Faux Koans and Borderline Haiga

26 Sep

Faux Koans and Borderline Haiga

Selected Prints by Pat Nolan

mustardseedIn traditional Chinese painting the relationship between language and the visual appear naturally equivalent because both are represented with the same medium, ink and brush. This pictorial art stems from the single hand designing the original, and the aesthetics behind the strokes used to inscribe an ideogram are the same as those used to denote the leaves of a tree, roiling waters, and the bulk of an escarpment. Because of the unique pictorial character of the ideogram, it occupies the picture plane as an integral part of the composition. A poem or homily is supported by the visual element as the depiction is fixed by its semantic component. Consequently the representations accompany each other as a symbiosis of connotation. The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting, a seventeenth century Chinese handbook of brush and ink examples, is a catalog of such a standardization of technique.

It is not uncommon for the ideogram to be the sole presence of an brush and ink composition, its innate pictorial quality suggestive of an elemental nature.  As well, the fog obscured peaks of a landscape hint at unspoken transcendence.  The art of ink and brush, word and picture, has currency in most Asian cultures, certainly not the least in that of Japan’s where it is widely practiced and appreciated.

As with any inspiring piece of art there is the desire to draw attention to the uniqueness of its creativity and to make it available to a wider audience through mechanical means no matter how primitive. Japanese artists popularized the reproduction of this particular aesthetic of word and image through their uniquely perfected development of relief printing.

everytimeRelief printing was derived from rubbings made on paper or cloth of the inscriptions and images on the tombs of ancient rulers and holy men.  The idea of generating an image or an image of a text through the use of charcoal or ink from a unique template is genius in all its natural simplicity. The worthy homilies of great minds were carved in stone for anyone who wished to view them.  Those who wanted to be reminded of these applicable sayings and possess them in a material way resorted to reproducing them on a portable medium. It wasn’t a large leap from tombs and steles to planks of wood inscribed with characters and representations of a natural aspect, often suggested by the grain of the wood itself. The carved relief image slathered with soot based ink allowed for the reproduction of editions to benefit a literate and appreciative culture.

A few thousand years later the aesthetics of the original practice of relief printing has undergone profound change in that its objective is primarily artistic, subject to the decadence of values and their renewal as objets d’art. For that reason, something might be designated a faux koan if its original purpose as a paradoxical form used to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and enter into sudden intuitive enlightenment has been parodied.  Or it can be termed a borderline haiga if the essential spontaneity of the haikai spirit is painstakingly reproduced through a series of planned mechanical steps.

iwokePat Nolan came to printmaking through an avid interest in Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, amassing in the process a large collection of monographs, museum catalogs, and anthology representations of floating world artists who were popular in Japan in the 18th to the late 19th century. The subdued palette of basic colors reminded him of the Sunday funny papers and comic books that were his consuming interest as a youngster. Japanese prints of that era, in their design and presentation, were the epitome of the illustrator’s art, sophisticated and quite modern for their time and culture.  As Nolan learned more about the art of Japanese printmaking he began to appreciate 20th Century Japanese print artists and the powerful simplicity of their black and white images.  Print artists such as Munakata Shikō, Un’ichi Hiratsuka, and Okuyama Gihachiro seemed to embody the modern élan while maintaining their deep connection with tradition.  Nolan’s obsession with the Japanese prints was kicked up a notch when he began collecting affordable reproductions of the Edo masters as well as original work by contemporary artists.

Inevitably, the next level for Nolan was to try his hand at making prints of his own. He had better luck carving linoleum blocks than he did with wood, and chose the path of least resistance. He decided to work with and/or adapt the Japanese motifs with which he had become so familiar, applying the history and techniques he had studied.

kicked“I had the idea of making Buddhist inspired prints featuring what I call faux koans (“Kicked a clump of dirt—my return address” or “The more you know the more you know”) since historically some of the earliest Japanese prints were devotional depictions of Buddhist saints or precepts sold to pilgrims traveling to various shrines and temples. They are faux koans in the sense that they imply an ironic intent and emphasize mystification rather than clarification. I was also particularly impressed by the seemingly effortless and spontaneous prints produced by contemporary artist Kan Kozaki working in the spirit of Munakata, and whose techniques I sought to appropriate. Many of Kozaki’s prints feature a haiku by the 20th Century haiku poet Santoka which also encouraged me to feature language with my images.”

