The Poet’s Almanac ❧ The Artful Shape


The Poet’s Almanac: 365 Days of Poetry
Week One: The Artful Shape

The earliest collections of poetry all seem to share a common ground – the song lyric. And for many centuries the earliest poems seem either to have been written to the tune of a given song, or seem to have been written as though a melody could be found. In a sense, one could say that the song lyric is the earliest form of poetry. On

The MAN’YŌSHŪ (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves) The oldest existing anthology of Japanese poetry

the other hand, if a distinction is to be made between song and poetry, then the first poem was the first lyric written to be read (not sung).

Since he is so young,
He will not know the road to take:
I will pay your fee —
O courier from the realms below,
Bear him there upon your back.  Yamanoe Okura (?660-?733 AD)

Written on the death of Okura’s son.

Most sources assert that the epic is the oldest form of poetry. In some ways that’s true. But what all epics have in common is not what all Sonnets have in common. All sonnets are essentially alike in the number of their lines, their meter and their rhyme schemes. Others point to Hebrew poetry, which ranks among the oldest, but (to my knowledge) no poetic form, comparable to a sonnet, survives. For this reason some assert that the Sonnet is the oldest poetic form in continuous existence, having originated in 13th Century Italy. Others assert that the Ghazal, common in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Uzbek, Pashto and Urdu literature predates the sonnet, having more or less established its canonical shape in the 11th and 12th centuries. But perhaps the oldest poetic form in continual existence (if not the oldest poetic form in all of poetry) is the Japanese Tanka, dating back to the 6th Century.

Although my feet
Never cease running to you
On the path of dreams,
Such nights of love are never worth
One glimpse of you in your reality. Ki no Tsurayuki (868-945 AD) (A female poet.)

Tanka means “short song”. It’s syllable count (understood in the sense of the Japanese symbol) is 5-7-5-7-7. Interestingly, the Japanese historically considered the Tanka a feminine form. The later Haiku, which sprang from the Tanka, was considered a more masculine form. Part of the reason Tanka were considered a feminine poetry may be because many of the form’s most famous practitioners were women – poets of the gentry, nobility and court.

 

unable to be seen
through these clouded windows
on this spring day
of endless rain,
my yellow yamabuki blooms. Shiki Masaoka (1867-1902)

Further Reading:

An Introduction to Japanese Court Poetry
Songs from a Bamboo Village: Selected Tanka from Takenosato Uta by Shiki Masaoka
Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology

 

February 2009 Issue of Lynx

I just received an E-mail that the February on-line issue of Lynx is available.

The intro to the E-Zine states the following:

Lynx was started as APA-Renga by Tundra Wind (Jim Wilson) of Monte Rio, California, in 1985. Tundra was active in Amateur Publishing Associations (APAs) – groups of writers who shared their work by sending copies of their writings to a central location which were then collated and sent on to the other subscribers.

The editors are Jane and Werner Reichhold. I’ve reviewed Jane’s book, Basho, and an interview with Jane Reichhold can be found in the Vermont Poetry Newsletter of January 8th, 2009 (the Newsletter and interview are not mine).

I’ve been reading some of the poetry on the E-Zine. I’ve always been attracted to the intensely imagistic quality of haiku – no time for discourse, confession, rhetoric. The poem lives or dies on the depth, insight and vividness of a single observation. *This* is poetry and it is an attribute that many of our modern poets, with poems chalk full of pedestrian imagery,  have either abandoned, overlooked, or are incapable of. A sample from the E-Zine:

ILUKO HAIKU
Alegria Imperial

batbato inta
kapanagan
sabsabong ti sardam

stones
on the riverbank
dawn flowers

daluyon iti
tengga’t aldaw
ararasaas mo

billows
at high tide
your whispers

bulan nga
agpadaya
magpakada kadi?

setting moon
in the east
did you say goodbye?

inururot
nga Pagay
tedted ti lulua

pulled strands
of rice grain
tear drops

dagiti bulbulong
nga agtataray
lenned diay laud

rustle
of leaves
sun set

divider1

[I have posted this information from the notice.]

