Finishing the 83rd poem in a series of 99 haibun on Monday morning, Meredith had overheard me recording the poem and informed me I was “almost finished” with the series I have been working on for almost four years, Haibun de la Serna.
My friend Amalio Madueño published a chapbook of the early poems in the series and wrote a wonderful introduction (excerpted below) and many of the pieces have been posted online, but not, until now, in one coherent place. So, I’ve created a page for this project here:
Amalio’s entire preface is at the above link, as well as links to many of the pages with individual poems from the series, including sound and, in many cases, pdfs. Thanks for your interest in this work.
Preface: The Poem As High Energy Construct
In this innovative series of poems Paul Nelson has combined contemporary neo-baroco poetic style inspired by José Kozer and Ramon de la Serna with a 17th century Japanese form eternalized by the poet Bashō, the most well-known early writer of the haibun tradition. Mixed with a soupçon of Ginsberg’s “American Sentences” format and a profound grounding in Olson’s Projective Verse poetics, the poems of Haibun de la Serna demonstrate an innovative combination of contemporary poetic styles and established poetic genres.
The poems, to quote the well-known Cuban poet José Kozer, “…have a density which is not excessive & . .. bring forth intelligibility; there is a sense of flow and [I feel] the hand moving on the paper, the ink flowing naturally. . . As if it all flowed easy, which I know is not so, but felt as easy, going along, just flowing. Good modernity…”
Good modernity, indeed. Nelson’s previous book of poems, A Time Before Slaughter, demonstrated this modernity in his ability to energize language in a focused look at the history and current affairs of the Puget Sound region…
(Read the whole preface here: https://paulenelson.com/haibun-de-la-serna/)