Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Ferlinghetti of the Mind, Mr. Brautigan's Salmon Sonnet Extravaganza and Huff & Issa: The Road Movie

Cover by Wayne Hogan

This is the 50th anniversary of the publication of one of the books on the Near Perfect Books of Poetry list: A Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. This is one of the very first books of poetry I remember just pulling me in and, somehow, I just knew this was for me. Here, in celebration of the man and his body of work, both as poet and publisher, is a reading in the "Lunch Poems" series at the Morrison Library of the University of California, Berkeley, from 2005:

If you can hang in until the end, there is a very powerful anti-war poem, "The History of the Airplane." At 85, he hasn't lost a step.

Least we forget, there is always the City Lights Bookstore, the premiere independent bookshop in the US. Since lots of folks are beginning to realize the repercussions of the phenomenon and the fall out from some of its recent strong arm tactics with publishers and merchants, both here and abroad, it might be a fine thing if we all make a special effort to continue to support our local independents and national treasures like City Lights. Yeah, you lose the deep discount, but that's all you lose.

That's all you lose.

Here's a poem with Ferlinghetti's signature gentle, insightful touch:

Allen Ginsberg Dying

Allen Ginsburg is dying

It's all in the papers
It's on the evening news
A great poet is dying
But his voice
won't die
His voice is on the land
In Lower Manhattan
in his own bed
he is dying
There is nothing
to do about it
He is dying the death that everyone dies
He is dying the death of a poet
He has a telephone in his hand
and he calls everyone
from his bed in Lower Manhattan
All around the world
late at night
the telephone is ringing
"This is Allen"
The voice says
"Allen Ginsburg calling"
How many times have they heard it
over the long great years
He doesn't have to say Ginsburg
All around the world
in the world of poets
There is only one Allen
"I wanted to tell you" he says
He tells them what's happening
what's coming down
on him
Death the dark lover
going down on him
His voice goes by satellite
over the land
over the Sea of Japan
where he once stood naked
trident in hand
like a young Neptune
a young man with black beard
standing on a stone beach
It is high tide and the seabirds cry
The waves break over him now
and the seabirds cry
on the San Francisco waterfront
There is a high wind
There are great white caps
lashing the Embarcadero
Allen is on the telephone
His voice is on the waves
I am reading Greek poetry
The sea is in it
Horses weep in it
The horses of Achilles
weep in it
here by the sea
in San Francisco
where the waves weep
they make a sibilant sound
a sibylline sound
they whisper

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, April 4, 1997

If you have a chance, check out Anne Stevenson's poem, "Living in America," which was featured this week on The Writer's Almanac. There also is a great little article on departing poet laureate, Charles Simic, one of my favorite contemporary poets.

If you can't make it up to Alaska this weekend, here's a little notice of something of interest that we might think about in passing during the day Sunday:


1pm: 18TH ANNUAL RICHARD BRAUTIGAN & DICK WHITAKER MEMORIAL TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA POETRY SLAM & "SALMON SONNET" CONTEST at The New York Cafe, 207 Stedman St. Sponsored by Soho Coho Gallery, Parnassus Books, and The New York Cafe.

But why just think, let's feel too:

The Sidney Greenstreet Blues

I think something beautiful
and amusing is gained
by remembering Sydney Greentstreet,
but it is a fragile thing.

The hand picks up a glass.
The eye looks at the glass
and then hand, glass and eye
---fall away.
Richard Brautigan

Sometimes, the idea of the Net really pulls things together, other times it just seems like the big mystery that life is. For instance, what's up with blog alerts pinging items posted years ago? I certainly don't know but one thing I can say is that the random chaos of life, and so too the net, is sometimes very lyrical, indeed. I got beeped with this this past week and thought, ah, Huff's last poem. The tone, the feel, is of the old zen masters, composing their deathbed poems. Huff's manages summarizing the main concern of all his work: home, or the lack thereof:

