my way to my office. C'mon, big money, no whammies!

YES! YES! YES! My Norton Anthology of Poetry!YEEEEAAAASSSSSS

The house was quiet and the world was calm. The reader became the book; and summer night Was like the conscious being of the book. The house was quiet and the world was calm. The words were spoken as if there was no book, Except that the reader leaned above the page, Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom The summer night is like a perfection of thought. The house was quiet because it had to be. The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind: The access of perfection to the page. And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world, In which there is no other meaning, itself Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

Oh! it's every bit as good as I remember and just what I needed today. Hank, I will see you on Friday.