Nolan’s prints emphasize the contrast of black and white, and are printed with water soluble ink on unbleached mulberry washi, allowing the uncarved portions of the block define the picture plane. The blocks are printed by hand using a variety of barens and multiple inkings.  Water color is sometimes added to the verso of some prints while stencils and stamp inks are used to achieve subtle effects on others.



The linoleum block prints presented by Bamboo Leaf Studio are made available in partnership with Nualláin House, Publishers. To purchase a print please go to the How To Order tab on the menu bar for payment options.  Shipping is included with each purchase.


Publisher’s Note: Ambitions are often put in perspective with the passage of time.  The goal of publishing Pat Nolan’s satirical novel, Ode To Sunset, A Year In The Life Of American Genius in 2016 will unfortunately be unmet due to a number of considerations, not the least of which is financial.  In the meantime, installments continue to be published at odetosunset.com and the entire novel posted thus far is available in manuscript form for anyone suitably idle and curious to peruse. OTS bannermonthlink

Year of the Fire Monkey

12 Feb

seal script

For the “ambitious, adventurous, but irritable”
Year of the Fire Monkey
Nualláin House, Publishers is pleased to announce

the 2016 publication of
Ode To Sunset,
A Year In the Life of American Genius
,
the print version of the long running online serial fiction

by Pat Nolan.

“. . .it is characteristic of American genius that the casual eye does not easily distinguish it from charlatanry.  Purity of intention lies at the center of American achievement.  Modern American writing is about honesty.  The American tradition is to offer discovery, not virtuoso performances.”
—Hugh Kenner

Scheduled for release in the fall, Ode To Sunset is a fiction about dying and death, about a poet who is not quite Charles Baudelaire, not quite Charles Bukowski, who looks like a well worn Alex Trebek but with the demeanor of a Mickey Rourke, and takes place mostly in a city not quite Frisco. It is satirical, playful, and inevitably deadly serious. Episodes from this raucous irreverent allegorical tale of a man and his muse are still available for viewing at odetosunset.com.

“A satisfactory novel should be a self-evident sham to which the reader could regulate at will the degree of his credulity.” —Flann O’Brien

In the coming months leading up to the publication of Ode To Sunset, excerpts from the final section will be posted at regular intervals to build on the suspense to the outcome of a year in the life of an American genius, the conclusion of which will only be available in the print edition. 

OTS bannermonthlink

 Caveat Lector!
This is not a roman à clef!
Ode To Sunset is primarily a work of the imagination, meaning lies and made-up stuff. No actual poets were named in the writing of this fiction with the exception of dead poets who serve as historical or literary markers as is often required of dead poets.

Read the third of a four part interview with the author at Interview with Pat Nolan, Part Three


In the meantime check out these other fine titles available
from Nualláin House, Publishers.
(Click on the menu bar above for each title to find out more
and what’s being said about them.)

 

Seasonal Specials from Nualláin House

29 Nov

20% Off on All Titles & Free Shipping*
(offer good thru 12/31/15)

Order all five titles and save even more!

Get all five Nualláin House titles for just $60!!
Save over $20!!!

