Carved In Stone, a tanka sequence by Pat Nolan, was published by Empty Head Press in the Summer of 2013 in a limited numbered edition signed by the author with his seal. The covers are printed on heavy weight dragon cloud washi featuring reproductions of one of four Japanese prints from the series Imayo sugata (Stylish Appearances) as are the bamboo leaf endpapers. Carved In Stone measures 4.25×3 inches (10.7×7.8 cm) and is bound in the Yamato style binding. The 26 text pages (including 5 illustration) are printed on recycled paper.
Tanka ,meaning ‘short song,’ is an unrhymed poem with a fixed thirty-one syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. In Westernized stanza form, it is a five line poem. Tanka, one of the oldest of Japanese verse forms, dates back to before the 11th Century. Tanka gained renewed popularity in the late 19th Century among radically modern young poets who brought its diction and subject matter up to date. Historically, tanka is a precursor to renga, haikai, and haiku.
The poems in Carved In Stone do not follow precisely the fixed syllabic count nor do they conform to many of the accepted tanka conventions but seek a synthesis and accommodation brought about by translation into a radically different language and culture.
A few copies of Carved In Stone are still available from the publisher for $20 each plus shipping. See How To Order for more information.
The Nolan Anthology of Poetry, Volume II was published by Fell Swoop in 2003. The first Nolan Anthology of Poetry was published in 1993 by the same New Orleans publisher. Volume II (Fell Swoop #64) The Modern Era was printed in an unspecified print run using basically the same 8.5×11 stapled binding format as the first volume though designating them as “volumes” may be a bit of overstatement as each is only twenty pages in length printed on a single side of the page. The cover design by the author was meant to replicate the pocket poetry books of the French publisher, Gallimard under the NRF (Nouvelle Revue Française) imprint. Volume II, as did Volume I, represents a sampling from a variety of the author’s poetry manuscript unpublished at the time. Since then the poems in the tanka sequence Light Years have been included in a handmade limited edition chap book entitled Carved In Stone (Empty Head Press, 2013). The Chinese style poems were published as a selection entitled Exile In Paradise (Bamboo Leaf Studio, 2009), also as a handmade limited edition. The prose poems were included in a handmade chap book entitled Intellectual Pretensions (edition de Jacob, 2009).
Click here for The Nolan Anthology of Poetry, Volume II: The Modern Era 2003
A word about Fell Swoop magazine whose stated mission, as per Editor Reverend XJ Dailey, is to destroy contemporary American poetry: this year marks the 30th Anniversary of their fitful yet courageously tenacious low tech existence. They (3rd person plural used advisedly) will publish their 130th issue this November. Past featured authors and contributors to Fell Swoop magazine include Andrei Codrescu, Aram Sayroyan, Bernadette Meyer, The Clark Coolidge, Sir Thomas Weigel, Richard Martin, Camille Martin, Lady Alice Notley, and Keith Kumasen Abbott to name just a few. As an unpretentious and somewhat anachronistic photo copy (xerographic) publication, Fell Swoop harkens back to the more innocent days of the mimeograph revolution when such prehistoric publications as Fuck You, C, Blue Suede Shoes, The End, Life of Crime, and The World roamed the humid fecund swamps of Am Po’s armpit. Though based in New Orleans, they represent one of the last unapologetic bastions of the New York School of Poets scattered to the four (or five) corners of the poetry universe after the passing of the Grand Himself, Ted Berrigan. Fell Swoop keeps the flame alive to light another Chesterfield. Their post-Katrina address is Po Box 740158 New Orleans, LA 70174. Send them a bunch of cash, in one fell swoop.
THIN WINGS − A Tanka Sequence
By Pat Nolan
Thin Wings was published in the Fall of 2005 by Empty Head Press in a limited edition lettered A through Z, signed by the author and bearing his seal, “wandering like a cloud,” each with a unique cover, some as reproductions of Japanese prints in the author’s collection, silk screened Japanese end papers, and hand sewn in the Japanese four-hole side stitch style. It is made available here as a pdf file.
Tanka ,meaning ‘short song,’ is an unrhymed poem with a fixed thirty-one syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. In Westernized stanza form, it is a five line poem. Tanka, one of the oldest of Japanese verse forms, dates back to before the 11th Century. Tanka gained renewed popularity in the late 19th Century among radically modern young poets who brought its diction and subject matter up to date. Historically, tanka is a precursor to renga, haikai, and haiku. The poems in Thin Wings do not follow precisely the fixed syllabic count nor do they conform to many of the accepted tanka conventions but seek a synthesis and accommodation brought about by translation into a radically different language and culture.
From the introduction to Pat Nolan’s Cloud Scatter (Tangram Press, Berkeley, 1994)
Tanka originated as court poetry early in Japanese history. I would hesitate to call these poems tanka because that presumes a mastery of a complicated set of rules and conditions. The poems. . .actually owe more to the intricate prosody of haikai no renga (known as renku or linked verse), than to this ancient form, especially in the relationship between [the split] stanzas. There is, as a matter of fact, a renku term for a poem composed of only two links and that’s ‘tanrenga.’ As accurate as that may be, I am uneasy with that label. ‘Tanku,’ a word of my own invention, would seem to accommodate the Japanese nomenclature (haiku, renku) but it too doesn’t suit my sense of these poems. Ultimately, I find myself preferring tanka as the logical as well as sentimental favorite for what this kind of poem might be called. I do so well aware that the designation is a borrowed one.