Thursday, September 11, 2008

Basho, Burns, Brautigan, Amy Lowell, and Jacko?

Cover art by John Bennett

Busy, busy times, so posts for the next couple of weeks will be sporadic and brief. The Basho Haiku Challenge is off to a great start, with lots of entries coming in. Thanks very much to Poet Hound, Haiku and Horror , Blogging Along Tobacco Road, and trout fishing in minnesota for getting the word out. I'm sure there are some others, too, that I don't know about, but thanks all.

So, keep the haiku coming in, folks. Instructions may be found at the Basho Haiku Challenge link, above.

And keep spreading the word.

As alluded to above, not much progress on any fronts. I haven't read any fiction in over a month and I am seriously jonesing. When I see the piles as I go room to room, you can't imagine the variety of voices I hear calling to me from every corner: classic, modern, sci-fi, horror, any damn thing. They all want to be read and I want to read them all and the discipline is killing me.

I continue to read, however, for both the haiku challenge and a future Modest Proposal project, two different translations of Basho, one at work and one at home. At home, I'm reading the Jane Reichhold Basho: the Complete Haiku, which is the prize for the challenge and, I'm happy to say, I'm beginning to warm to it a bit. All the translations I've read so far have had one thing to recommend them: specifically, Basho himself. This may seem ludicrous but what I mean specifically is that I seem to be encountering different aspects of the same poet in the different translations. A poem I loved in one translation, I'm indifferent to the next and, of course, vice versa. At work, I'm still reading David Landis Budhill's Basho's Journey which, after the Reichhold, is the most complete and has notes for every poem. They'll be more details on both of these volumes in future posts.

Come mid-October, I hope to be working on the new issues, #'s 165 & 166, along with a new chapbook in the Modest Proposal series, a second volume of translations from 100 Poems by 100 Poets, by Dennis Maloney and Hide Oshiro. This volume will concentrate on poems of nature following the previous Unending Night, which contained love poems.

Jilly Dybka at Poetry Hut has pointed to a beautiful, pointed September poem by one of my favorite poets, Amy Lowell (particularly her shorter poems). Here it is, September, 1918; I think you'll enjoy it.

A Richard Brautigan poem, Star Holes, seems to be making the blog/live journal rounds. This guy just won't lay down and, of course, that's why we love him. Here it is:

Star Holes
I sit here
on the perfect end
of a star,

watching light
pour itself toward

The light pours
itself through
a small hole
in the sky.

I'm not very happy,
but I can see
how things
are faraway.
Richard Brautigan

Finally, in the news of the truly odd, Michael Jackson has reportedly recorded musical versions of the work of Robert Burns. If I didn't read it in The Guardian, I wouldn't have believed it.

You know what: I still don't believe it.

This week's issue from the Lilliput archive is #78 from March 1996.


I sought my heart
among the shadows
and found instead
a burnished leaf
Albert Huffstickler


Drag me in,
you are a night that is just beginning.
You are a room I've seen
but have never slept in.
Your shoulder pushes against
the world's edge, and the sky
scrapes softly on my cheek.
Ali Kress


-----The pulsing
of the soft brown muslin curtain,
for example

And the quietness of rain,
taking you apart
Mark Jackley


Thank You
To the pirate faced biker
streaming slowly down
Marshall Avenue,
colors jazzed in the
night time light,
front wheeled Harley
out to here, black
jacket man with beard
of steel, who saw my
one year old boy craning
in his blue stroller
and waved.
Michael Finley


Poem Inspired by Hokusai, #7
in hell
draws perfect
one inside
the other.
Alan Catlin


When My Ashes Have Cooled Down
Pitch me to the nearest wind.
I'll find my way home.
Bart Solarczyk




Charles Gramlich said...

A lot of good stuff here. Particularly like the ashes poem that ends to post.

Greg Schwartz said...

that's a good Brautigan poem. I think i found it last time you posted about him and i went to look him up. also like Huff's poem.

glad you're liking the Basho. that Haiku Journey sounds like a good book to get.

Ed Baker said...

in this
translation of Basho's
poem #16,322 I intrude

here are 2 of the countless numbers of trans of Basho's Frog Poem:

old pond
frog leaping

trans. Cid Corman, 1988

the old pond-
a frog jumps in,
water's sound

trans. Ueda Makoto,1992

my 1998 'take on this (and there are at least 10 variations):

far beyond frog moon leaps
I cld say more... however
working on five poems
to send to your Basho Contest!

sun and moon
rejection not an issue

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Charles and Greg, I know its hitting on all cylinders when different poems grab different folks -

Ed, love your frog take, sun and moon made me laugh out loud ...


Lana Gramlich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Poet Hound said...

"When My Ashes Have Cooled Down" grabbed my attention, wonderful little poem. Also, happy to get the word out about your contest, hope you receive plenty of entries.

Anonymous said...


I recently received issues #80 and #81 of "Bear Creek Haiku". In a previous post I think you modestly underestimated your talents. These were five very good poems and I hope to see more of your work in the near future.

I also enjoyed Greg Schwartz' two poems in #80 of the same magazine, one of which was featured on the cover of the issue. That was cool!

I procured a copy of Stryk's l985 "Basho" and have just begun to read it. It's quite an attractive book; I found a first-edition hardcover for a very reasonable price.

Best Regards,


Greg Schwartz said...


Glad you enjoyed the poems! "bear creek" is a great little magazine, and I'm always proud to be a part of it.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

PH, "When My Ashes Have Cooled Down" was featured on the back page of issue #78 and is very fine, indeed. Bart Solarczyk is a Pittsburgh poet who can pack both feeling and power into just a few words. Glad everyone liked it. Thanks for the promotion, on your site - I'm getting a healthy selection of work for the Challenge.

Jeffrey, I, too, enjoyed Greg's work in the recent "Bear Creek." Daryl has reinvigorated me toward my own work, for which I am immensely grateful.

Greg, Jeffrey sent along some things for the challenge - how's about you? Here it is again: The Basho Haiku Challenge.


Ed Baker said...

co:incidence just opening

Lucien Stryk/TakashiIkemoto's :

Zen Poems of China and Japan (The Crane's Bill) 1973

this is a book for all "beginners"

losts of familiar names/poets/monks lots I've never heard of

in the "Death" section:

Death sitting,death [standing -
Bone-heap on the earth.
Void somersaults in the [wind-
One final 'kwatz'!

-Koho, 1241-1316

Stryk taught/teaches at (I think) Northern Ill U I am not sure if he is yet breathing in-and-breathing out

Ed Baker said...

those 2wo "[" s shld-not
bee there...

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Stryk's Zen Poems of China and Japan (subtitled the Crane's Bill in some editions) an excellent place to start (and, of course, the journey always finishes where it began - in a damned bath, Issa says!)

Beautiful art and bee poem, thanks for pointing to it ...


Ed Baker said...

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Ed, see also the August post:


Ed Baker said...

I was there,
but, instead
going in-

I went around.

all-ways (this)
just like this mind
just don't know mind:

"what's 'next'?"
"did you eat?"
"clean your bowl!"