Friday, April 30, 2010

Ryokan, translated by Dennis Maloney

Bob and Susan Arnold of Longhouse Publishers have been issuing a delightful series of accordion-style fold out mini-booklets for quite sometime now, some of which I've taken a look at here at The Hut. Dennis Maloney, of White Pine Press fame, is a longtime Lilliput contributor, whose 4th chapbook in the Modest Proposal Chapbook series, a volume of Yosano Akiko translations, will be coming out sometime in June (along with 4 delayed issues of Lilliput Review). Previous chapbooks were Dusk Lingers: Haiku of Issa, The Unending Night: Japanese Love Poems, and The Turning Year: Japanese Nature Poems, the later two of which come from the famed 100 Poems by 100 Poets classic volume of Japanese poetry.

So it is with some delight that Dennis's volume of Ryōkan poems has arrived from Longhouse. And who was Ryōkan you might ask? According to the "New World Encyclopedia" site:

Ryōkan (良寛) (1758-1831) was a Zen Buddhist monk of the Edo period (Tokugawa shogunate 1603-1864), who lived in Niigata, Japan. He was renowned as a poet and calligrapher. He soon left the monastery, where the practice of Buddhism was frequently lax, and lived as a hermit until he was very old and had to move into the house of one of his supporters. His poetry is often very simple and inspired by nature. He was a lover of children, and sometimes forgot to go on his alms rounds to get food because he was playing with the children of the nearby village. Ryōkan was extremely humble and refused to accept any official position as a priest or even as a "poet." In the tradition of Zen, his quotes and poems show that he had a good sense of humor and didn't take himself too seriously. His poetry gives illuminating insights into the practice of Zen. He is one of the most popular Zen Buddhists today.

Over at Wikipedia, there is a bit of a dust up over the Buddhist monk part, but no doubt it isn't anything the poet himself would be much concerned about. There are, after all, poems to write, sake to drink, and life to be lived.

The Longhouse booklet, consisting of 2 minutely folded sheets contains an astounding 47 tankas, is divided into the four seasons. Ryōkan's simple message shines through poem after poem in translations with a direct clarity that mirror that basic philosophy. Here is a couple of samples to tempt you over to the Longhouse site for this tasty little booklet and lots more besides:

In the garden – just us
a plum tree
in full blossom
and this old man
long in years.

I'm sure there is more but what I think of first is how the old man's years seem so very like the plum tree's blossoms.

What shall remain
as my legacy?
The spring flowers,
the cuckoo in summer
the autumn leaves.

At once in this beautiful tanka, there is the Buddhist sense of oneness and perhaps a touch of the fact that we are all reincarnated a bit in what's is all about us. At least that's what I'm hoping when some of my ashes end up in the garden, some more in the river, and most of the last bit in the bay back home.

Ryōkan too
will fade like
the morning glories.
But his heart
will remain behind.

See previous comment ...

Deep snow outside
bundled up
in my solitary hut
I even feel my soul
slip away as dusk gathers.

The quiet beauty of these verses pervades one's spirit as the experiencing nature does. Not much exegesis, though perhaps there could be some, but let it rest: let me take in the rose rather than pluck its petals.


This week's feature Lilliput Review broadside is #80, from June 1996, entitled spectacles of poverty by scarecrow.

what is meant to be seen and heard
will be seen and heard
the blue of the sky
through a fly's wing
walking on my window
into a cloud.
in the shape of constant sorrow

how much the poem cannot carry
when you're the only one
to witness the pine cone falling.

the camera composed of metal taken from the ore
taken from the stone
beneath the grass
in the meadow
where the lion once slept
in the picture.

now begins
the Future Buddha's reign...
spring pines

translated by David G. Lanoue


PS Ed Baker has tipped us to an interview with Dennis Maloney which is a delight so I'll append it after the fact. All thanks to the bard of Takoma Park.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Henry Miller: An Insect, A Flower ...

"An insect sometimes can teach me more than a man. And a flower still more."
Henry Miller, The Hamlet Letters, page 171.

the day is short
as is the life
of the dragonfly
translated by David G. Lanoue


PS Thanks again, Ed.

