Wednesday, February 23, 2011
CHRIS MASON'S HUM WHO HICCUP
Got my copy of Chris Mason's HUM WHO HICCUP (Narrow House, Baltimore MD) in the mail yesterday and felt the same delight I've been feeling all my adult life when I get a book in the mail that I dig, or think I will, or by a writer/poet/etc. whose work gives me great satisfaction.
I've written about Chris on this blog before, his poetry and his music with The Tinklers and Old Songs (the latter put "archaic Greek poetry" to music).
I had already read this book, because I was asked (along with old friends the poets Terence Winch and Charles Bernstein) to write a blurb before it was published. So I'll just quote myself from the back of the book:
"There is no other book of poetry like Chris Mason's HUM WHO HICCUP, it's wonderful (and all that implies, including full of wonder). Mason has always been an original, but in HUM WHO HICCUP he outdoes himself. Whether it's his 'Hiccup' version of what most would see as Haiku (two disparate images joined unexpectedly in seventeen syllables—only Mason's Hiccups are eleven syllables), or in his what used to be called 'concrete' or visual poetry, only Mason riffs off scientific formulas and discoveries all the while choosing poetry over physics, lyricism over logic, and Escher-like poetic architecture over classic lyric structures (or a combination of both). HUM WHO HICCUP is a tour de force of unique poetics, but as entertaining as it is sui generis, just like the poet himself as he comes across in this collection and in all his writing and music."
[PS: I forgot I wanted to include a sample poem, so here's the first one in the book from a series called "HOMERIC HUMS"
too bright for sight
bursting through the clouds:
Hail, Morning Sun,
of my coldness
into warmth, you
fill my bowl with