In August of 1970, a 28-year-old Lou Reed quit the Velvet Underground, moved home to Long Island, New York, and embarked on a fascinating alternate creative path: poetry. Spending months in relative isolation, the musician refashioned himself, publicly vowing to never again play rock and roll. Reed wrote verse and contributed his work to journals and small press publications. "I'm a poet," he proclaimed from the stage of St. Mark's Church in March 1971. Though his retirement from music wouldn't last--only six months later he began recording his debut solo album--Reed's passionate identification with the written word was solidified, and would last the rest of his life. Gathering poems, photographs and ephemera from this era and featuring a foreword by Anne Waldman and an afterword by Laurie Anderson, this book provides a window to a little-known chapter in the life of one of the most singular and uncompromising voices in American popular culture.