BOOK REVIEWS

White Petals by Harue Aoki. Shichigatsudo Ltd. Tokyo, Japan. ISBN: 978-4-87944-120-1. Perfect bound with glassine dust jacket, 5 x 7.25 inches, Introduction by Sanford Goldstein, 130 pages, ¥1500.    The Unworn Necklace by Roberta Beary, edited by John Barlow. Snapshot Press, P.O Box 123, Waterloo, Liverpool, United Kingdom L22 8WZ: 2007. Trade perfect bound with color cover, 5.5 x 8.5 inches, 80 pages one haiku per page. US$14; UK£7.99.

Seeing It Now: haiku & tanka by Marjorie Buettner. Red Dragonfly Press, press-in-residence at the Anderson Center, P.O. Box 406, Red Wing, MN 55066. Cover illustration by Jauneth Skinner. Introduction by H.F. Noyes. Perfect bound, 5.5 x 8.5, 44 pages, $15. ISBN:978-1-890193-85-0.

Songs Dedicated to my Mother Julia Conforti by Gerard J. Conforti AHA Online Books, 2008.

Kindle of Green by Cherie Hunter Day and David Rice. Letterpress on emerald Stardream cover and hand-sewn binding by Swamp Press. Illustrations by Cherie Hunter Day. ISBN: 978-0-934714-36-5, 48 pages, 5.5 x 8 inches, $13 ppd. USA and Canada. $15 for international orders. Write to Cherie Hunter Day, P.O. Box 910562, San Diego, CA 92191.

Because of a Seagull by Gilles Fabre. The Fishing Cat Press. Perfect bound, 8.5 x 5.5, unnumbered pages, two haiku per page. Includes a CD with a French translation of the poems. 2005. ISBN:0-9551071-0-5.

Gatherings: A Haiku Anthology edited by Stanford M. Forrester. Bottle Rockets Book #13. Published by Bottle Rockets Press, P.O. Box 189Windsor, Connecticut, 06095. Flat spine, color cover, 5 x 6.5 inches, 78 pages, ISBN:978-0-9792257-2-7, $14.

Opening the Pods by Silva Ley. Translation from the Dutch Ontbolstering by Silva Ley. AHA Online Book, 2008.

In the Company of Crows: Haiku and Tanka Between the Tides by Carole MacRury. Edited by Cathy Drinkwater Better. Black Cat Press, Eldersburg, Maryland: 2008. Perfect bound, 140 pages, sumi-e by Ion Codrescu, author and artist notes, $18.

The Japanese Universe for the 21st Century: Japanese / English Japanese Haiku 2008, edited and published by the Modern Haiku Association (Gendai Haiku Kyokai) Tokyo, Japan. Perfect bound, dust jacket, 220 pages, indexed, bilingual with kanji and romaji for each poem. Translation of haiku by David Burleigh and prose by Richard Wilson ISBN:978-4-8161-0712-2, $25.

Haiga 1998   2008 Japan Collection by Emile Molhuysen. Binder bound, 8 x 12, unnumbered pages, with a CD included. E-mail for price and shipping.Website.

Haiku, Haibun, Haiga   De la un poem la altul by Valentin Nicolitov. Societatea Scritorilor Militari, Bucuresti: 2008. Translated from Romanian into English and French. Flat-spine, 5.5 x 8 inches, 142 pages. ISBN:978-973-8941-34-2.

Floating Here and There written and translated by Ikuyo Okamoto. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN:978-4-04-52039-5, US$15. Perfect bound, 4 x 7, 130 pages, bilingual with poems in kanji and English.