Tired of being loved,
Tired of being left alone.
Tired of being loved,
Tired of being left alone.
Gonna find myself a place
Where all I feel is at home.
Albert Huffstickler

Issa's death poem, too, sums up his own personalized approach, full of humor and sadness

A bath when you're born,
A bath when you die,
how stupid.
Issa translated by Robert Hass

Continuing the project of providing sample poems from back issues and filling in the Back Issue Archive over at the Lilliput homepage, here's some work from issue #101, originally published back in January, 1999:

the circle so large
the curve imperceptible
we think we're moving
straight ahead
Julius Karl Schauer


will protect us
from the darkness
but what will shield
us from the light?
Karl Koweski


The Letter M
The letter M
in green spray paint
on the gnarled bark
of a tall pine tree
its stately boughs
whispering quietly
in the afternoon breeze
is way too long for
a haiku but still
pretty fucking succinct.
Mark Terrill


another midnight
bare bulb illuminating

the back door of a slaughterhouse
M. Kettner


Later this week, I may have news about a contemporary poetry book I actually enjoyed.

Till next time,

Note: If you would like to receive the two current issues of Lilliput 
Review free (or have your current subscription extended two issues),
just make a suggestion of a title or titles for the Near Perfect Books
of Poetry
page, either in a comment to this post, in email to lilliput
review at gmail dot com, or in snail mail to the address on the

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Anne Sexton on Writer's Almanac

For those unfamiliar with Anne Sexton, whose Selected Poems is on the "Near Perfect" list, there is this, from this morning's Writer's Almanac:

Locked Doors

For the angels who inhabit this town,
although their shape constantly changes,
each night we leave some cold potatoes
and a bowl of milk on the windowsill.
Usually they inhabit heaven where,
by the way, no tears are allowed.

They push the moon around like
a boiled yam.
The Milky Way is their hen
with her many children.
When it is night the cows lie down
but the moon, that big bull,
stands up.

However, there is a locked room up there
with an iron door that can't be opened.
It has all your bad dreams in it
It is hell.
Some say the devil locks the door
from the inside.
Some say the angels lock it from
the outside.
The people inside have no water
and are never allowed to touch.
They crack like macadam.
They are mute
They do not cry help
except inside
where their hearts are covered with grubs.

I would like to unlock that door,
turn the rusty key
and hold each fallen one in my arms
but I cannot, I cannot.
I can only sit here on earth
at my place at the table.
Anne Sexton

This encapsulates so much of her profound work, vacillating between child-like fable and hellish nightmare, all in modern vernacular, this time with a somewhat uncharacteristic wish for redemption.

As powerful as it gets ...


Saturday, July 26, 2008

50 Near Perfect Books of Poetry

For those who contributed, have been following or are just interested in the idea, the Near Perfect Books of Poetry list has hit 50 titles. I've begun to receive contributions from offline readers of Lilliput Review, so the list will continue to grow as long as I continue to receive nominations. Suggestions may be sent to lilliput review at gmail dot com and for your efforts you will receive the two current issues of Lilliput Review for free. If you are currently a subscriber, your subscription will be extended by two issues. So, here's the 50 near perfect books of poetry and good reading ...

The List

Chrysanthemum Love by Fay Aoyagi

Basho And His Interpreters by Makoto Ueda

Silence In The Snowy Fields by Robert Bly

The Pill Versus The Springhill Mine Disaster by Richard Brautigan

Thirst by Patrick Carrington

And Her Soul Out of Nothing by Olena Kalytiak Davis

Variations by Bill Deemer

Miracles of the Sainted Earth by Victoria Edwards Tester

The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot

Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover's Hand by Martin Espada

Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlighetti

West-Running Brook by Robert Frost

Essential Haiku edited by Robert Hass

Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes

A Few Flies and I: Haiku by Issa

Book of Haikus by Jack Kerouac

The Haiku Anthology, 3rd edition, edited by Cor van den Heuvel

Letters to Yesenin by Jim Harrison

book of resurrection by mark hartenbach

My Life by Lyn Hejinian

Weary Blues by Langston Hughes

Pleasure Dome by Yusef Komunyakaa

For the Union Dead by Robert Lowell

Verso by Pattie McCarthy

dogwood & honeysuckle by john martone

The Vixen by W. S. Merwin

Forever Home by Lenard D. Moore

The Dillinger Books (various) by Todd Moore

100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda

Strike Sparks by Sharon Olds

The Ink Dark Moon by Onono Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, translated by Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani

Right under the big sky, I don't wear a hat, by Hosai Ozaki, translated by Hiroaki Sato

Raising the Dead by Ron Rash

The Waiting Room at the End of the World by Jeff Rath

One Hundred Poems from the Chinese tr. by Kenneth Rexroth

New Poems (1908), the Other Part by Rainer Maria Rilke (tr. Snow)

The Concrete River by Luis Rodriquez

Say Uncle by Kay Ryan

Chicago Poems by Carl Sandburg

Grass and Tree Cairn by Santoka, translated by Hiroaki Sato

The Morning of a Poem by James Schuyler

Selected Poems by Anne Sexton

The Sonnets by William Shakespeare

Elements of San Joaquin by Gary Soto

Harmonium by Wallace Stevens

Collected Poems - Dylan Thomas

Here, Bullet by Brian Turner

Leaves of Grass - Walt Whitman

The Prelude - William Wordsworth

The Tower by W. B. Yeats



Friday, July 25, 2008

Brautigan Redux ...

Here's a quick update to yesterday's posting about Richard Brautigan and the film Tarpon, sent along by regular reader Walter from across the big pond. Check out the screenplay section of the Brautigan homepage:

There is a short excerpt from the film, plus some other footage. Don't miss the little 5 minute film of B. interviewing 5 year old Ellen about what she would like to see on an imaginary television.

And, of course, since we're here and talking films and Mr. B., the opportunity can't be passed up:

The Necessity of Appearing in Your Own Face

There are days when that is the last place
in the world where you want to be but you
have to be there, like a movie, because it
-----it features you.
Richard Brautigan
from Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork

Thanks again, Walter.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Brautigan Goes Fishing and Gary Hotham Lands One

Cover by Harland Ristau

I have a favorite poem from one of the books suggested for the Near Perfect Books of Poetry list: it's from Silence in the Snowy Fields, which I read this week:

"Taking My Hands"

Taking the hands of someone you love,
You see they are delicate cages ...
Tiny birds are singing

In the secluded prairies

And in the deep valleys of the hand.
Robert Bly

Gary Hotham's "Modest Proposal" chapbook, Missed Appointment, has been featured in a posting from David Giacalone's f/k/a, my favorite blog of haiku and legal issues (you read that right). A nice selection of five poems from the chap that's worth a look see. As mentioned in a previous post here, Gary's book has been awarded an honorable mention in the Haiku Society of America's annual Kanterman Memorial Book Awards. Copies are available for the always low price of $3.00.

In what's got to be the odd news of the week comes a report that a fishing video, circa 1974, going by the name Tarpon, has just been released. Perhaps it's not so odd that a fishing video from 1974 should come out on DVD, considering the monumental environmental shifts that have occurred in the last 35 years. What is odd is that the video features Thomas McGuane, Richard Brautigan, and Jim Harrison.


Well, yeah, it's true. Here's a review of the DVD release posted at the blog of, featuring a great Brautigan quote. The other review at MidCurrent posits that this is some of the only film footage of Mr. B., which I can't confirm but sounds about right to me (a quick check of the Internet Archive came up a zero; at youtube, lots of folks have put Brautigan audio to their own films but no actual B footage). Collectors, dust off those credit cards!

In a biggish British brouhaha over poetry, I believe I'll come down on the side of AB FAB actress Joanna Lumley. Seems to me that as far as "The Poets" are concerned, it's all just hard cheese.