*(free shipping in US only)

Send check or money order
(made payable to ‘Pat Nolan’)
for the listed Sale price to

Nualláin House, Publishers
Box 798  Monte Rio, CA 95462.


ontheroadfront300ON THE ROAD TO LAS CRUCES; Being A Novel Account of The Last Day In The Life of A Legendary Western Lawman
by Pat Nolan

 Pat Nolan’s first published novel, On The Road To Last Cruces; Being A Novel Account of The Last Day In The Life of A Legendary Western Lawman is the story of youthful bravado and an old man’s regret, and as much a dusty tale of buffalo hunts and shoot-outs as a politically driven “whodunit.”  November 2011 ~ 154 pages

 

THE LAST RESORT
A Lee Malone Adventure
by Pat Nolan

Pat Nolan has written a fast paced, tongue-in-cheek, pun filled comedy of errors, misunderstandings, and faux intuition in the mode of a 1930’s pulp thriller.  Instead of the typical splinter-jawed, broken nosed, tobacco breathed tough guy hero, Nolan upends the stereotype by introducing a gorgeous internationally famous former fashion model whose super power is her beauty.
August 2012~ 212 pages

 

 

HELLO LIFE
Poems by Gail King 

The poems of Hello Life achieve their freshness in the particularity of experience. The poet surrenders herself to the moment and tenders that subtle cognition as a delighted welcome to life. The ease of her expression in dealing with the everyday communicates an uncommon wisdom. The poems present, through playful understatement and sly humor, the immediacy of spontaneous impressions.
December 2013  ~  64 pages

 

 

 

Your Name Here
New Poems
by Pat Nolan 

The poems in Your Name Here revolve around that quantum axis with seemingly random discontinuities that do not pin down meaning but are left to mean themselves. Nolan’s poetry enacts a sub-vocal monologue that is like the murmur of cosmic background radiation, noticeable only in its cessation or as pauses when the mind registers the sum of discrete moments in an instant.  November 2014 ~ 80 pages

 

Poetry For Sale
Haikai no Renga (Linked Poetry)

Introduction by Pat Nolan
The eleven haikai no renga included in Poetry For Sale were written over period of nearly thirty years by Pat Nolan and his renku collaborators, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym, Steven Lavoie, Joen Eshima Moore, Maureen Owen, Michael Sowl, and John Veglia.  In these pages haikai no renga is synthesized as a brief, highly suggestive, well spoken, maddeningly ambiguous, read-between-the-lines kind of poetry tuned to a common understanding.  October 2015 ~ 152 pages

Poetry For Sale Now Available!

17 Sep

NOW AVAILABLE!!

from Nualláin House, Publishers

OCTOBER 2015
Order Now & Get Free Shipping!
(Sorry, Free Shipping Available
To North American Destinations Only)
Offer Good Through October 15, 2015

P4sale15tjPoetry For Sale

Haikai No Renga (linked poetry)
Introduction by Pat Nolan
Haikai no Renga with
Keith Kumasen Abbott,
Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym,
Steven Lavoie, 
Joen Eshima Moore,
Maureen Owen, 
Michael Sowl,
and John Veglia
.

The eleven haikai no renga included in Poetry For Sale were written over period of nearly thirty years by Pat Nolan and his renku collaborators, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym, Steven Lavoie, Joen Eshima Moore, Maureen Owen, Michael Sowl, and John Veglia. This collection of linked poetry presents a fascinating excursion in comparative literature by a cross-section of exceptional, widely-published American poets.  What these poets bring to the collaborative linking of stanzas is a visceral sense of the poetic that transcends two disparate languages and the gap of centuries. In these pages haikai no renga is synthesized as a brief, highly suggestive, well spoken, maddeningly ambiguous, read-between-the-lines kind of poetry tuned to a common understanding.

October 2015 ~ 152 pages ~ $16 ~ paper ~ ISBN978-0-9840310-4-7

click on the How To Order tab for more information


from HARDLY STRICTLY HAIKAI
—An Introduction—

Haikai no Renga is collaborative poetry of Japanese origin normally written by two or more poets linking stanzas of 17 syllables and 14 syllables according to specific rules governing the relationship between stanzas.  Haikai collaboration can be as complex as chess, as multi-dimensional as go, and as fast-paced and entertaining as dominoes.  It is as much about the interaction of the poets as it is about what gets written.  The forward progress of its improvisation is akin to that of a tight jazz combo. Haikai composition has also been compared to montage in experimental film where the discontinuity of images and vectors achieves an integral non-narrative expression.