So the Elders Say Tanka Sequence by Carol Purington and Larry Kimmel. Folded 8 x 11 inches single sheet with color photos. Winfred Press, 2008

The Irresistible Hudson: A Haiku Tribute Based on Yiddish Poetry by Martin Wasserman. Honors Press, Adirondack Community College, State University of New York, 640 Bay Road, Queensbury, New York, 12804. Flat-spine, 28 pages, 5.5 x 8 inches. No Price, no web access given.

The Tanka Prose Anthology, edited by Jeffrey Woodward. Modern English Tanka Press, PO Box 43717, Baltimore, MD 21236 USA. Perfect bound, 6 x 9, 175 pages, biographies of contributors, bibliography, $12.95. Available through Lulu.com

Tanka written and translated by Geert Verbeke. Cover photo by Jenny Ovaere taken in Nagarkot Nepal. Printed by Cybernit.net, in Govindpur Colony, Allahabad, India. 2008. Perfect bound with color cover, 5.25 x 8.5 inches, 48 pages, with two poems per page in Dutch and English. Contact Geert Verbeke for purchase information. He often will do a simple trade; send him your book and he will send you his.


NOTES OF OTHER BOOKS AND REVIEWS

Curtis Dunlap has written a book review of Basho The Complete Haiku that you can find at: http://tobaccoroadpoet.blogspot.com/2009/01/basho-complete-haiku-book-review .html

Modern Haiga is an annual journal both print and digital dedicated to publishing and promoting fine modern graphic poetry, especially but not limited to, haiku, senryu, tanka, cinquain, cinqku, crystallines, cherita, and sijo. Many writers and artists around the world have generously shared their work in Modern Haiga.

Jack Fruit Moon, haiku and tanka by Robert D. Wilson, Published by Modern English Tanka Press. Available from Lulu.com, from major booksellers, and from the publisher. Complete information and a mail or email order form are available online. Trade paperback price: $16.95 USD. ISBN 978-0-9817691-4-1. 204 pages, 6.00″ x 9.00″, perfect binding, 60# cream interior paper, black and white interior ink, 100# exterior paper, full-color exterior ink.

LETTERS from

Curtis Dunlap, Christopher Herold, Salvatore Buttaci, Mike Montreuil, Renee Owen, Sheri Files, Linda Papanicolaou, . Rabbi Neil Fleischmann, Robin Bownes, Allison Millcock, Dick Pettit, Patrick M. Pilarski

CONTESTS AND CONTEST RESULTS

ukiaHaiku festival, Kikakuza Haibun Contest – English Section, Pinewood Haiku Contest

ADVERTISEMENTS OF MAGAZINES, BOOKS, AND WEBSITES

White Lotus   A Journal of Short Asian Verse & Haiga, Wollumbin Haiku Workshop, Rusty Tea Kettle, Proposing to the Woman in the Rear View Mirror by James Tipton,  The Heron’s Nest, The Twelve Days Of Christmas by Gillina Cox, Allison Millcock’s blog @ http://millcock. blogspot.com/ ,Curtis Dunlap’s blog, Modern Haibun & Tanka Prose, bottle rockets press, MET 10, Winter 2008, has been published in print and digital editions. Call for Submissions Modern English Tanka. Issue Vol. 3, No. 3. Spring 2009,  Pat Lichen’s new website, Gene Doty’s The Ghazal Page. Ghazal blog.Marlene Mountain,  December of CHO issue, website of Isidro Iturat, Sketchbook, Simply Haiku, John Barlow Editor, Snapshot Press, The new issue of Shamrock Haiku Journal.

ARTICLES

A TALE OF A FESTIVAL by Kate Marianchild; THE FIRST ENGLISH-LANGUAGE HAIKU ANTHOLOGY AN INTERVIEW WITH MARGOT BOLLOCK by Jane Reichhold & Margot Bollock; THE REVOLUTION IS SETTING THE CHILDREN OUT ON THE RAPIDS WHERE THEY KEEP FLOATING ALONG by Werner Reichhold