After the Japanese 41-44

This series of poems, posted four at a time and archived here, continues with some written on a short retreat in Marblemount, WA, near North Cascades National Park. They are all written in response to the classic Japanese poetry anthology, and taking a page out of Robin Blaser’s book, I’ve used a quotation from him, did not attribute it, but did italicize it in the last of the poems presented here. (The transcription of the interview I did with Blaser, the last he ever did, is here.)

Looking back a year after these poems were written is quite an experience in memory, consciousness and self-awareness. The ground has shifted significantly in my life and, given the same prompts, I’d likely go somewhere quite different. The notion of what an ex-lover leaves with you is quite powerful and I will probably write blog posts about that when my life goes into memoir mode, but I’ll have to do something worthwhile to go into memoir mode.

And that I would have some premonition of my Father’s death two months before it happened is interesting to me. Sure, he was old, but as Eileen Myles said in an interview I did with her, sometimes the poem beats you down the street.

In the meantime, enjoy the latest in a series.

ATJ 41-42
ATJ 43-44

About Splabman

Paul Nelson is founder of SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) in Seattle, the Cascadia Poetry Festival and the August POetry POstcard Fest (PoPo). He has published a collection of essays, Organic Poetry & a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, WA, A Time Before Slaughter (shortlisted for a 2010 Genius Award by The Stranger) and American Sentences, a book of 17 syllable poems drawn from the first fourteen of his 20 years of daily practice. The tenth anniversary edition of that book includes Pig War: & Other Songs of Cascadia. He’s interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, George Bowering, Diane di Prima, Brenda Hillman, George Stanley, Joanne Kyger & many Cascadia poets (see: has presented his poetry and poetics in London, Brussels, Bothell, Cumberland, BC, Qinghai and Beijing, China, Lake Forest, Illinois, Ukiah, CA, and other places & writes an American Sentence every day.
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