Monday, April 26, 2010

New Yinzer Reading, 4/21/10

Above are two photos from The New Yinzer reading I participated in last Wednesday, April 21st. The photos were taken and are posted here with the kind permission of novelist/poet Karen Lillis. The first photo captures me reciting my first poem, the second reading a poem by Walt Whitman, as relevant as this very moment, entitled "To You."

To You

Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands,
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners,
troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me.
They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops, work,
farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating, drinking,
suffering, dying.

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem,
I whisper with my lips close to your ear.
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.

O I have been dilatory and dumb,
I should have made my way straight to you long ago,
I should have blabb'd nothing but you, I should have chanted nothing
but you.

I will leave all and come and make the hymns of you,
None has understood you, but I understand you,
None has done justice to you, you have not done justice to yourself,
None but has found you imperfect, I only find no imperfection in you,
None but would subordinate you, I only am he who will never consent to subordinate you,
I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God,
beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself.

Painters have painted their swarming groups and the centre-figure of all,
From the head of the centre-figure spreading a nimbus of gold-color'd light,
But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its nimbus
of gold-color'd light,
From my hand from the brain of every man and woman it streams,
effulgently flowing forever.

O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you!
You have not known what you are, you have slumber'd upon yourself all your life,
Your eyelids have been the same as closed most of the time,
What you have done returns already in mockeries,
(Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in
mockeries, what is their return?)

The mockeries are not you,
Underneath them and within them I see you lurk,
I pursue you where none else has pursued you,
Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the
accustom'd routine, if these conceal you from others or from
yourself, they do not conceal you from me,
The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if these
balk others they do not balk me,
The pert apparel, the deform'd attitude, drunkenness, greed,
premature death, all these I part aside.

There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied in you,
There is no virtue, no beauty in man or woman, but as good is in you,
No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you,
No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits for you.

As for me, I give nothing to any one except I give the like carefully
to you,
I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than I sing
the songs of the glory of you.

Whoever you are! claim your own at any hazard!
These shows of the East and West are tame compared to you,
These immense meadows, these interminable rivers, you are immense and interminable as they,
These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of apparent
dissolution, you are he or she who is master or mistress over them,
Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements, pain,
passion, dissolution.

The hopples fall from your ankles, you find an unfailing sufficiency,
Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest,
whatever you are promulges itself,
Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided, nothing
is scanted,
Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what you are
picks its way.

Walt Whitman

It was my third reading in a year, an experience I hadn't had in over 20. It was the first reading that I didn't do material by other poets from Lilliput Review and it was instructive. I learned I can read poems that were older than many of the folks attending and that I can read poems I'd written the week before. Homing in on what poems work or, if you will, are "presentable" live, versus good poems on the page that land with a thud in performance, has been part of a learning process.

Reciting haiku, I've learned, takes nerves of steel. There is so little cover to hide behind.

There were lots of solid readers on the bill; the evening, however, was dominated by the local poet, M. Callen who read last. I read first and, trust me, I was glad to have a comfortable distance between us. Not that I wouldn't enjoy basking in her immense talent, no, it was simply being wary of being blinded by the formidable light.

I've read with Callen once before and, to put it succinctly with a touch of resonance, it is a revelation.

A special thanks to Kris and Savannah of The New Yinzer and Modern Formations Gallery for hosting the event.

Morning glory opens
to anything,
even you.

the moonflowers
strike it rich!
the stars
translated by David G. Lanoue


PS Check out 100's of poems in the Lilliput archive.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shakespeare's Sister: Issa's Sunday Service, #49

For the return of the Issa's Sunday Service, it's the first appearance of a band with as many literary pretensions as one can have: the fabulous The Smiths. This tune's only litrock element is the allusion to the Bard in the title; otherwise, the lyrics are pure unrequited Smith's kinda love.



This week's feature poem is from Lilliput Review #73, November 1995.

¶ever catch a glimpse of a stone breathing?
-almost a burden.

from beneath a stone

translated by David G. Lanoue


Friday, April 23, 2010

Albert Huffstickler Park update ...

The small park that a large contingent of friends of the late Albert Huffstickler had hoped would be named after the Austin poet has been named after the "Tree Lady," a former council woman.

