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On the Question of Place (or Place Koan)

On the Question of Place (or Place Koan)


A poem in and of translation.


Ongoing edition

4x5.5in - 80pgs



Borne out of this poem:


place means everything / place means nothing

the tension between / we resolve within us


Which I wrote years ago as a sort of aleph, or thesis statement of my book on travel "Pocket Guide to Wandering" (now titled "A Field Companion for Wandering"). To me it represented something fascinatngly confusing about the question of place and being of a place. That we are so defined by our origins and yet we can be displaced, and in that displacement find novel ways of relating to the world. A feeling of homesickness, cultureshock, freedom, rootedness, biology, family, origin and movement... all wrapped into a tidy koan-like fragment that suited me.


This book is the product of translating that small poem into over 60 languages by native speakers. Some translations word for word. Some more based on the spirit of it. Each translation has its own leaf. To flip through the book is to feel the dizzying sense of a shared planet, brought together by our heartfelt experience of being in and of a place.


I believe this is the best travel guide there is. Just arrive to a new region and show this to a local. If they nod and gesture "yes", then you have found a potential friend.


Originally published on its own in early 2021 under the title "Place Koan" as an experiment of 30 copies. One year later, with the encouragement of an old mentor, I've decided to bring it back into the world under slightly different imagery. I hope to keep expanding this little book until it bursts the seams of printable material. If you have a new translation please send it my way.


Conner Bouchard-Roberts

publisher, Winter texts

feb 2022

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