All the Useless Things Are Mine Cover

This is a book of seventeen-word sentences, of aphorisms and otherisms. The aphorisms are in the tradition of Porchia, Blake, The Tao Te Ching, and Wittgenstein. The otherisms find their ancestors in Gertrude Stein, cabaret, Hejinian, haiku, and noir pulp fiction. Arranged thematically to respond to various themes—politics, love and sex, parenthood, the afterlife, etc.—both what’s lofty and lowly are represented in these wildly imaginative and strangely intimate “seventeens.”

At times pithy, poetic, surreal or profane, each line is a concise world of wonder. Here is a collection of seventeen-word landscapes, snapshots and found bits of lint, learning and linden leaves that can be nibbled on, a few at a time, or binged in quick succession.

All the Useless Things Are Mine is illustrated with seventeen etchings and drawings by Douglas Miller, and includes an afterword by Elizabeth Cooperman.


“Lyrical, discerning, amusing; overflowing with Eros, blue skies and happy bees—all vibrating at high, poetic frequency.”

—Alex Stein, editor of Short Circuits: Aphorisms, Fragments and Literary Anomalies

“Though I despise and distrust pablumic book blurbs, these are so marvelous I wish I wrote them.”

Richard Kostelanetz, author of Deeper, Further & Beyond: More Critical Critical Essays

“Elegant and profound, whimsical to the point of daffy, a minesweeper of the mind’s oyster pearl harbor.”

Doug Nufer, author of Metamorphosis

“Bizarreries, poems seen in a flash of lightning, wisecracks, outbreaks of pure wonder—all shorter than this blurb.”

—James Richardson, author of Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays

“Sing, Muse! News, please: What’s Prime, but not Amazon? What’s aptly dizzily heptadecimal, but not Japanese? These.”

—Richard Kenney, author of Terminator

“Reader, prepare yourself for maximal minimalism—call it haiku plus—in these seventeen-word observations laced with humor.”

—Amaranth Borsuk, author of The Book

“Pessoan poetics and absurd humour permeate this collection of bucolic, melancholic blips of concision, precision, and elision.”

M.J. Nicholls, author of Scotland Before the Bomb

“No matter which of the seventeens most appeal to you—the magisterial or the witty—you will likely find yourself affected by this book: you’ll start to see the world as a series of potential seventeens, just waiting to be written. When you leave your quarantine for the world outside, your eyes will scan around, trying to find pieces you can frame within seventeen words. It’s a constraint that is at once a manageable size but also capable of inspiring revelatory moments.”

—Paul Constant in The Seattle Review of Books

“Although [humor] is present throughout the book, the underlying sensibility is meditative. The lasting impression of All the Useless Things is less one of jokiness than of tenderness: for nature, for creation, for language itself…. Walton sounds a note of modesty and throughout the book, the authority he questions is often his own…. There are no pretensions here for uplift, or for Whitmanian bluster, but reading it was, for me, a boost, a reminder of possibilities. This is highly original work by an active, restless mind, aware of the pressures of time.”

—Charles Holdefer in Dactyl Review