Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"A Single, Singular Vibratory Surface"

Cover by Bobo

Ran across an interesting quote from Rene Char on the Counterpoint Press page for his book, Brittle Age and Returning Upland:

When Gustaf Sobin arrived in France at the age of twenty-seven in 1963, he befriended the poet René Char, who, as Sobin writes, "taught me my trade." "René Char taught me, first, to read particulars: that the meticulously observed detail, drawn from nature, could provide the key to the deepest reaches of the imaginary. One and the other, the visible and the invisible, were but the interface of a single, singular, vibratory surface: that of the poem itself."

This, it seems to me, touches the heart of things.

Equipped with this most essential of truths, here's a couple of places you might want to try out your own new work. First. a call for submissions for Simply Haiku:

Simply Haiku-call for submissions:

Submissions are now being accepted for the Autumn issue
of SimplyHaiku. Each member of our editorial staff accepts
submissions forhis or her own genre/section of the journal
which includes haiku,senryu, tanka, haibun, renku,
traditional and modern haiga. Please read the detailed
submission guidelines and selection criteria in our current

and on Facebook at:

Next, a revised schedule, for the tanka journal, Atlas Poetica:


17 June 2009, Perryville, MD, USA

Atlas Poetica : A Journal of Poetry of Place in Modern
English Tanka will be going to a 3x a year publication
schedule in 2010. For the first two years of its existence
it was published 2x a year, but continued growth in
popularity with readers and poets has justified the
increase. ATPO publishes tanka, tanka sequences, tanka
prose, book reviews, announcements, and resources of
interest to tanka poetry of place readers under the
editorship of M. Kei.

ATPO will continue to feature fine art covers drawn
from the galleries of 'Earth as Art', 'Visible Earth,' and
other satellite image galleries produced by NASA, the
USGS, and other US governmental agencies. Each of
these high quality satellite photographs was originally
taken as part of scientific surveys of the Earth but was
deemed to have significant artistic merit in addition to
scientific value. Previous covers have featured the Anti-
Atlas Mountains of Morocco, the Dasht-e Kevir of Iran,
Gosses Bluff, Australia, and the Taz and Yenisey Rivers,

ATPO will continue to publish in an 8.5 " x 11" format
and in order to present as much tanka and related
material as possible in 72 pages. The new publication
schedule takes effect for the 2010 year, and full and
updated guidelines are published at the website.
Potential contributors should be aware that ATPO
normally seeks first world English-language rights,
and publishes in a triple format of printed journal,
e-book, and free online version.

The new publication schedule is:

#5, Spring 2010 – Submit Nov 15, 2009 - Jan 31, 2010.
Publishes March 15, 2010.
#6, Summer 2010 – Submit March 15 - May 31, 2010.
Publishes July 15, 2010.
#7, Autumn 2010 – Submit July 15 - Oct. 31, 2010.
Publishes Nov.15, 2010.

Non-fiction contributors of reviews, articles,
announcements, resources, and other materials
may contribute at any time.

Atlas Poetica : A Journal of Poetry of Place in Modern
English Tanka is published by Modern English Tanka
Press of Baltimore, Maryland.

Modern English Tanka Press
P O Box 437171
Baltimore, MD 21236 USA
Telephone: 443-802-1249

M. Kei
Editor, Atlas Poetica
A Journal of Poetry of Place in Modern English Tanka
Published by Modern English Tanka Press, Baltimore, MD

A note for Brautigan fans out there (and you are legion - ok, so maybe there is 2 or 3 that read this blog): the talented young British novelist, Sarah Hall, has selected Revenge of the Lawn as a Book of a Lifetime in the ongoing UK Independent series. Running across the book in her youth, she describes herself as "a troubled reader, full of north-west rain and rural loneliness." Her article perfectly captures what arrested her in the work then. More importantly, she absolutely nails why this often derided poet and writer is important and why he is still with us today:

What appealed to me then appeals to me now. Brautigan is a folk-artist, a master storyteller, and a master rule-breaker. He isn't coy or transparent. He is enormously ambitious and because of this, occasionally falls off the wire – with exuberant, random metaphors that don't quite work and sentences employed simply to justify a previous whimsy.