Haikai no renga is known variously as renga, haikai, renku, and linked poetry.  Generally the term renga is applied to an older, more traditional style of linking poetry practiced by the aristocracy and the upper echelon of medieval Japanese society.  Haikai no renga means “non-standard renga” though it has often been translated as “mongrel” or “dog renga” which places it in the literary hierarchy as common entertainment.

In the introduction to her seminal study of Matsuo Basho’s haikai no renga, Monkey’s Raincoat (Grossinger/Mushinsha, 1973), Dr. Maeda Cana offers a further explication of the word haikai.  “The main characteristics of the haikai are partly discernible in the kanji or Chinese characters which make up the words haikai and renku: hai denotes fun, play, humor, and also actor or actress, and kai friendly exchange of words; ren represents a number of carriages passing along a road one after another and has the meaning of continuing to completion while ku is expressive of the rhythmic changes in speech and denotes end or stop.”

Renku is a literary game of high seriousness valuing cooperation and rewarding intelligence as well as intuition.  A poet’s erudition and sense of language are called upon to clear paths and build bridges that will meander through the landscape of a literary garden.  Its cooperative result, a balance of unpredictable language gestures as insubstantial as smoke but possessed of a palpable humanity, is what is important.  The echo of the response, its relationship to the previous stanza, and how it extends its meaning, poignantly or allusively, is the esthetic ground for this kind of poetry.  The linking process, in renga, and in haikai, allows a sequence whose subtle oscillation of playfulness and gravity walk the tightrope of language’s built-in ambiguities.

“Generally speaking, haikai is steeped in the wit and banter” as Dr. Cana explains, and “it has a brilliance that shocks.  Such brilliance is continual and amazes. . .at every turn.”  Poets are under pressure to produce the unpredictable so that the possibilities of cleverness are continually exploited at a tempo that is swift and witty.  The haikai poets of old delighted in word play, literary allusions, double entendres as well as displays of authentic sensibility. The completed renku is as much a certificate of cooperation as it is a multi-page poem and a sequence of short poems.  Its literary value is in its effervescent spontaneity and transitory nature, a quality much appreciated by the Japanese.

renku sheet1

 

Poetry For Sale—Free Shipping!

25 Aug

From Nualláin House, Publishers
OCTOBER 2015
Order Now & Get Free Shipping!
(Offer Good Through October 15th)

P4sale15tj

 Haikai no Renga is collaborative poetry of Japanese origin normally written by two or more poets linking stanzas of 17 syllables and 14 syllables according to specific rules governing the relationship between stanzas.  Haikai collaboration can be as complex as chess, as multi-dimensional as go, and as fast-paced and entertaining as dominoes.  It is as much about the interaction of the poets as it is about what gets written.  The forward progress of its improvisation is akin to that of a tight jazz combo. Haikai composition has also been compared to montage in experimental film where the discontinuity of images and vectors achieves an integral non-narrative expression.  

Haikai no Renga also known as renku is a literary game of high seriousness valuing cooperation and rewarding intelligence as well as intuition.  A poet’s erudition and sense of language are called upon to clear paths and build bridges that will meander through the landscape of a literary garden.  Its cooperative result, a balance of unpredictable language gestures as insubstantial as smoke but possessed of a palpable humanity, is what is important.  The echo of the response, its relationship to previous stanza, and how it extends its meaning, poignantly or allusively, is the esthetic ground for this kind of poetry.  The linking process, in renga, and in haikai, allows a sequence whose subtle oscillation of playfulness and gravity walk the tightrope of language’s built-in ambiguities. 