The thought to memorialize Huff has not passed, however. There is a movement afoot to name a small section of Hyde Park after Huff and it is gaining some traction with the Austin City Council. Hyde Park was close to Huff's home and he was affectionately, if unofficially known as "The Poet of Hyde Park" while he was still alive.

Here is the press coverage

I have measured
my solitude on
the scale of
my being
and come up with
a formula
for converting
ashes in sunlight
Albert Huffstickler
Lilliput Review, #111

the grass and wheat
sunlight stretches on

translated by David G. Lanoue


Antonio Machado: I Never Wanted Fame

The short poems of Antonio Machado have found there way to Issa's Untidy Hut a few times. I Never Wanted Fame, a little chapbook published by Ally Press in 1979, is a delightful window into the work of this fine Spanish poet. The translations of Robert Bly are crystal clear, which brings the mystery of the poems themselves into high relief.


---I never wanted fame,
nor wanted to leave my poems
behind in the memory of men.
I love the subtle worlds,
delicate, almost without weight,
like soap bubbles.
I enjoy seeing them take the color
of sunlight and scarlet, float
in the blue sky, then
suddenly quiver and break.

I enjoy seeing them take the color
of sunlight and scarlet, float
in the blue sky, then
suddenly quiver and break.

The beauty of the image here almost overwhelms the meaning; the reader must confront what are the subtle worlds, transported as she/he is into lyrical realms upon contemplation. Of what subtle worlds speaks the poet?

Perhaps there is a clue here:

---Why should we call
these accidental furrows roads,...?
Everyone who moves on walks
like Jesus, on the sea.

If everyone who moves "walks / like Jesus, on the sea" perhaps these subtle realms aren't so distant after all.

---I love Jesus, who said to us:
Heaven and earth will pass away.
When heaven and earth have passed away,
my word will remain.
What was your word, Jesus?
Love? Forgiveness? Affection?
All your words were
one word: Wakeup.

Ah, that world, the world of spirit, the spiritual world. Gautama's favorite word: Wakeup! And when we are not awake, when we are lost, what then:

---It is good knowing that glasses
are to drink from;
the bad thing is not to know
what thirst is for.

There is a realm, too, a place, a world not so subtle. We find ourselves, we lose ourselves, we find ourselves again. When lost, how, how do we find our way back?


---All things die and all things live forever;
but our task is to die,
to die making roads,
roads over the sea.

Here is our way out, here is our way home, back home to the subtle worlds where we so long to be. Might we need instruction as to the how, the where?


---Mankind owns four things
that are no good at sea:
rudder, anchor, oars
and the fear of going down.

There are copies of this poignant little volume of ten verses, though long out of print, floating around for a very reasonable price on amazon (of course, some idiot is selling one for $90) and, if you cherish transcendent verse, this is right up your street. Since its been my policy for a couple of years now not to link to amazon, you may also find it here and here. I thought it might be available in Robert Bly's selected translations, The Winged Energy of Delight, but I checked at the library and, though there are some other Machado poems in that book, these little ones are not there.


In the ongoing, or on and off-going, feature of Lilliput broadsides, we've arrived at #84, Winter Prayers by Christien Gholson, a six-part poem. Here is part IV:

IV. None: heading to the bank

An old man stepped carefully down the ice sidewalk.
His skinny, brittle legs knew
that everything in his briefcase
----------------------- ------didn't matter

I knew he would not make it through the winter
and my knowing brought me closer
to that face,
------ -- - ---- beyond desperation,
---- --that saw the shadow of a sparrow
---- --as it slipped beneath the river
---- --and carried the bird shadow down
---- --to live in the form of curious fish
---- --moving through the cave of a skull.

And, to thread it all together, the master:

through the great red gate
no fear...
translated by Daniel G. Lanoue


Monday, April 19, 2010

New Yinzer Reading, Wednesday, April 21st

Click on image to enlarge

Wednesday night at Modern Formations Gallery, The New Yinzer is throwing their big 2nd birthday bash (yes, there will be cake), so come on out for some big time reading fun. Here's the dope, from The NY website, on the readers:

Michelle Reale (Reader): Michelle Reale's fiction has
been published in Smokelong Quarterly, Word Riot,
Monkeybicycle, elimae, Eyeshot, JMWW, Pank,
Foundling Review, Rumble, Underground Voices,
Emprise Review, Matchbook, Pear Noir, The Stray
Branch, Blue Print Review
and a host of others. Her
fiction chapbook , Natural Habitat will be published
by Burning River in April, 2010 and available this
Wednesday. She's been twice nominated for a Pushcart
Prize and lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She is
currently working on a novel of linked stories.

