Tag Archives: tanka

Why Gift Edition?

10 Nov

the thousand marvels of every moment
a tanka collection
by pat nolan

Fall 2018, ISBN 9780984031078, 7×5 inches, 124 pages, $16

~The Gift Edition~

Order Now * Get Free Shipping
(offer good through December 31, 2018)

 

Facing the thousand marvels

of every moment

nothing comes to mind

I pick up the broom

to collect my thoughts

 

Why “Gift” Edition?

As a gift the thousand marvels of every moment is ephemeral and accessible, as undemanding as a tweet yet profound and universal as a meme, not only clever and entertaining but thought provoking as well. At a sleek 7×5 inches, a little larger than a smart phone, it fits easily in the hand like an oversize postcard, but as a book it is ultimately “flippable,” meaning that it is as easy to browse as scrolling through social media.  Its resonant design with trompe l’oeil stitching and decorative endpapers bestows on the book-as-gift a complimentary esthetic that is painless, instant, and memorable—as gifts should be.  An extra incentive for earth conscious gift purchasing is that the text of the thousand marvels of every moment is printed on 100% PCW (post consumer waste) at a printing plant in Minnesota operating on wind power.  Get one for yourself, buy one for a friend.

 

On the phone

outside a butterfly settles

on a leaf

her voice light

shimmering on thin wings

 

Tanka is the modern name for a short poem known throughout the history of Japanese literature as a waka.  The short poems of the thousand marvels of every moment are composed of five lines.  The first stanza balances on the second, sometimes precariously, to pose a distinguishing match. The break between stanzas acts as a gap for synaptic sparks to jump. It also emphasizes its call and response origins serving as a binary exchange of verbal energy.  The two last lines in these poems tend to resolve them either as parallel breaths or as a single run-on semantic declaration.

 

The part of myself

I tend to deny leaks out

the tip of this pen

please say “I love you”

with a neon sign

 

Pat Nolan has long been an avid student of Asian culture, particularly Japanese and Chinese poetry. He published Poetry For Sale (2015), a selection of haikai no renga (Japanese linked verse) written with a number of poets including Maureen Owen, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Gloria Frym, Steven Lavoie, and Sandy Berrigan.  His Chinese themed poems were published as Exile In Paradise in 2017. The poems of the thousand marvels of every moment have appeared in a variety of poetry magazines as well as in collections of privately issued handmade limited editions of tanka that include Thin Wings (2004), Untouched By Rain (2005), and Carved In Stone (2013).  One notable exception is the beautifully realized Cloud Scatter (1994) in an exquisite letterpress edition of 160 copies from Jerry Reddan’s Tangram Press.  Nolan is also the author of two novels, an online serial fiction, and numerous poetry books.  So Much—Handwritten Typewriter—Selected Poems Volume I, 1969-1989, was published in the spring of 2018.

 

Seconds whiled away

or willed away all the same

original instance

desire’s rhetorical question

“how do I get more?”

 

 


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The Thousand Marvels. . . . Free Shipping

17 Oct

the thousand marvels of every moment
a tanka collection
by pat nolan

Fall 2018, 124 pages, $16

Order Now * Get Free Shipping
(offer good through December 31, 2018)

One In A Thousand

Tanka is the modern name for a short poem known throughout the history of Japanese literature as a waka. The pre-modern word, waka, finds its source in ancient oral tradition of call and response agricultural chants as well as those accompanying communal efforts in indigenous Japanese villages.  In its lineated form, the tanka consists of five lines.  In its non-lineated form, the tanka has the syllabic rhythm or pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. 

The courtly love culture of medieval Japan adapted the folk tradition as the exchange of verse between courtiers requiring a cap or response to bring the poem to a subtle esoteric often erotic resolution. Eventually the practice transformed into a unified singular verse, the waka, a poem of two minds as the literary affectation of one mind.


The short poems of the thousand marvels of every moment are composed of five lines.  They also take into consideration the 5-7-5-7-7 patterns as a phonetic rhythm although they do not necessarily conform to the syllabic count.  The succinct directness required of the form lends itself to this rhythm. The first stanza balances on the second, sometimes precariously, to pose a distinguishing match. The break between stanzas acts as a kind of caesura, a gap for synaptic sparks to jump.  It also emphasizes its call and response origins serving as a binary exchange of verbal energy.  The two last lines in these poems tend to resolve them either as parallel breaths or as a single run-on semantic declaration.  Sometimes they function as a pedestal for the preceding stanza, the bass line for its melodic pretext, sometimes as a bowl or receptacle to contain the original intent, or as a decorative garnish to the entrée (think California cuisine), and sometimes at its most basic, the response to the call.


