Recording of “Scarecrow Remembers”

I’m still experimenting with recording. Here’s “Scarecrow Remembers,” which was first published at The High Window in December 2016.

 

Review: Robert Okaji’s “From Every Moment A Second”.

The first review!

I Am Daniel Schnee

Okaji Image

FROM EVERY MOMENT A SECOND
Robert Okaji
Finishing Line Press
2017

★★★★★

From Every Moment A Second, the latest chapbook by American poet Robert Okaji, is yet another meticulously crafted collection of observations, private austerities and hesitancies spelt out in verse. A small collection of twenty poems, each feels “warm”, like a cozy winter Sunday on your living room couch – to paraphrase Junichiro Tanizaki – lost in contemplation of flavours to come.

What makes it a five star collection is each poem is clear in its vision, each unambiguously a part of the greater gist of the book. Each line shows where lesser works ‘tell’, and thus this collection feels like a series of tiny one act plays. Part of this is how each line and stanza feels like it has been put exactly in its proper place, that any further edits would remove a character or…

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Order Link for My New Chapbook is Now Up

From Every Moment a Second

The prepublication sales period for my new chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, begins today, June 13, and runs through August 11. The book’s tentative release date is October 6. Please note:  prepublication sales determine the print run, which means this stage is crucial in terms of how many copies will be printed and the number of copies I’ll receive as payment. So if you feel inclined to help, and are able, please purchase your copy during this period. Order here.

Many thanks to the members of this blog community for supporting my writing. I sit alone in my shack to write, but you are there with me, just a keyboard away. I am truly grateful for your wisdom and humor and willingness to help me traverse the strange and wonderful worlds of poetry and publication.

My New Chapbook to be Published by Finishing Line Press

From Every Moment a Second

The prepublication sales period for my new chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, begins tomorrow, June 13, and runs through August 11. The book’s tentative release date is October 6. Please note:  prepublication sales determine the print run, which means this stage is crucial in terms of how many copies will be printed and how many copies I’ll receive as payment. So if you feel inclined to help, and are able, please order your copy during this period. I will post the order link when it becomes available.

Many thanks to the members of this blog community for supporting my writing. I sit alone in my shack to write, but you are there with me, just a keyboard away. I am truly grateful for your wisdom and humor and willingness to help me traverse the strange and wonderful worlds of poetry and publication.

Apricot House (after Wang Wei)

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Apricot House (after Wang Wei)

We cut the finest apricot for roof beams
and braided fragrant grasses over them.

I wonder if clouds might form there
and rain upon this world?

The transliteration on Chinese-poems.com reads:

Fine apricot cut for roofbeam
Fragrant cogongrass tie for eaves
Not know ridgepole in cloud
Go make people among rain

Each adaptation poses its challenges, and this one was certainly no exception.
First I identified key words and determined how or whether to use them.
Apricot, roofbeam, cogongrass, eaves, ridgepole, cloud, people, rain.

Apricot was a given. It offered specificity, and feels lovely in the mouth. Roof beams, as well. Cogongrass didn’t make the cut. It is indeed used for thatched roofs in southeast Asia, but it felt clumsy; in this case, the specificity it lent detracted from my reading. And rather than use “thatched” I chose “braided” to imply the layered effect of thatching, and to imply movement, to mesh with and support the idea of clouds forming and drifting under the roof. “Not know” posed a question: did it mean ignorance or simply being unaware, or perhaps a state of wonderment? I first employed “unaware” but thought it took the poem in a different direction than Wang Wei intended (but who knows?). “Ridgepole” seemed unnecessary. So I chose to let the reader follow the unsaid – using “form there” to reinforce the impression already shaped by the roof beams and the grasses “over them.” I admit to some trepidation over the second couplet. It may still need work.

clouds

“Apricot House” first appeared here in December 2014.

Two Poems in Steel Toe Review

My poems “How to Do Nothing” and “And All Around, the Withered” have been published in Volume Four of Steel Toe Review, available for purchase here.

Many thanks to editor M. David Hornbuckle for taking these pieces.

 

Two Poems in GFT Presents: One in Four

My poems “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn” and “Scarecrow Believes” are included in GFT Presents: One in Four, a semiannual, print literary journal published by GFT Press, and available for purchase here.