Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cid Corman: Yet

I have fond memories of my correspondence with Cid Corman over the years: a generous man, a resonant poet, and an insightful master of life's great mystery.

If you don't know what that great mystery is, pick up a collection of Cid's work and you'll soon find out. You'll find no obfuscating there.

My friends at the local used and rare bookshop, Caliban Books, know something of my tastes and so, one day a year or two back when I stepped in, they handed me the little volume, pictured above, that they had put aside for me when it came in.

And I've been meaning to write about it ever since. 

A tiny little volume that fits nicely in the palm of your hand, yet was published in an edition of 500 copies by Elizabeth Press in New Rochelle, NY, in March 1974, finely stitched as you can see above. It contains 18 poems, if you count the dedication and coda pieces, which I do. And they are little gems, these 18 poems. As an example:

to what

there is
cling to too

There's that mystery, right out of the gate. The final "too" breaks through to where the poem was destined to go, in the process carrying the full weight of its meaning. I thought immediately of Master Bashō's poem about a cricket:

How solitary it is!
Hanging on a nail -
a cricket

And another from Cid:

is the bell of silence



Each word, precisely chosen, precisely placed.  Precise.

Here is a little something a bit unusual for Cid, and beautiful:

and bizzies
making their

to what stands

up to them
as part of
their pursuit

No, those aren't typos in the 1st and 2nd lines. No typos at all.

From bamboo
flask into
bamboo cup

the source of

Though this has little to do with haiku and syllable count, if you look (and listen) closely you will see that Cid's precision is not by any means limited to meaning and particular word selection.

I believe you've got it now. My friends at Caliban are special. A tip o' the hat their way. 

Though a limited edition, as mentioned above, there are 9 copies available through abebooks, most of them in fine condition, ranging with shipping from 13 to 40 dollars, all waiting like a beautifly to settle perfectly in the palm of your hand. There's a couple available via amazon, too, but not in as good a condition, so I'll let you find them yourself.


on the flower pot
does the butterfly, too

hear Buddha's promise?
trans. by David G. Lanoue


PS  Click to learn how to contribute to Wednesday Haiku  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yesha Shah & Sneha Mojumdar: Wednesday Haiku, #205

Photo by Kate Ter Haar

wind blown drizzle-
each bead on the clothes line
a full moon
Yesha Shah

Photo by Lorenzo Scheda

windy day…
the pages turn
to the last line
Sneha Mojumdar 

Artwork by Utagawa Hiroshige (via Brooklyn Museum)

shining up
the evening moon...
autumn wind 
trans. by David G. Lanoue


PS  Click to learn how to contribute to Wednesday Haiku   

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Abra Deering Norton & Ken Sawitri: Wednesday Haiku, #204

Photo by ArTeTeTrA

window of my childhood
open just enough
to hear the rain
Abra Deering Norton

year's end  --
leaking pot patched
by its lime crust
Ken Sawitri

Photo by Yvojoe

village child--
accompanies the earthworms' song
with flute 
trans. by David G. Lanoue


PS  Click to learn how to contribute to Wednesday Haiku  

Sunday, March 15, 2015

John Martone: a sailing book

John Martone never ceases to amaze and possibly the primary reason for this is that he never ceases to surprise, and be surprised.

As happens whenever one of John's books arrives in the mail, I look forward very much to reading and learning from one of the master poets of the short-short form. When I saw the title of this one, a sailing book, I thought, oh, this will be good fun. 

Really, I had no idea.

(If I might digress a moment ... I can see, or maybe I should say hear, you smiling, you long-suffering reader of this blog ... Still, I should mention by way of a disclaimer that, though I don't have much by way of sea legs, I did live in a bungalow right on the eastern edge of our drifting continent for over ten years.

So, really, I should have had some idea.

Thanks for your patience - digression complete.)

The poetry that grabbed me particularly in a sailing book was, of course, the work that didn't go directly over my head, in this case the nautical stuff. It is enough, however, to have a hint of the nautical and, if you are a brief poem fan, this will be right up your tributary.

That's right, with just a hint of nautical experience (long walks on a nearly deserted beach, anyone?) I'll wager you'll still be truly knocked out.

Try these two:

hills around
the lake
slower waves

Right about now, I'm thinking you've got the idea. If you ever puzzled over the wave/particle theory conundrum, this is another angle to come at it from.

Then there's this (italics and font size not in error):

sailors' home
everywhere you look
buddha's image

R. H. Blyth, via Bashō, posited the idea of haiku as a Way to transcendence, for both reader and poet alike, a la The Way of Tea, The Way of the Samurai, and The Way of Flowers (Ikebana). The moment I read this poem I had a feeling, a rare surging feeling of truth, a substantive confirmation of poetry, of haiku, as a path, a way.

If you've ever been in a sailor's home, or even work shack ... well, yes. No image or icon necessary.

The poem that prompted me to ask John if I might discuss a sailing book, and post a couple of poems here on the Hut, was the following modern haibun (included as a photo because I couldn't replicate the layout here - please click to enlarge):

Click image to enlarge

"... Hubble clouds, a million pavilions of a hundred jewels can you see ..." 

Oh, yes, yes ...

There is so much in this fine, precise collection by John that, really, I can't say enough so I will leave it here. 

The work, like many of John's books, is available for a modest price: in this case, $5. 

a sailing book is worth every cent, and much, much more. 

Art from the Internet Book Images
a wind-blown boat
a skylark
crossing paths

trans. by David G. Lanoue


PS  Click to learn how to contribute to Wednesday Haiku 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

old pajamas & Kala Ramesh: Wednesday Haiku, #203

 Photo by Seth Anderson


mad with rust  //  camellias in bloom! 
                                                      ~ old pajamas

Photo by Jans Canon

joggers park
the wind circling leaves
circling the wind
~ Kala Ramesh 

Photo by Andrew

winter wind --
wrapping sardines
in oak leaves
trans. by David G. Lanoue


PS  Click to learn how to contribute to Wednesday Haiku 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

"What Do We Know" - East Window

Above is an image from W. S. Merwin's East Window: The Asian Poems. It is a translation contained in a rather large section of the book which is called "Figures." This particular piece is from the Malay Figures section.

"and what do we know," indeed?

Though a figure, this, as do many other pieces in the figures section, has the feel of brief poetry, this particular poem being almost haiku-like in its execution and sentiment.

betting seashells
gamblers in a frenzy...
plum blossoms
trans. by David G. Lanoue

Photo by Daoan



PS  Click to learn how to contribute to Wednesday Haiku