The eleven haikai no renga included in Poetry For Sale were written over period of nearly thirty years by Pat Nolan and his renku collaborators, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym, Steven Lavoie, Joen Eshima Moore, Maureen Owen, Michael Sowl, and John Veglia. This collection of linked poetry presents a fascinating excursion in comparative literature by a cross-section of exceptional, widely-published American poets.  What these poets bring to the collaborative linking of stanzas is a visceral sense of the poetic that transcends two disparate languages and the gap of centuries. In these pages haikai no renga is synthesized as a brief, highly suggestive, well spoken, maddeningly ambiguous, read-between-the-lines kind of poetry tuned to a common understanding.

October 2015 ~ 152 pages ~ $16 ~ paper ~ ISBN978-0-9840310-4-7
go to How To Order page for more information

 

Poetry For Sale, Fall of 2015

17 Jul

Coming Soon From

 Nualláin House, Publishers

Fall of 2015

P4Sale13j
Poetry For Sale

Haikai no Renga
(Linked Poetry)
 

Introduction by
Pat Nolan
Haikai no Renga with
Keith Kumasen Abbott,
Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym,
Steven Lavoie, Joen Eshima Moore,
Maureen Owen, Michael Sowl,
and John Veglia

  

 

From HARDLY STRICTLY HAIKAI

—An Introduction—

Haikai no Renga is collaborative poetry of Japanese origin normally written by two or more poets linking stanzas of 17 syllables and 14 syllables according to specific rules governing the relationship between stanzas.  Haikai collaboration can be as complex as chess, as multi-dimensional as go, and as fast-paced and entertaining as dominoes.  It is as much about the interaction of the poets as it is about what gets written.  The forward progress of its improvisation is akin to that of a tight jazz combo. Haikai composition has also been compared to montage in experimental film where the discontinuity of images and vectors achieves an integral non-narrative expression.

Haikai no renga is known variously as renga, haikai, renku, and linked poetry.  Generally the term renga is applied to an older, more traditional style of linking poetry practiced by the aristocracy and the upper echelon of medieval Japanese society.  Haikai no renga means “non-standard renga” though it has often been translated as “mongrel” or “dog renga” which places it in the literary hierarchy as common entertainment.

Renku is a literary game of high seriousness valuing cooperation and rewarding intelligence as well as intuition.  A poet’s erudition and sense of language are called upon to clear paths and build bridges that will meander through the landscape of a literary garden.  Its cooperative result, a balance of unpredictable language gestures as insubstantial as smoke but possessed of a palpable humanity, is what is important.  The echo of the response, its relationship to previous stanza, and how it extends its meaning, poignantly or allusively, is the esthetic ground for this kind of poetry.  The linking process, in renga, and in haikai, allows a sequence whose subtle oscillation of playfulness and gravity walk the tightrope of language’s built-in ambiguities.

renku sheet1

The eleven haikai no renga included in Poetry For Sale were written over period of nearly thirty years by Pat Nolan and his renku collaborators, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym, Steven Lavoie, Joen Eshima Moore, Maureen Owen, Michael Sowl, and John Veglia. This collection of linked poetry presents a fascinating excursion in comparative literature by a cross-section of exceptional, widely-published American poets.  What these poets bring to the collaborative linking of stanzas is a visceral sense of the poetic that transcends two disparate languages and the gap of centuries. In these pages haikai no renga is synthesized as a brief, highly suggestive, well spoken, maddeningly ambiguous, read-between-the-lines kind of poetry tuned to a common understanding.

 

Pre-orders now being accepted.
Place your dibs at
nuallainhousepublishers.gmail.com

 

 

 

April Is The Worst!