Chris Bowen (Reader): Chris Bowen is an author, editor,
and life-long learner. His fiction has appeared in multiple
small press and college journals. Among others: Hobart,
Muse & Stone, Penumbra
and forthcoming, A Trunk of
Delirium, Fast Forward Press
and Leaf Garden. He is
the creator of the Cleveland based website and small
press Burning River. He enjoys the culinary arts at
Cleveland’s Tri-C Metro campus and swimming in lakes
during summer.

M. Callen: (Reader) In the morning, the first thing M.
Callen does is push-ups. M. Callen has always carried a
knife. She maintains a promise never to eat Wonderbread
again, to never buy ValuTime anything. If once you saw
her drinking from the whiskey tree, she apologizes for
your gnarled face and busted lip. Sometimes she has a
hard time knowing when enough is enough.

M. Callen is full of bad ideas, but not the kind you think.
Her memory is, at best, circumspect; full of the ghosts
she once slow danced with, or wanted to slow dance
with. The trellis and string quartet. M. Callen has always
wanted to use the word ‘pirouette’ in a poem; but like
many other things, the timing has never been right.

Everyone who has ever come to call M. Callen “home”
probably regrets it, because she would not leave and
she would not stay. She comes from the silence that
folds the night into morning, is descendent of both the
albatross and the 8-track. She is less interested in
apologizing than she is in asking forgiveness.

Don Wentworth: (Reader) Don Wentworth is a small
press poet whose work has been or will be published
in Bear Creek Haiku, Bottle Rockets, Modern Haiku,
The New Yinzer
and Rolling Stone, among others. He
has published two chapbooks - Tenpenny Stamens
(Random Weirdness) and The Nostalgia Papers
(Mockersatz Zrox) - and has a forthcoming book, Past
All Traps
(Sixth Gallery), due sometime this year.

Martin Dodd: (Reader) Martin Dodd joined a writers
group at age 67 in 2002. Since then, he has been
published in The Barmaid, The Bean Counter, and
The Bungee Jumper; Chicken Soup For The
Recovering Soul; Homestead Review; Hobart
Issues Dec '06. Jun '07); Cadillac Cicatrix; and Writers
. Dodd has also won awards, or been a finalist,
in contests of NorthernPros; St. Louis Short Story
Contest; Central Coast Writers (California); Writer's
Digest; Inkwell
; and Glimmer Train.

House of Assassins (Music)

Directions to Modern Formations ...

From the reading:

Every spring bud blooms
into its selves
and you.

temple mountain--
under a spring moon heading
to a poem party
translated by David G. Lanoue


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Poetry Motel: Open for Business

The legendary Poetry Motel is up on the web and taking "reservations." To apply for a room, here are the house rules:

Poetry Motel (publishing since 1984) is currently seeking submissions of poetry, prose, and performance art for upcoming issues. Submit typed text, audio or video (include a title list w/audio and video submissions) to

We also accept submissions sent via regular mail (include a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope for our reply) to: poetry motel, p.o. box 103, duluth mn 55801-0103.

We continue to publish work by both new and established writers.

Check in at the Front Desk and you will see the available rooms along the top and the guest list along the right hand sidebar. For instance, Room 103 is currently occupied by that old hand, Albert Huffstickler. Other veterans of the road include Ron Androla, Belinda Subraman, Tony Moffeit, Sheila Murphy, Steve Richmond, Lyn Lifshin, and many more.


Almost ready to get back up on the horse and ride; on Tuesday, I will be leading an introduction to poetry session for lifelong learners and on Wednesday a reading at Modern Formations for the New Yinzer crew. Once these activities are in the rear view, I'll be putting some serious time in on the long overdue, one might almost say lost issues, of Lilliput Review. 4 issues, instead of the customary 2, will be shipping in the beginning of June, in order to get back on track. My sincere apologies to everyone for the long delay. The good news is that Lilliput is "bigger" than it has ever been in its 21 year history. More on all this soon.

