Tag Archives: tanka

Poetry For Sale Now Available!

17 Sep

NOW AVAILABLE!!

from Nualláin House, Publishers

OCTOBER 2015
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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

 

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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.

 

Limited Edition: Random Rocks

3 Jul

Random Rocks

Haikai No Renga

By The Miner School of Haikai Poets

randrksfcRandom Rocks is a limited edition haikai no renga (linked verse) published by Bamboo Leaf Studio in 2007.  The size of the edition was linked to the number of stanzas in a kasen, a standard renga length employed by Basho and his disciples, and in the memorializing of the 36 immortal poets of Japanese literature.  Random Rocks measures 5.5x 7 (14x17cm), is hand sewn in the Japanese side stitch style, bound in heavy green chiri paper, momogami binding strips and features Japanese silk screen end papers.  The edition was divided evenly among the four haikai poets to distribute as they saw fit.                                                                                        

The Miner School of Haikai Poets have engaged in the practice of haikai no renga over a period of thirty years, written primarily through the mail and more recently, email.  They are Pat Nolan, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Michael Sowl and Maureen Owen. The Miner School’s haikai have been published in numerous magazine including Hanging Loose, Exquisite Corpse, Jack’s Magazine, Big Bridge, and Simply Haiku as well as in limited edition chapbooks and broadsides from Empty Head Press, Bamboo Leaf Studio, and Tangram Press.  Their kasen, All Ears, was included in Saints Of Hysteria, an anthology celebrating collaboration, from Soft Skull Press (2007).   

One of the unique features of Miner School haikai is that it includes a running commentary by the authors on each of their own stanzas as well as a stab at their collaborators’ links.  It functions in a way similar to commentary provided as a special features audio track on a DVD.  The introductory essay to another kasen, Bamboo Greeting, published in Simply Haiku (2008), further details some of the unconventional methods practiced by The Miner School of Haikai Poets.  

Haikai no renga is a form of renga (Japanese linked verse) practiced by Basho (1644-1694) and his disciples.  It consists of a 17 syllable verse and a 14 syllable verse provided in turn by the poets engaged in the collaboration.  In linking verses, a 31 syllable poem is produced, the latter verse of which (the 17 or the 14 syllable) will go on to join the next in the sequence to form its own unique poem, and so on until the requisite number of stanzas has been achieved.  Renga sequences can number into the hundreds.  Basho favored the economy of 36 stanzas.  Renku is diminutive for haikai no renga also known as haikai.  The more renowned Japanese verse form, haiku, is derived from the practice of amassing numerous hokku to vie for the privilege of opening a moon-viewing-sake-sipping evening of friendly literary collaborations.   Renga itself is derived from the courtly form of poetry exchanged by the aristocracy as exemplified in Lady Murasaki’s 11th Century The Tale Of Genji.  The rules of the composition for renga and haikai no renga are complicated and arcane, but like those of chess or go can be captivating and stimulating.  

For more on the intriguing subject of Japanese Linked Verse, see Earl Miner’s Japanese Linked Poetry (Princeton, 1979), Hiroaki Sato’s One Hundred Frogs (Weatherhill, 1983), and Haruo Shirane’s Traces Of Dreams (Stanford, 1998). 

A pdf facsimile of RandomRocks 2007can be found here.

 

 

 

 

Limited Edition: Untouched By Rain

3 Jun

Untouched By Rain

A Tanka Sequence

by Pat Nolan 

ubrfcvrUntouched By Rain was published in 2005 by Empty Head Press in a limited edition, lettered A through Z, signed by the author and bearing his seal, “old goat.” Each hand-made book has a unique cover, many as reproductions of  uchiwa-e, Japanese fan prints, features silk screened Japanese end papers, and is hand sewn in the Japanese four-hole side stitch binding.  The black & white illustrations accompanying the tanka represent traditional Japanese motifs such as the cherry blossom, crane, bamboo, and pine. Untouched By Rain, and a companion selection of tanka, Thin Wings, were originally made to be sold through the gift shop at the Sonoma County Museum.  Up until the gallery’s recent closing, both tanka selections were also offered through The Quicksilver Mine Company.  Less than a handful of copies of Untouched By Rain are still available.  Inquiries welcome.

presentation envelope

presentation envelope

Click to view a pdf facsimile of Untouched By Rain 2005

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 Untouched By Rain 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. 

Limited Edition: Thin Wings

3 Sep

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)

Cloud Notes
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.

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