February 19th 2016

I was dog tired when I wrote last night’s haiku. I fell asleep, then woke myself. I didn’t know what else to write besides the haiku. I remember being in love, young, jesting with a girl the way I’d jest with a boy, and hurting her. I’d apologize with a kiss.
Last night’s comment—that the poetry of many haijin can be hard to track down—reminded me why I stopped pursuing publication. Poetry seems to disappear once its published. I would rather poetry be found and freely read.
When I was ten years old my friends next door made a fort under a stairway and decided not to let me in. I picked up a hammer and nails for the first time. I built my own fort. It wasn’t beautiful but it stood for many years. Later, when I was writing poetry, I used to submit poems to any number of publishers. They all rejected me. I suppose, in starting my blog, I built my own fort.
····of a coywolf—the frosted window
········at midnight
I heard coywolves last night, out in the back woods. They always wake me. Their cries made the frost in the window seem that much colder and harder.
105 February 19th 2016 | bottlecap

7 responses

  1. In a similar childhood situation, I destroyed a treehouse via fun with a pry bar. Nowadays, I wish I could take a pry bar to the notion of Tyler Knott Gregson’s literary genius.

    • Had to look him up to remind myself who he is. I looked at his stuff several years ago. I remember thinking what a great idea the slips of paper were—and the typewriter. I considered doing the same myself but decided fussing over presentation wasn’t my thing—writing was. In the meantime I think he’s given up on the typewriter, if not years ago. His typewritten letters are forged documents: text digitally pasted on paper images.

      I learned to type on my grandmother’s 1940’s Smith Corona. Breaks my heart that I don’t have it now, but I do have another one, in beautiful condition and from the same era. The problem with many of Gregson’s typewritten “poems” is how close he manages to get to the bottom of the page. Normally, if you tried to type that close to the bottom edge the paper would slip out of the roller. You’d have to hold the paper by hand, typing with the other; and that always makes the line uneven. So, I think he’s lying about using a typewriter, but more power to him. That’s how you sell yourself.

      More to the point: There’s no literary value to what he writes. And I don’t think any Japanese poet would consider his three line missives haiku. They have nothing in common with that tradition, and not even with Senryu. He’s a good photographer though, and has a good graphics-design eye. His “poems” are all about presentation. The really interesting question is why such an obviously third-rate writer is such a success. And it’s probably the same reason M&Ms are hard to keep on the shelf (despite having zero nutritional content). They’re bright. They colorful. They’re candy. They’re easy to munch. And as long as you don’t eat more than a handful, they’re easy to forget.

  2. I am really enjoying your Haiku, my personal preference would be to have it as a collection but realize this is a whole lot of work for not much gain (creatively or financially).

    I have issues reading poetry on screen. With Haiku, not so much, but with longer poetry I have to take it to paper or an ebook.

    I find that having it on a website means that I have a tendency to say to myself “this work will always be here I will direct my attention to other works that might disappear”. This may or may not be reality and I have certainly followed your blog for a good six years. But I have a feeling that there’s an illusion of permanence offered by the internet.

    For similar reasons it took me years to purchase a collection of Robert Frost’s because I assumed that he would always be in print. The end result, I only ever read or went back to the works I was exposed to in High School.

    Now I enjoy collected works of , shall we say, working poets (those with one or two collections out) because these collections are often more than just a rolling collection of poems, there seems to me to be value in the container of the collection ie the sum is greater than is parts.

    • I also don’t enjoy reading “on the screen”, but always prefer paper. Someday, when I feel like I’ve written a strong collection of poems I might try something like print-on-demand self-publishing. That said, I think we’re increasingly the outliers.

  3. I did not realize that about typewriter operation. Even in the 1980’s, all my keyboarding classes were done on computer.

    “There’s no literary value to what he writes. And I don’t think any Japanese poet would consider his three line missives haiku. They have nothing in common with that tradition, and not even with Senryu.”

    I agree! When I read his, and many other published “poets” work, I think wow anyone could do that. Cliches and random line breaks. Prosaic, Klonopin-zombie droning stuffed with pop culture references…and random line breaks. I want to be impressed and/or entertained when I read a poem, not bored by the lineated ramblings of a person who sucks at writing.

    This published era will be left untouched by actual criticism. I can’t imagine a write-up in the vein of your “After Apple-Picking” analysis being done with the work of Mira Gonzalez or Lang Leav or Jason Bredle or Dorothea Lasky. There’s nothing to plumb. Sorry to rant.

    being like Eminem > being like M & M’s

    • Yeah, never heard of any of those poets. Looked them up. They seem like very nice people but I couldn’t find anything of lasting literary value in their writing. And yeah, I want to be impressed when I read a poem. I want to be gobsmacked. I know it’s good when I’m jealous—when it makes me twitchy and competitive. There’s a poet, my own age, I used to know in college who did that to me—and it wasn’t Jerry Lafemina (lest someone ever speculate). Can’t think of his name right now and I don’t even know if he continued writing poetry. He wrote free verse but he had a real gift for the surreal

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