The following poem is taken from Richard Houff's broadside issue, Lilliput Review #88, entitled Trimmed Lamps & Kerosene Barrels, April 1997 (& still available for a measly dollar or a SASE).

The Tallmadge Hotel
---(ca. 1968, Mpls, MN)
When you reach the top landing
turn left and step lightly.
Listen to the murmur of little
voices behind closed doors
presenting a thousand rumors,
as tongues scurry back and forth.
At midway, lower your eyes
to the bloodstained carpet
outside door number #6.
This is truth, a most distasteful metaphor.
The voices tell us that a poet
lived and died here.
But why dally with clocks
that continue to wind-down-into forward?
In front of door number #12,
the taste of thin air and stale nicotine
sends greetings one step further----
that's it, you're almost home.
Richard Houff

And the master, thinking about his fellow travelers:

imperial inn--
acting like he owns it
a snail
translated by Daniel G. Lanoue


Friday, April 16, 2010

The Secret of Life: Henry Miller

"Anyone who is interested in the secret of a thing is obsessed by that thing and thereby puts it beyond his grasp. The man who is in life and alive is not interested in the secret of life. A man who is interested in the secret of life is already dead. Of course it is easier for us to believe we are immortal; men have had this belief for thousands of years. They will continue to have this belief for thousands of years to come. There is nothing strange about it, nor is there anything strange about their holding the notion of mortality at the same time. The duality of man's nature is an ineluctable quality of man's consciousness; it is only the thinker that is absurd enough to try and argue it away."
Henry Miller, from The Hamlet Letters, #18, September 7, 1937

Thanks once again to Ed Baker for pointing the way.

This week's featured poem comes from Lilliput Review #88, a broadside issue entitled "Trimmed Lamps and Kerosene Barrels" by the inimitable Richard Houff. Enjoy.

Personal Styles In Neurosis
When you observe it,
look well within yourself.
Take notice, that all living
things have their fulfillment.
In the light, if you appear colder
than death, remember: you're a rock;
and I've been kind enough
to grant you an audience.
Richard Houff

And the master of the house:

the nightingale's secret--
the rubbish heap
is a luxury
translated by David G. Lanoue


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Louise Glück on Writing

In a recent interview with the Yale Daily News, Louise Glück had this to say about how writing never gets any easier:

Q: If you had to give one piece of advice to young writers, what would you say?

A: I think young writers need to know that it never gets easy. The fantasy exists that once certain hurdles have been gotten through, this art turns much simpler, that inspiration never falters, and public opinion is always affirmative, and there’s no struggle, there’s no torment, there’s no sense that the thing you’ve embarked on is a catastrophe. I’ve been seriously writing since I was in my earliest teens, and I suffer the same torments that I did then. And the only difference is that now I know they’re never going to go away.

For those with an interest in the Eastern forms (and the philosophy that underlies them), one might simply say "Life never gets any easier," which is much the same thing. For the full interview, check here.

All day I tried to distinguish
need from desire. Now, in the dark,
I feel only bitter sadness for us,
the builders, the planers of wood,
because I have been looking
steadily at these elms
and seen the process that creates
the writhing, stationary tree
is torment, and have understood
it will make no forms but twisted forms.
Louise Glück

And from the master:

a long night--
the devil in me
torments me
translated by David G. Lanoue


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tibetan Monks Ride the Escalator (& the Bus)

I've just received news from poet Mary Krane Derr that her poem, "The Tibetan Monks Do the Escalator in the Chicago Public Library," which was originally published in Lilliput Review #78, will be riding many a bus throughout the Chicago area as part of a poems on the bus project. In celebration, I think it's time to go for a ride ourselves:

The Tibetan Monks Do the Escalator

----in the Chicago Public Library
In the calm motionless flood
of skylight, the monks one by one smilingly
tilt themselves up
onto the half-seen wheel of slow metal stairs.

