Slowly but Dearly
New work by this well-known Bay Area writer and Zen teacher. “It's freezing at degree zero, wind bites -/ The crystal arguments fall into taller shapes/ And the tension around the eyes lengthens/ At the end of every turn around the park/ 'Kick Me' is a sign everyone wears” (from “The Enigma of Memory”). Among the many books by Norman Fischer available from SPD are SUCCESS and PRECISELY THE POINT BEING MADE.
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Chantry is song. Chantry is song that exceeds song structure in all dimensions to become invocation and enchantment. From “the vessel without a cover” to “late silhouette in / blue” it refuses to be contained, as a book wants to live outside its covers. Sing this: “linger so this grace of grace,” yet sing it so that “the door cracks in so many different directions.” It is in these cracks, these interstices, that Elizabeth Treadwell finds and makes song, and the song exceeds and excels. Wordsworth defined poetry as spontaneous overflow of emotion, recollected in tranquility. Hear the overflow: “lovelove. all back-slaps and gummy smiles; free for honest mating?” and hear the invocation of a tranquility available for recollection and celebration: “inventing an alphabet / and feast their Beloved for awhile.” Throughout all, hear a language that irrepressibly invites the reader in, and creates a world worth the while, worth the song.
This lovely chapbook by well known New York poet Nick Piombino includes eighteen succinct haiku-like pieces. “If you need/ to fight// and you don't believe/ in fate// join the war/ on hat” – “Weapons of Mass Affection.” Piombino's THEORETICAL OBJECTS Is also available from SPD.
“Poetry and sleep have always been related to me. What do we seek when we lie down to rest but a pleasant landscape of language? inaudible rehearsals of the auditory, invisible practice of the visual. It is possible of course to be asleep and awake at the same time, indeed we are mostly, examples: driving the freeway and missing the exit engrossed in meditation, or better the ineluctable state of napping in my chair, when I leave me there and go out for closer observation, hearing even seeing everything that goes on around but not noticing my own snores” (from the Introduction by the Author).
“TV EYE is a rich engagement with the preconditions of words and the advances of thoughts and bodies. Baron provides readers with insights into the ways of transmission – how 'the eye plunders,' how 'we indicate/what we sound.' He is a scout of the movements of meaning and lyrical enchantments” -Roberto Bedoya.
A BOOK OF CONCEALMENTS
“A BOOK OF CONCEALMENTS is a followup to an earlier hundred-poem work, A BOOK OF WITNESS, with some notable changes in strategy and composition. In A BOOK OF WITNESS I was concentrating on the rescue of the first-person voice as our principal instrument of witness.By contrast the twenty-five poems in this first installment of A BOOK OF CONCEALMENTS suppress the witnessing “I” but draw from my accumulated works by collaging as italicized inserts small fragments of poems already written & published”-Jerome Rotherberg from Author's Not. Handstitched chapbook.
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A Reading Spicer and 18 Sonnets
“A warning is soothing/ a part of the landscape of sound/ in the inner ear/ this book nests in yr pocket hand/ vests interest in the larger structure/ the complex merger/ global markets.” So begins this new section of “A Reading,” the legendary long poem by Beverly Dahlen.
Poetry. ISBN 978-1-946104-05-2. 146 pages. $17 US.
A graduate of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, Norman Fischer is a poet and essayist. He has been practicing as a Zen Buddhist priest for thirty five years, and is one of the senior Zen teachers in America. The latest of his more than twenty-five poetry and prose titles are Experience: Thinking, Writing, Language and Religion (prose, Poetics Series, University of Alabama Press), Conflict (poetry, Chax Press), The Strugglers (poetry, Singing Horse Press), and Magnolias All At Once (poetry, Singing Horse). In 2000 he retired as co-abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center, one of the largest Buddhist organizations in the West, and founded The Everyday Zen Foundation (www.everydayzen.org), an international network of Buddhist groups and social projects.His latest Buddhist title is Training in Compassion (Shambhala). Norman Fischer lives on a cliff near Muir Beach California with his wife Kathie, also a Zen priest. Their two sons live in Brooklyn.
“without love no quirks,” writes Norman Fischer in the midst of any would be if. One might add: without quirks, no life, as in this book Fischer proceeds “by ellipsis,” and suggests that living, noticing, even drinking tea, manifests in similar fashion. Indeed, “the teacup told us how to hold it,” provides one of many delightful and slightly puzzling, or perhaps uncanny, moments in a book full of moments. Moments of thought, moments of action, moments of light, moments of language, moments through which “we pull ourselves into now.” If one wants a book to show the world, not in its grandeur (or, maybe that, too) but in its process, in the betweenness we all inhabit, then this is the book one wants. I know I am glad to have it, and to return to it, often, “to be.”