But I don't care. I like heart and imperfection. And because of it, the stories never loose their freshness. Revenge of the Lawn remains vibrant, radical and generous: 25 years after his death, Brautigan is still, like his poverty-stricken Oregon typist, "pounding at the gates of American literature".

Thanks, Sarah. It seems there is still hope in "a world gone sad," to quote an old friend and Chicago poet, Steven Doering.

Finally, in the news and info department, troutswirl has pointed us to a fine site of modern haiku, Gendai Haiku. There is much excellent work here to be dipped into. Here's a couple of poems from Ônishi Yasuyo:

Within a pillar of fire
---my station

My bones and cherry blossoms
--reach full bloom

And two from Saitô Sanki:

---at Kohan Tei
scattering hairpins
-fragrant lightning

-embracing, making it
there in the soil
--a sweet potato swells

And one by Hashi Kageo

-------a tendril of
morning glory completes
--the circle of gluttony

Gendai Haiku is a fine site for contemporary haiku and it is well worth a look-see.

There have been some discussions about putting together a 20th anniversary anthology of Lilliput Review and so that, along with two other projects, have put a great deal of strain on the time I devote to, well, everything else. Working on the manuscript has given me a long view of what has gone on here over the years. That, along with the weekly archive postings, daily Twitter tweets (approximately 100 poems posted already since beginning in April), and Issa's Sunday Service selections has really forced me to look very hard at the arc of publications since 1989. I've said in interviews in the past that, in some ways, the mag itself has served as something of a personal journey, almost a personal journal; I believe it has chronicled my own growth as an editor and person, mapping a transition in taste and an overall maturation. The further back I go, the less I find that "holds up," if you will. The core is still there and was, right from the beginning; a poem or two with that certain flash (see Monsieur Char, above), a certain something, but also lots of groping in the dark (which, as we all know, isn't a bad thing per se). This, of course, is no reflection on any of the poets, it is simply a question of a novice editor finding his feet. As a result, I find occasionally only a single poem or two or, in some cases, none at all in any given issue and all this certainly would impact any collection from the first 20 years. Still, I feel I've found an approach to take to the anthology which combines the thematic strength of individual issues with a chronological veracity, giving a solid overall feel and resulting in, hopefully, an enjoyable reading experience.

Translation: I'm going to divide the full run into roughly four chronological periods (i.e. issues 1 to 50, issues 51 to 100 etc.) and edit each chronological section thematically, as I would an issue. It gives me a chance to approach the work anew, re-segueing things to bring out tones and highlights I might have missed previously.

All this is a long, windy (as opposed to winding) way to introducing this week's archive selection from #23, July 1991. Enjoy.

Don and Jean "true love forever" over
sodas at some long ago five and dime,

quiet years quickly passing, evenings
an aging ritual of brown bottle fever,

like the hopelessness of a spider trying
to sting itself in mirror on moonless
t. k. splake

Nature Poem
As a mountain,
I must stand forever.

As a river,
you must wear me down.
Daniel McCaffrey


--the root
--of all prophecy
Charlie Mehrhoff

blown to the big river
floating away...
cherry blossoms
translated by David Lanoue



Charles Gramlich said...

I agree that it all stars with observation, of the world of humans and nature, and the world of our own interior.

Jim H. said...

Thanks for the Sarah Hall reflection on Brautigan. If he were a painter he'd be Kandinsky or Klee -- some if his inventions work, some don't, but...there they are, baby, take a good long look.

Jim Haas

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Thanks, Charles, it's almost as though it all branches out from the most minute detail ...

"There they are, baby, take a good long look."

Oh, yeah!

Greg said...

thanks for the link to Gendai Haiku. i love that Splake line:

"like the hopelessness of a spider trying to sting itself in mirror"

looking forward to a Lilliput anthology....

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Love that line also, Greg ... lots of road to cover before the anthology will see the light of day, including sealing the deal with the interested publisher. We'll see.