Each gathers up his saffron
robe and cheerfully
snaps it at the next brother down along for the ride.
Mary Krane Derr

festival day--
white monks
white butterflies
translated by David G. Lanoue


PS Still working hard on the backlog and two poetry programs for the week after next. The Sunday Service (with jukebox) will be returning soon, along with regular posts.

Lilliput/Wentworth reading April 21st courtesy of the wonderful New Yinzer folks.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bill Griffith's Bukowski; or Why Rex Morgan Doesn't Cut the Cheese

Click on images to enlarge

If ever there was a poet's comic, aka cerebral as all get-out, it's Bill Griffith. Griffith is so good that, a number of years back, he got run out of my hometown newspaper during one of their dismal annual polls in which Rex Morgan, Cathy, Marmaduke, and unending, sadly shrunken reruns of Peanuts somehow continue to cut the mustard.

I'm sure Griffith considers it a badge of honor. His local fans are reduced to electronic subscriptions to keep up with the zany Zippy's hip happenings. Above is a small collection of strips that are Charles Bukowski related. His work is endlessly rewarding, the artwork the finest of any daily strip comic being done today .

He has a sensational, subversive sense of humor; check out his 6 part "Understanding Zippy in 6 Easy Lessons." Still not sure? Perhaps "The Heideggerian Disruptions of Zippy the Pinhead" by Ellen Grabiner will convince you.

Then again, there is always Rex Morgan.


in ceremonial robe
he's fallen down drunk...
blossom shade
translated by David G. Lanoue


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Call for Submissions: Miriam's Well

One of my favorite small press poets, whose work I've been reading and admiring for well over 20 years, Miriam Sagan, has her own relatively new blog and is looking for submissions of material. Here's some details:

Miriam's Well ( is
looking for submissions of poetry and prose and art,
particularly in the categories listed in the blog, such
as Baba Yaga, birds, glass, etc. etc. I'm also looking to
interview published poets, and for guest bloggers,
ideas, text, images, and news!

Come visit.

In addition, Miriam tells me she is "also looking for haiku/tanka and little posts on writer's favorite places to write..."


Pictured above is the 10th chapbook in the Modest Proposal Chapbook series, entitled The Future Tense of Ash. "Reading Chiyou -Ni ..." is one of 5 longish poems, centering around the poet's mood and feelings after the death of a husband. This remembers one of the finest haiku poets of all time. A nice selection of Chiyou-Ni's work may be found here. Miriam's chapbook is still available via Lilliput at the chapbook page for $3, postpaid.

Reading Chiyo-Ni, 1703-1775, Japanese Women Haikuist
-all night I quarrel with you in my dreams
-Reading Chiyo-Ni, 1703-1775, Japanese Women Haikuist
-all night I quarrel with you in my dreams
-the child who wants to return to the sea
-the mother who wants to keep her
-in Edo Japan, widows, whores and nuns write haiku
-a path through oak trees, or the way of the tao
-day three on the tramp steamer she ran out of things to read
-we went to see the volcano's steam vents despite the rain
-holding up one black umbrella
-a butter-colored cat I had never seen before stalking the
--------perimeter of the field
-nail shell broken on the sidewalk
-my daughter woke and interrupted my handwriting
-statue of the famous woman poet stands facing the New England
-each button cast in bronze
-a notion of impermanence, an actual alteration of the shoreline
-monuments to the dead whose names meant nothing to us
-in the town square, or on marble tombstones obscured by moss
-you could count seventeen syllables your whole life
-you could try to follow the mind
-you could see instead
-a falling down barn and house
-field of Queen Anne's lace
-orange butterfly
-you could ...
Miriam Sagan

And from master Issa:

gobble up
my dawn dream...
translated by David G. Lanoue


Monday, April 5, 2010

Albert Huffstickler Memorial Park

The Mayor and City Council of Austin, Texas, will be meeting to consider the naming of a city park after the late, great poet and native son, Albert Huffstickler. Here is the notice I received from Elzy Cogswell of the Austin Poetry Society:

Our proposal to name the small park at South First
and Cesar Chavez for the late and much-loved Austin
poet, Albert Huffstickler, will be considered by the
City Council in its meeting on Thursday, April 22nd.
We proposed the name, Albert Huffstickler Poetree
Grove, but less poetry-oriented names have also
been proposed, so we don't have a lock on this
decision. The choice rests largely on how much the
City Council hears from you. You can e-mail the
Mayor and City Council about it through this

If you have ever been touched by a poem of Albert Huffstickler's, I would urge you to send a brief note to the City Council and Mayor letting them know how important that connection is, how rare a gift, indeed, it is for a complete stranger to touch the heart of someone s/he has never met. Honoring Huff in this manner, who championed so many of the downtrodden and disaffected folks of our world who find a moments of peace and solace in the bits of nature we preserve in our urban landscapes, would an honor appropriate to his commitment.