John Harter is still on my mind. Here's his obit from the Everett Washington Herald:

"December 1940 to May 2008

We have lost a great N.W. artist, John Harter, and we will miss him. He is survived by two sisters; and one brother; plus many other family members and friends.

A Celebration of his Life and Art will be held starting at 3 p.m., on July 19, 2008, in his sister's garden."

We should all be remembered so well.

Some back issue news. In a moment of clerical inspiration, I decided to hypertext the back issues featured in the (mostly) Thursday weekly postings here at IUH, plus the postings from the old Beneath Cherry Blossoms blog and index them on the Lillput Review Archive page at the Lillie website, to come up with a one stop MegaArchive. Ok, the name's a tad hyperbolic but at the link you can find sample poems from 55 back issues of Lilliput Review, somewhere between 150 and 200 poems.

The plan now is to continue to index these weekly samplings on that page and provide a portal to some fine short poetry. Right now, I'm going to start filling in some issues I've missed in the transition between blogs and then resume the countdown, which is pausing at #81, when that's finished.

So, this week's feature issue is #102, from January 1999
, and it starts with a mix of metaphor (as opposed to a mixed metaphor) and philosophy:

Thirst Logic

All poems
should have blood.

If not blood,
water. If not

water, a mouth,
some teeth, a voice,

a predilection
for love.
Ken Waldman


Dangerous kisses
pull us closer to heaven
Nowhere left to go
Kate Isaacson


Fact of Life

driven into green wood
will loosen
and back out.
Graham Duncan



Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Reminder, a Rejoiner, and Some Razzmatazz: Whitman, Issa, & Williams

You know good old Father Walt can be counted on when the chips are
down and everybody else is throwing around the oblique metaphors.
him together with Issa and you've got a couple of good traveling

To the States

To the States or any one of them, or any city of the States, Resist
----much, obey little,
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved,
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever
----afterward resumes its liberty.
Walt Whitman

Hurry into mist
hurry, hurry!
a bird set free
translated by David Lanoue

This morning while listening to some Charlie Parker I ran across some
solid razzmatazz from William Carlos Williams. These two poems are
examples of why a great deal of poetry must be heard (many
thanks to PennSound). Who knew what
a spit fire the diminutive
Doctor was?

The Defective Record

Shoot It, Jimmy!

And who can't hear that beautiful Bird trilling "Go, Go, Go ...."?


Note: If you would like to receive the two current issues of Lilliput
Review free (or haveyour current subscription extended two issues),
just make a suggestion of a title or titles for the Near Perfect Books
of Poetry
page, either in a comment to this post, in email to lilliput
review at gmail dot com, or in snail mail to the address on the

Thursday, July 17, 2008

John Harter, Artist and Poet: In Memory

Cover art by John Harter

Over the past few days, I have been thinking of a wide variety of topics that I might consider today: the recent run of bad contemporary poetry books (or perhaps my own irascibility), the fact that today marks the one year anniversary of the combined Beneath Cherry Blossoms and Issa's Untidy Hut blogs, the war etc., along with a few others. Did I mention the paucity of good contemporary poetry books (or at least ones I've run into)?

Unfortunately, my topic found me.

When I opened yesterday's mail first thing this morning, I learned of the death of artist/poet John Harter. John was a longtime contributor to Lilliput, of both poetry and art.
John's work first appeared in LR #98, back in July 1998, ten years ago this month. The cover above is for #163, one of the two current issues just getting ready to go out in the mail.

This cover is a perfect example of John's work. If you look very closely, you will see some parallel vertical lines running beside and through the word "Sing": this is not sloppy scanning on my part but the postmark to the envelope/artwork John sent his work in (and on). Here's another example from an earlier post and issue:

Once again you may see that the artwork is part of the envelope, this time the Warhol stamp being used for postage is also the head of the drawn skeleton.

