Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Chained Hay(na)ku Project

Here is the announcement from Eileen Tabios for The Chained Hay(na)ku Project. It is an anthology of collaborative works, including one between Anny Ballardini, Jeff Harrison, and myself, and another that grew publicly on the WRYTING-L listserv. The anthology includes loads of other collaborations. Great stuff and a good deal! Eileen’s projects should be supported because she is so supportive.

Press Release from Meritage Press and xPress(ed) .

Curated by Ivy Alvarez, John Bloomberg-Rissman, Ernesto Priego & Eileen Tabios

BOOK Link:
ISBN-13: 978-951-9198-78-1
Price: $16.95
Release Date: 2010
Distributors: Meritage Press, Amazon and Lulu (

Meritage Press (San Francisco & St. Helena, CA) and xPress(ed) (Puhos, Finland) are pleased to announce the release of THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU PROJECT, the third anthology based on the hay(na)ku poetic form and the first to focus on collaborations.  About a hundred poets and artists from around the world participate in this groundbreaking anthology, with each poem involving the participation or three or more poets/artists.

The hay(na)ku is a poetic form introduced in 2003.  Its swift popularity would not have been possible without internet-based communication.  With the internet's capacity for engendering collaborations, it was inevitable that a collaborative hay(na)ku project such as THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU would arise, and fitting that it began with a public invitation from a blog (on June 24, 2007, an invitation was posted on for poets to participate in hay(na)ku collaborations).  Poets, artists, and even members of a company's editorial department responded, and this anthology is one result, along with friendships and much fun!

To celebrate the release of THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU, Meritage Press is pleased to announce a SPECIAL RELEASE OFFER: the book will be offered at $10 per book (you can order as many as you wish) through September 30, 2010.  Free domestic shipping is also available within the U.S.  To order, make a check out to "Meritage Press" and send to

E. Tabios

Meritage Press

256 No. Fork Crystal Springs Rd.

St. Helena, CA 94574

More information about the hay(na)ku poetic form, including the participants in THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU, are available at The Hay(na)ku Poetry Blog (  More information about the two earlier hay(na)ku anthologies are available as follows:

The Hay(na)ku Anthology, Vol. 2:

The First Hay(na)ku Anthology (now sold out but with stray copies available in the internet, e.g. Amazon):


FYI, an early reaction to THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU is available at

For more information or questions (including international shipments), please feel free to

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Poetry, Bramhall, & The Boston Poet Tea Party

My English teacher in 10th grade made poetry possible for me. He did so by asking the class the simple question, What is poetry? The class replied with the expected answer, that poetry—groan—was rhymed and metered muck that we did not want to read. His next question was on the order of Who said? Dialectic, that friend of educator Paulo Freire, ensued. I think I started reading poetry on my own then, and within a year I was writing what I called poetry.

Great story, Allen. The point here, however, is that poetry is strange and unfamiliar still. And as much as many of us like to see the experiments and challenge, we also wryly linger with the known and quantified.

Reading last week at the Boston Poet Tea Party gave me a curious viewpoint on the affair, and on the poetry scene. By poetry scene I mean current happenings in a somewhat socialized rendering. I was not on the menu, and that made me disembodied, so to speak. I was this extra guy.

I hadn’t practiced what I read. I think I vocalized the syllables well enough but I felt the clock awfully. That produced nerves, because I did not want to be the dick who went on too long. Long dicks, who needs them? So I probably smeared my performance a little in that way. I do not mind that, neither in myself or in others. That’s part of the living production. The perfect reading is always in your head.

Days Poem, either volume, is unwieldy, and the lectern was untrustworthy, so my attention could not easily shift to the audience too much. I felt like people were unprepared for what I offered. I mentioned Olsonian quantity because I had 1000 pages in my hands. I mentioned my appreciation of sentences because I had, oh, 10,000 sentences in my hand. I felt like I had to jar that recognition into the audience. I do not know that I had to, but I surely felt so.

Lots and lots of sentences that I heard that day were strategically dim. I suspect that many writers don’t exactly understand the challenge of the sentence. I do not mean sentences in the bland Poetry Magazine employ, dull prose rigged as poetry. Those loose cabooses in Poetry, full of commas and pressured similes, are just officially recognized distractions. What I speak of is how ordinary and trim the machine being used so often is. Such sentences work for minor purges but seem shiftless in the quantity of surprise that they supply.

What I love about Olson is what made the people needing safety nets bonkers. His twists, his stutter, his didn’t know it was a subject. I think the audience awaited the dead part of narrative to appear in my reading, and I wasn’t bringing the bacon. I was letting narrative stumble as it does in life.

To my mind, the metrics of modernism and post-modernism have been tamped down. The most rhythmic readers were largely theatrical, which maybe sounds bad but I do not mean it so. The rhythm was based on meaning rather than syllable. The sentence, then, glides along a fairly rolling, easy landscape. I think my writing has found another course, and it is rocky. Am I making sense?

Probably not. I am being general in my points, because I am simply sharing impressions. Why am I telling you, Posited Reader, this? To stay with the poetry I think I have found. I hope others write about this event. I have yet to read anything substantive.