Poetry / Literature
Try Selected Poems by Norman Fischer in small pieces, koan-style or parable-length, yet before you know it, his questions on mind, existence, compassion branch voluminously by location and torque the decades. The books meet each other as movements, variations.
Here Norman Fischer’s “return in poetry to fact of trees,” to the textures of world, ambition, flawed knowledge, contradictions of love, to thought troubled by re-thought and by re-, re-thought, to how all differ in “what we do and what we intend.” Thus have a hearty laugh from the belly up! Fischer’s generosity lights up his mutual belonging with and to a Zenified version of the Great Conversation.
His poems grieve the dead, honor poet-friends, struggle to claim “an era that you love is cancelled.” He stuns us with keen attentiveness to daily life right beside endings and frazzled picture-theory: “In the picture we were given at the beginning/The hole where the tab is inserted . . .”
His ethical cry against cruelty of war and torture is meant to move justice forward, show how utterly important moral obligation, yet self-aware that without care, such exposés risk titillation at the expense of victims; scavengers and lawyers feed on flesh to survive: “the rest comes behind, / pelicans following a boat / naked statements of fact.”
— Deborah Meadows, author Lecture Notes: A duration poem in twelve parts