With his poetry, John was no less unique. Almost all of his work was done in caps, with his own eccentric spellings. At the risk of cliché, I will say that his poetry was most zen-like. As I said in the online Guest Book in his memory at the Everett Washington Daily Herald:

His words arrested the reader. They made s/he stop and think about the context of things, all things, and how we do and don't fit into that context.

Rather than the usual Thursday post from a back issue of Lilliput, I thought I'd highlight a small selection of work, from the over 20 poems John shared with Lillie readers over the years, as a celebration of his life, work and memory.



























Bear, you're in my thoughts.

John, rest in peace, brother.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Bastille Day, Judy Collins, Baudelaire, James Merrill and All That

Every Bastille Day, the first thing I do is put on the album (or tape or, today, cd) In My Life by Judy Collins that contains the song "Marat/Sade" from the Peter Weiss play "The Persecution and Assassination of Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade" or, as it is more succinctly known, "Marat/Sade." Here's the lyric, composed and written by Adrian Mitchell and Richard Peaslee, that perfectly captures the hope, pain, and ultimate failure of all political folly. It resonated throughout the 60's when it was first produced, simultaneously prophetic and mirroring the true insanity that one felt living through those marvelous, horrible times.

Did I say hope? Yeah, hope.

Via snail mail, correspondent Charles L. suggested some insightful connections (or, at least, synaptic crackling) between Stéphane Mallarmé's "Le Tombeau de Charles Baudelaire (The Tomb of Charles Baudelaire)" and David Chorlton's "Paginnini," which was previously posted here. So, here's the Mallarmé for comparison. He takes the connections even further with James Merrill's "Lorelei:"


The stones of kin and friend
Stretch off into a trembling, sweatlike haze.

They many not after all be stepping-stones
But you have followed them. Each strands you, then

Does not. Not yet. Not here.
Is it a crossing? Is there no way back?

Soft gleams lap the base of the one behind you
On which a black girl sings and combs her hair.

It's she who some day (when your stone is in place)
Will see that much further into the golden vagueness

Forever about to clear. Love with his chisel
Deepens the lines begun upon your face.

The Mallarmé is a bit of a muddle for me; I read three translations of this and couldn't really put it all together, but I've never really connected with his work. The link is to Anthony Kline's translation and I felt it was the clearest. After 5 or 6 readings, I think the Merrill is outstanding and feel the Chorlton and Mallarmé helped me appreciate it more (oh, yeah, there's some irony there and I've got to say it may touch upon the essence of what poetry really is or can be). Thanks, Charles.

All in all, though, it just feels like Monsieur Baudelaire should have the last word on this:

The Flask

So I, when vanished from man's memory
Deep in some dark and somber chest I lie,
An empty flagon they have cast aside,
Broken and soiled, the dust upon my pride,
Will be your shroud, beloved pestilence!
The witness of your might and virulence,
Sweet poison mixed by angels; bitter cup
Of life and death my heart has drunken up!

Finally, over the weekend I spent a bit of time updating the back issue archive at the Lilliput homepage. There are now sample poems from over 50 issues located there. I've created a section of link backs to the blog (and its former incarnation, Beneath Cherry Blossoms) so the samples in postings may now all be found in one place indexed by issue number.

With all this heady Mallarmé, Baudelaire, and Merrill, it's time to clear the cobwebs. Let's end with The Hut's laconically precise proprietor:

today again
death draws nearer...
the wildflowers

Issa translated by David Lanoue


PS. Looking back at Beneath Cherry Blossoms as I did over the weekend, I realized that July 17th will be the 1 year anniversary of the combined Lilliput blogs. Party time!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wendell Berry, Madam Marie, and the Summarize Monsieur Proust in Two Words (Or Less) Contest

Cover art by Oberc

A couple of interesting tidbits, if not poetic than certainly lyrical. First a very powerful interview with Wendell Berry in The Sun should be required reading for everyone. It's long and it's worth it. Second, sad news in the cultural icon department, as reported by the Asbury Park Press: Madam Marie has passed away at the age of 93. Here's a note by Bruce from his homepage:

Back in the day when I was a fixture on the Asbury Park boardwalk, I'd often stop and talk to Madam Marie as she sat on her folding chair outside the Temple of Knowledge.

