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Friday, July 31, 2015

98. Urban Tumbleweed

I went to see Harryette Mullen read, after we met at the restaurant to mourn the death of our friend Ken Irby. She read from this book (gray wolf, 2013) with the subtitle Notes from a Tanka Diary. I bought it and had her sign it. It is extraordinary poetry and I finished it just now. It's a variety of observational, witty tanka written on walks, about the human encounter with nature, sometimes surprising and illuminating. It makes me want to read Richard Wright's haiku (she uses one as an epigraph).

She uses three lines and 31 syllables, and it doesn't seem imitative of Japanese poetry in a facile way.

I knew Mullen's Sleeping with the Dictionary and had long admired it. This is the same poet, with some verbal wit, but in a different mode. She's not repeating herself.

I've lucked out so far in this reading project.

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