8 Apr Watchf Associated Press International News   United Kingdom England APHS52450 T.S. ELIOT

Watchf Associated Press International News   United Kingdom England APHS52450 T.S. ELIOTSome poets celebrate April as National Poetry Month, claiming that it brings much needed attention to a marginalized art, while others deride the designation, arguing that it is patronizing and trivializing of an ancient (some might say arcane) way of sentience.  Be that as it may, designating a day, week or month for the celebration of poetry has the intent of focusing attention on a timeless art that many see as underappreciated in the greater world of commercial consumerist media.  Any search of ‘poetry’ online will turn up over 300 million hits, many duplicated of course, but all the same a number that is quite close to astronomical.  Some literary elitists might argue that such a large number amounts to a lot of bad poetry.  They may have a point. However, the intent of poetry is always pure; it is often for a lack of skillful execution that it fails.  That doesn’t mean that poetry should be the sole purview of academic busybodies whose only function is to taxonomically classify poetry according to a moldy moth-eaten esthetic.  Poetry lives because language is alive, mutable, and like a stream, treacherous or calm, torrential or stagnant, is a source of consciousness available to all. Perhaps the idea behind designating a Poetry Month serves the purpose of reminding everyone that poetry belongs to them, that poetry is free for the speaking, good, bad or indifferent.


 

FREE POETRY FREE POETRY FREE POETRY FREE 

BCFFrom its inception the Nualláin House, Publishers site has offered free access to the full texts of select out-of-print limited edition poetry titles as downloadable pdf files.  Most of these poetry books were handmade using Japanese papers and bindings in editions of twenty-six to thirty-six signed by the author or authors.  The free titles include Gail ah bolinasKing’s Boxes & Chairs, Pat Nolan’s travel journal, Ah Bolinas!, and Random Rocks, a haikai collaboration with Keith Kumasen Abbott, Pat Nolan, Maureen Owen, and Michael randrksfcSowl.  By scrolling down the sidebar, poetry enthusiasts can find any number of limited edition posts featuring  full text access to that particular out-of-print title.
Iota Brdside DT

Also available for free is a signed limited edition broadside of Advice To A Young Poet by Pat Nolan accompanied by a linoleum block print from his Smoking Poets series. Send $3 for shipping and handling with return address to Nualláin House, Publishers  PO Box 798  Monte Rio, CA 95462

 

HELLOLIFEj

 

YNHcvrjAnd for all orders placed in the month of April, Nualláin House retail titles, in particular Gail King’s Hello Life and Pat Nolan’s Your Name Here, shipping is free.  See How To Order.

 

 

 


 

paroletxthdr
More interested in reading about poetry?
  Try Parole, blog of The New Black Bart Poetry SocietyParole features essays on poetry, poets, and the poetry scene with articles on William Carlos Williams, Andrei Codrescu, Alice Notley, Philip Whalen, Frank O’Hara, and Bob Dylan to name just a few.  Access is free.

Click here to read Steven Lavoie’s essay on Darrell Grey and the Actualists on the West Coast.

 


OTS banner1

Essays not your thing?  How about a fictional poetry soap opera?

Ode To Sunset, A Year In The Life Of American Genius is a serial fiction about a poet who is not quite Charles Baudelaire, not quite Charles Bukowski, who looks like a well worn Alex Trebeck but with the demeanor of a Mickey Rourke.  It mostly takes place in a city not always quite Frisco.  It is satirical, playful, and inevitably deadly serious.

Ode To Sunset has posted installments for six months to word-of-mouth acclaim.  The first section, DAY, is available as individual episodes or as The Complete DAY, a pdf file.  WEEK is now in progress.  For free access go to Ode To Sunset. 

 


 Coming in 2015

Nualláin House, Publishers is pleased to announce it’s 2015 title,

P4Sale12jPoetry For Sale,
Haikai no Renga (linked verse)
Introduction by Pat Nolan
Haikai no Renga with Keith Kumasen Abbott, Sandy Berrigan, Gloria Frym, Steven Lavoie, Joen Moore, Maureen Owen, Michael Sowl & John Veglia 

Haikai no Renga is collaborative verse of Japanese provenance written by two or more poets trading stanza of 17 and 14 syllables according to specific rules governing the relationship between stanzas, and with stanzas numbering as many as one hundred.  A haikai collaboration is as complex as chess, as multi-dimensional as go, and as fast-paced and entertaining as dominoes.  It is as much about the interaction of the poets as it is about what gets written, the forward progress of its improvisation akin to that of a really tight jazz combo.

Pre-orders are now being accepted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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