Thursday, April 11, 2013
ANNABEL LEE'S BASKET
I'm still working through the pile of poetry books but dedicated this week to just posting about some of them. Two more to go before I write about other stuff. The first of the two is BASKET (Accent Editions) by Annabel Lee, a New York poet, who now lives in Jersey, is an old friend, has been a publisher (Vehicle Editions, which published some classic books, including Ted Berrigan's TRAIN RIDE and a collection of love poems of mine called JUST LET ME DO IT) and can play the guitar and sing classic Appalachian tunes as good, and sometimes better, than many from that area.
This is a seminal book for Annabel, her first real full collection, made up mostly of a poetic form she invented for herself, short poems with thirty-four syllables, obviously twice the length of what too many "Americans" incorrectly reduced the Japanese haiku to. They have that same kind of zen feel of a quiet revelation, or epiphany, through the observation of some small scene or action.
These chronicle Annabel's observations about her adventures, including romantic, her travels and her encounters. With the succinctness the form demands, but a clarity that's her own, the best of them resonate long after they're read, or even engage in a way that elicits rereading.
Here are two examples that face each other on two pages (my copy isn't paginated so I can't say what pages they are) and seem to say so much with so little about the scenes and people in them that they read almost like very short stories or mini-screenplays:
34: how mapling dies down
sap season starts fast
Heather's a busy bee
then it's over — the course of the moon
as buckets fill the fires burn
until slow becomes
34: the first time
the potter said: I've learned
from my experience in life
anything that's worth
you're not going to get it right
the first time