Wednesday, January 10, 2007


It seems to be summer here. And as I fan Moiself on Galatea's mountain watching 25 big burly -- & tattooed! -- men put up stone walls and new foliage (Come to Mama, ye jasmine and lavender!), I read through a pile of books including review copies for Galatea Resurrects . In doing such readings, I write whatever reviews I'm compelled to write by specific books...not due to a predisposition to certain authors. Recently, I was compelled to draft two reviews. The first began with what undoubtedly would be an eye-grabbing first line, to wit:

"Well. This is one repelling mothafucka...!"

I'm still debating whether I'll bother to publish that review -- the only saving grace to my repelled state is that the work isn't a collection of poems but a biography of a poet (and I wasn't repelled by the subject poet but by the way the biography was written).

Now, what I do hope to finish so I can publish it is a review of the first anthology I've read where the success of its premise has nothing to do with the poets chosen to be included in its pages. Is that possible, you ask? Well, I hope to finish my review to persuade youse that, yes, it is! And why not? Poets form that breed which create what they cannot be, right?

Anyhoot, I'm talking about JOYFUL NOISE: An Anthology of American Spiritual Poetry edited by Robert Strong (Autumn House Press, 2006). Whether or not I finish my review, I can share its very first poem because -- wooo hooo! -- it's a hay(na)ku!!! That'd be this ancient Native American (Modoc) song:

the song,
I walk here!

And this brings me back to the prior post -- let me paraphrase John Yau (see prior post's last sentence) to suggest: It's not about making it new but making it fresh.

For example, the hay(na)ku -- the concept of me "inventing" it assumes (doesn't it) that it's new? But its form is obviously not new, per the above tercet. Of course, it wasn't called a hay(na)ku then. But to the extent that a whole lot of discourse and philosophical, political and social meditations went into the process of birthing the name "hay(na)ku," then that's making the form fresh.

Ain't process, when it's fresh, just ... grand!