Over the years, I published a handful of broadsides and scores of Huff's work in Lilliput. I've had the pleasure of sharing many of those poems on Issa's Untidy Hut. Here's a link to those poems for those who'd like to take a leisurely stroll with Huff while thinking about life and life only, as another poet put it.

And you too shall
pass, the autumn
tells me, shaking
its leaves
in my face.
Albert Huffstickler

have you come
to save us haiku poets?
red dragonfly
translated by David G. Lanoue


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Haiku by Slapp Happy: Issa's Sunday Service, #48

Master Issa

Of all the many suggestions of songs for the Sunday Service, nothing has surprised and delighted me more then this little ditty by Slapp Happy entitled Haiku. So delighted was I that I immediately went out and bought the track (that's the one you can listen to above), which is a live version of the original, which may be enjoyed in its entirety here.

The lyrics for connoisseurs:


We’re chippin’ at the moon with an old bone
Issa and her sister chip until the moon is gone
An endless row of wagons in the snow
Issa grabs her sister says c’mon let’s go ‘cause
Yeah, I think I’ll write a haiku
Well, you know as well as I do
You gotta, gotta have a high IQ
So eat this and have a cup of tea
Widow lighting lamps at cock crow
Sengai stamps to help his blood flow
From his brush figures rush
In the middle sits a poet
Almost smothered, almost crushed, crying
"yeah, I think I'll write a haiku..."
(Systole, diastole
Dealing with the parts but
Feeling with the whole.)
Han Shan's tears, small worlds
In the wood a drop of blood
Hits an inky pond which ripples as it should...
Slapp Happy

A little song for Issa, with a guest appearance by Han Shan. Could it get any better on the Sunday Service? Well, I guess we'll have to see.


While on this mini-sabbatical (I've have already laid out two of the 4 new issues, am working on the 3rd today, and am making headway with the poetry class presentation), it's been a pleasure to pass along info about new markets and calls for poetry. Since so many poets and poetry readers are cat lovers, here's a little something different that may be of interest: a "call for poems" for Catzilla:

A reminder to poets: Catzilla! an anthology of cat tanka is
now openfor submissions. Submissions will close on June
30. Guidelines can be found at:

Click for more details.

Please be sure and include 'Catzilla submission' on the subject line.

Reprints and originals may be submitted, as long as reprints
are accompanied by prior publishing information. No
simultaneous submissions.

Please click the above url for more details.


Though no tanka writer, Issa frequently weighs in on the subject of cats, usually of the stray lover variety. Here's a little something different:

the winter fly
I spare, the cat
translated by David G. Lanoue


Friday, April 2, 2010

Ed Baker: Working the Full Moon

Click image to enlarge

One of the four forthcoming issues of Lilliput Review I mentioned in my recent "speed bump" post is going to feature the work of one of my favorite poets of the short form, Ed Baker. Ed is a staple around here, in both the poetry and comments department, sending along lots of pertinent and tangentially pertinent information, making sure that I get back on track when I veer off and that I veer off when I'm too grooved.

While I'm on "sabbatical" from the blog, I thought this delightful piece of serious whimsy might be just the thing, a little taste of lots of forthcoming goodness. Enjoy.

Lots more by Ed may be found on his webpage, Bare Bones Bonze. Be sure to keep paging down; there are lots of things to see.

no one

Ed Baker, Lilliput Review #165

new moon

Ed Baker, Lilliput Review #163

full moon
half moon

just don’t know
Ed Baker, Lilliput Review #153

And one from the master's master:

hazy moon in the pine--
passing through
passing through
translated by David G. Lanoue