I'd sit across from her on the metal guard rail bordering the beach, and watched as she led the day trippers into the small back room where she would unlock a few of the mysteries of their future. She always told me mine looked pretty good - she was right. The world has lost enough mystery as it is - we need our fortunetellers. We send our condolences out to her family who've carried on her tradition. Over here on E Street, we will miss her.

--Bruce Springsteen

As someone who did plenty of time in Asbury Park and saw many a so-called renaissance of the town come and go, the death of Madam Marie, her passing, resonants in many ways.

Today is the birthday of someone who, after many years, has become my favorite writer: Marcel Proust. In homage to Monty Python's The All-England Summarize Proust Competition, the website TEMPSPERDU.COM has a webpage of two, three, four, five etc. word summaries of Proust (all 3,000 plus pages) submitted by visitors to their site. Cliff's Notes could learn a thing or two about summarizing from these folks. I particularly love the two word summaries and can't decide which is my favorite: "Goodnight Mama", "Mmmm ... cookies", "Society sucks", or "Time flies."

Contributor copies of the new issues of Lilliput Review, #'s 163 and 164, went out this week. I will begin working on the subscription run this weekend. Typically, with poetry to read and letters to write, it takes me 6 or so weeks to get the full run out. Such is the life of a small press editor. #163 features poems by:

Yosano Akiko (Dennis Maloney translations), John Martone, Marcia Arrieta, Ed Baker, Hosho McCreesh, Bart Solarczyk, Paul Hostovsky, Kevin Richard Jones, Constance Campbell, Greg Watson, George Gott, Jeffrey Skeate, Alan Holder, Kelley Jean White, Mary Rooney, Lâle Müldür (translated by Donny Smith), Mike Dillon, Joseph Farley, Shey Galib (translated by Donny Smith), and Diane di Prima. Artwork is by John Harter, Edward O'Durr Supranowicz, and Guy Beining.

If anyone has contact info on Edward O'Durr Supranowicz, I could use it to get him his contributor copies. I don't have an address for him.

In #164, poems are by: Diane di Prima, John Martone, Greg Watson, Charlie Mehrhoff, Janet Baker, Paul Hostovsky, LeRoy Gorman, Hosho McCreesh, David Gross, Charles Nevsimal, Hugh Hennedy, Kelley Jean White, Ruben T. Abeyta, Wayne Hogan (also responsible for the artwork), M. Kei, David Lindley, Judy Swann, Mark J. Mitchell, Jacquelyn Bowen Aly, M. Kettner, Marcelle H. Kasprowicz, David Chorlton, Jessica Harman, Bart Galle, and Michael Wurster.

This week's back issue feature from the Lillie archive is #81 from August 1996 (who remembers that a former NFL quarterback was nominated by the Republicans for vice-president?). Here are a couple of samples:

Love in the Warm Sweet Air of Springtime

Sheets loosen
fall to the floor
the lamps tip
magazines slip
everything is touched
everything is moved.

Janell Moon

oh touch me you fool

and for all he's worth
his fingers fall like
pale leaves into the
wet autumn of spring

Angel D. Zapata

typical male

here I am
getting that
dog shit
creeping out
from under the snow
out of my system

Matt Welter

And, you know, sometimes there is the beauty of serendipity or, as Jung would have it, synchronicity. I literally came across the following two poems in this issue after I'd written the above. The first is a nod to the Madam, RIP, the second needs no explanation beyond the fact that it was a "Brobdingnag Feature Poem," an occasional feature wherein the poet is permitted to go beyond the usual 10 line limit. Enjoy.