I hesitate to name the poems in this collection tanka as that would presume the mastery of a complicated set of rules and conditions.  They do not observe many of the accepted tanka conventions although they do seek a synthesis and accommodation brought about by translation into a radically different language and culture.  The poems actually owe their method more to the intricate multi-voiced play of a related Japanese verse form, haikai no renga, also known as renku or linked verse.  That similarity is especially true in the relationship between stanzas or the rhythms of 5-7-5 -7-7.  There is, in fact, a term for a linked poem composed of only two stanzas, tanrenga.  As accurate as that may be I am uncomfortable with the label. Tanku, a word of my own devising, would seem to accommodate the Japanese nomenclature (haiku, hokku, renku) but still doesn’t fit my sense of the poems.  Ultimately I find myself preferring tanka as the logical and sentimental favorite of what this type of poem might be called. I do so well aware that the designation is a borrowed one.

(from the introduction to the thousand marvels of every moment)


 

from the thousand marvels of every moment

Fall, 2018, the thousand marvels of every moment

23 Sep

the thousand marvels of every moment
a tanka collection
by pat nolan

Fall 2018, approx 100 pages, $16

Pre-orders now being accepted

 

Tanka is the modern name for a short poem known throughout the history of Japanese literature as a “waka.” The pre-modern word, “waka”, finds it source in the ancient oral tradition of call and response planting and harvesting songs as well as those accompanying communal efforts in indigenous Japanese villages.  In its lineated form, the tanka consists of five lines.  In its non-lineated form, the tanka has the syllabic rhythm or pattern of 5-7-5-7-7.  The short poems of the thousand marvels of every moment are composed of five lines.  They also take into consideration the rhythmic patterns of 5-7-5-7-7 although they do not necessarily conform to the syllabic count.  The poems in this collection also do not observe many of the accepted tanka conventions but seek a synthesis and accommodation brought about by translation into a radically different language and culture. 

from One In A Thousand

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

 

Limited Edition: So Remote The Mountains

3 Jul

So Remote The Mountains
after Saigyo

by Pat Nolan

 

so remote cvr So Remote The Mountains is a limited edition fanfold featuring twelve meditations on Saigyo’s tanka, yama fukami (So remote the mountains). A Buddhist monk-poet, Saigyo (1118 – 1190) is one of the most well known and influential of the traditional Japanese poets writing in waka, or tanka, the court poetry style of the late Heian, early Kamakura era. Saigyo had written ten tanka that began with the phrase yama fukami describing the austere and remote circumstances of his hermitage near Mount Koya and sent them to a fellow monk who lived some distance away, north of Kyoto. With a few exceptions, all of Saigyo’s poems are written in the 31 syllable form of tanka or waka favored by the Japanese court of his day. The tanka is a precursor to renga and hiakai no renga (linked verse) and today’s popular haiku. Its 31 syllables are generally broken into sets of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables from which traditional haiku derives its 17 syllable format.

            The twelve meditations on Saigyo’s So Remote The Mountain by Pat Nolan are not tanka, nor are they technically haiku as they do not adhere to the syllabic count for either of these forms. They are probably closer to haiku than tanka because of their succinctness. However it is best to think of them as call and response. The call is Saigyo’s line yama fukami, and the response is the meditation on the line, sometimes sober, sometimes humorous, all of which emphasize a sense of isolation and distance.

            This limited edition of So Remote The Mountain is a fanfold printed on rough unbleached mulberry paper set in a cover of 100% recycled Bogus art paper with Japanese silk screened endpapers imported from Kyoto. The cover is an original stencil print by the author. Each is numbered, signed, with the author’s seal. The fanfold measures 3-11/16th x 8-7/8th inches (9.5×22.5 cm) closed, 7-3/8th x8-7/8th inches (19.3×22.5 cm) open.  Japanese silk screened endpapers can vary from what is shown.  However all endpapers are genuine Japanese silk screened paper.
so remote intext

 

So Remote the Mountain is available from Nualláin House, Publishers Box 798, Monte Rio, CA 95462, for $10 (postage included) cash, check or money order (make check or MO payable to ‘Pat Nolan’).

 

Limited Edition: Carved In Stone

3 Mar

carvedcvrf
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.
 carvedend

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.
   carvedpem2                                 

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.

carvedcvrb
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: The Modern Era

3 Nov

Nolan VIIThe 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.

 

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