Banana Trees and Bastards

This is a late post. I apologize. My dog bit me for my lack of discipline.

While reading Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, I am also reading books for school. This is the book I just finished for my Poetics class with Campbell McGrath.

[Tangent] YES THAT IS ELI MANNING’s #10 GIANTS JERSEY! YES THE SUPERBOWL WAS FANTASTIC! I have been wearing this jersey all week

(Sparky: It’s the children’s size jersey.

Me: Don’t hate, dawg.)

I live in Miami, where people don’t really care about sports, since we really don’t have any good sports teams. People around me: Florida International U’s football team is pretty good (T.Y. Hilton was a Heisman candidate this season), and our cheerleaders apparently have been featured in Playboy. FSU’s football games are good. But other than that, nobody cares about football around here. It has less to do with ecstatic winning or sore losing, and more to do with not caring. Oh well. Eli Manning is still the man. He got a corvette for being MVP again. I’m satisfied. Tangent over. Back to poetry.

The Essential Haiku Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa.

Campbell McGrath said that this is the book he would choose if he were stranded on an island and could only take one book etc. etc.

It is quite excellent. It is the most intricate yet accessible explanation of the haiku history and form that I have ever read. It makes me want to learn more about Buddhism, purely for the meditative roots embedded in each bite-sized text.

The spring we don’t see —
on the back of a hand mirror
a plum tree in flower.
          – Basho
When the winter chrysanthemums go, 
there’s nothing to write about
but radishes.
          – Basho
They don’t live long
but you’d never know it —
the cicada’s cry.
          – Basho
The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
with children.
          – Kobayashi Issa
In this world
we walk on the roof of hell,
gazing at flowers.
          – Kobayashi Issa

I have a feeling Campbell is going to ask us to write a deep, subtle haiku for our next workshop. I’m excited. It’s worth a read, and since it’s such a small book, you can breeze right through it. But you might want to brew yourself an aromatic cup of tea, sit down at a manly desk or in the plushest chair you have, and take your time with it.

Okay. Part 2. Bastardisms.

Print Oriented Bastards is exploding! We are now on Twitter. We are now an international journal. Submission period is still open, until February 15!

In the meantime, I have about 40 submissions to wade through right now. It’s exciting! I could really be an editor for the rest of my life, I think. I am also planning for a lot of stuff, and have deadlines to make. I have to get a custom t-shirt/button/postcards to hand out for AWP. I’ll be in Chicago from February 29-March 4, so if you’re there and want to ask questions about Print Oriented Bastards, shoot me a comment or twitter. POB will be twittering throughout the weekend.

Okay, manuscript time. Puppy out. I am also submitting to 4 literary journals/contests this weekend. Wish me luck!


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