Columbus Avenue

Sidewalk slick with rain,
the fortune teller's daughter
sits barefoot in a doorway,
her painted toes curl in moist air.
The florist flirts, sells me white flowers,
casablanca lilies, he likes saying.
A street singer cries through this thick air,
he beats good rhythm on his thighs
and I give him money, of course I do.

Lonnie Hull Dupont


He wrote and
rewrote the
last of Remembrance
in bed, taped
changes on
to changes, some
paper accordion
folded out
across the
room with penned
He died days later,
the manuscripts
still near the
bed like a
ticking watch on
the wrist of
a dead soldier.

Lyn Lifshin

Oh, I can't end that way, that's too many lines:

the fate of the tang dynasty

ink died
sparrow lives

W. B. Keckler

That's better.


Note: If you would like to receive the two current issues of Lilliput 
Review free (or haveyour current subscription extended two issues),
just make a suggestion of a title or titles for the Near Perfect Books
of Poetry
page, either in a comment to this post, in email to lilliput
review at gmail dot com, or in snail mail to the address on the

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tom Disch and More Endangered Book Stores

A couple of news items on the bookstore front about more closings since the Cody's post: The Strand in New York has decided to close its annex in Lower Manhattan; the main store at Broadway and 12th, a bookstore mecca known worldwide, is unaffected.

Here is an impassioned (if slightly under lit) appeal by Ray Bradbury to keep open Acres of Books in Long Beach, CA. This is why this man is a hero to so many folks:

I ran across some other videos of Ray talking about libraries that I'll save for another time or perhaps post at the library blog (Eleventh Stack) sometime soon.

In much sadder news, it seems that Tom Disch (here is a nice overview of his work from a few years back) has decided to go out his own way. If you've never read him, take Cory Doctorow's advice in this obituary and seek out 334 or Camp Concentration. True classics, from a speculative fiction author that pushed the boundaries in all directions of the compass. Disch was a formalist poet and quite accomplished. He was elitist in that and his opinion about the popularization of poetry I disagreed with. He suffered no fools, evidently to a fault. I'll not speak ill here.

Among the new wave of 60's science fiction innovators - Delany, Russ, Tiptree, Ellison, Dick - he was one of a kind.


Note: If you would like to receive the two current issues of Lilliput 
Review free (or haveyour current subscription extended two issues),
just make a suggestion of a title or titles for the Near Perfect Books
of Poetry
page, either in a comment to this post, in email to lilliput
review at gmail dot com, or in snail mail to the address on the

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dalai Lama and Issa

Today is the birthday of one of the most revered people on the planet: the Dalai Lama. Here is an Issa poem, one little candle on the cake of infinity:


spring peace--
last year which tree root
was my pillow?

translated by David Lanoue


May we all get his birthday wish.


Note: If you would like to receive the two current issues of Lilliput 
Review free (or have your current subscription extended two issues),
just make a suggestion of a title or titles for the Near Perfect Books
of Poetry
page, either in a comment to this post, in email to lilliput
review at gmail dot com, or in snail mail to the address on the

Thursday, July 3, 2008

An Award for Gary Hotham, Franz Kafka, and The Other Place

Cover art by the late, great Harland Ristau

Some great news: Missed Appointment by Gary Hotham has been awarded an Honorable Mention in this year's Haiku Society of America's Mildred Kanterman Memorial Merit Book Awards. The awards were announced at the June meeting of the Haiku Society of America and the full list of award winners will appear in the autumn issue of frogpond. As a publication of Lilliput's "Modest Proposal Chapbook Series," it is a great honor for the press.

Most importantly, however, this award highlights the unflagging quality of one of the best artists writing in the haiku form today. Gary has always been extremely generous with his work with the micropress that is Lilliput Review and it means a great deal to me to see him so honored. Congrats, Gary! Stay tuned for additional news about the awards as it becomes available.

