Friday, July 05, 2013

a few words on a good read

eileen tabios did it again.  she's curated a very fine portfolio of haybun [hay(na)ku married to prose] entitled 147 million orphans published in mark young's excellent journal otoliths.  the title refers to the estimated number of orphan children living in the world.  the idea was to tap a few poets to engage with a school assignment, a list of 900 english words to be learned within a school year by tabios' adopted son.

the results are to this reader dazzling.  tho tabios asks each poet to stick within the theme of orphans she allows for the flexibility required in order to make good writing.  john bloomberg-rissman compels a very long list of words, the prose portion of his haybun, to be orphans without a sentence.  while on the other hand, a collaboration between patrick james dunagan and ava koohbor, expands the theme to create a jazzy syncopation of urban wilderness.  both are astonishing performances.

moving along to tom beckett's contribution is a tour de force of economy.  his orphans refuse to be one thing or multiple things.  they are guitar chords and sometimes grace notes. 

while sheila murphy writes of a single child.  better is the music of the words murphy uses.  they literally bounce on the tongue. 

     endeavor gingerly
     grimace gruesome inventory

this hay[na]ku is, i think, part of the 900 word list.  these are polysyllabic words with lots of vowels.  they crash into utterance.

furthermore, jean vengua's piece is a tear thru the childhood song, tisket tasket.  vengua fuses two words in her hay[na]ku that is surreal, comic and full of horror, hen ivy.  those two words go so well together i think they can be a title for a book. 

these are a few of the gems found within this folio.  nine bows to eileen tabios for making it happen. 


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