As part of a comment to Wednesday's post about Hermann Hesse, I've posted some info on the 4 poetry books translated into English (in the post, I said 3 and I was only partially right) as a comment to that post.

In other Lillie news, I think I neglected to mention that the always informative Poet Hound posted an insightful review of issue #161 on June 24th. The Hound regularly features markets for poetry and interesting poems from around the web and is worthwhile reading on a regular basis.

Since the bad news on the bookstore front about Cody's, here's some positive news about a poetry bookstore in Seattle.

A wonderful little poem by Naomi Shihab Nye about outdistancing loneliness was posted yesterday on the Writer's Almanac, along with the news that it's Franz Kafka's birthday. Celebrate the later (well, the former, too, come to think about it) by reading something from this parcel of translations from The Kafka Project. Today's poem on Writer's Almanac really set me back on my heels: it's a public domain work entitled "Quiet After the Rain of Morning" by Joseph Trumbull Stickney, a poet I didn't know. It reads the way you would expect a public domain poem by an "unknown" poet to read, perhaps a bit above average: lyrical, wistful in an almost nostalgic way, all the way down to the very last word. But, oh, that last word!

Lastly in the news department, if you are interested in the creative process, do not miss the Lynda Barry interview at The Comics Reporter. If you don't know her work or even if you do and don't like her, you just have to read how she describes getting to that "other place" from which the work flows. Absolutely spot-on.

This week's feature issue from the Lilliput Review archive is #82, from August 1996 (can it really be 16 years ago?!). The issue opened with a one-two punch:



reality is
the metal all
the maya is
made of

Steven M. Thomas

w/only the moisture of our breath
against the metal of it,
eventually the beast, he'll rust away.



Wayne Hogan reels us back in with a statement that could serve as his manifesto of the art we've come to know and love:

More Black-And-White Checks

One of my
jobs in life as
I see it is to put more
black-and-white checks
in things, and fish, and
starry night skies with
quarter-moons, too.

Wayne Hogan

It seems this was one of those issues that was just packed with moment after shining moment:


Start with some sort of a rock
plant grows from rock
animal eats plant
person eats animal
person gets incinerated
Start with some sort of rock

Beaird Glover


I leave grief behind
No more than crescent thumbnail
on a soft-skinned pear.

Marianne Stratton

And a final one-two:

My webbed fingers
wave in recognition--
air is melted water.

Doug Flaherty


she smokes a teakwood pipe
dark pond eyes laugh
-------------hit by wind

Tim Bellows


Posted July 4th, started July 3rd, hence the erroneous header date, courtesy of Blogger, in case you like to keep your "yesterdays" and "todays" straight.

Till next time,

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hermann Hesse and Evil Times

Today is the anniversary of the birth of one of my favorite writers, Hermann Hesse. Over the years I've read lots about his irrelevance, about his rise in popularity during a time of wild-eyed, romantic enthusiasm, which has since dimmed in what I believe he would characterize as the shadow of lost dreams. He always considered himself a poet first and foremost and we have only 3 slim volumes of verse in English. In recent years, I have reread the major works and am happy to report that, unlike the wild-eyed romantic enthusiasm of an entire generation, they have not dimmed. He lived through tumultuous times and here is a short poem of his, translated by the incomparable James Wright, that captures the dark times through which we are currently passing as well as it does his own:


Evil Time

Now we are silent
And sing no songs anymore,
Our pace grows heavy;
This is the night, that was bound to come.

Give me your hand,
Perhaps we still have a long way to go.
It's snowing, it's snowing.
Winter is a hard thing in a strange country.

Where is the time
When a light, a hearth burned for us?
Give me your hand!
Perhaps we still have a long way to go.

Hermann Hesse


For more on Hesse, with a short, brilliant poetry excerpt, check out today's Writer's Almanac. Pictured at the beginning of this post is one of the excellent covers for Hesse's works by Milton Glaser.