Poetry at the Post: Void and Compensation by Michael Morse

Iris persica, a bulbous iris
Iris persica, a bulbous iris

I had the good fortune last night to be at the Marfa Book Co for a reading by poet Michael Morse, which was prescient as today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a “review poem.”

Instead, of writing a review of the reading (which was terrific) or Morse’s new book Void and Compensation (Don’t you just want to read the book for its title?), I decided to assemble a modified cento poem—a poem composed entirely of the words of other authors arranged in a new form or way.

For me, Morse’s lovingly haunting lines stand as their own review.

Void and Compensation* 
                         —After Michael Morse

So you are related to the iris, in and of its family.
April, the meadowlark back on his post, 
I led wayward bees to open windows.

We had put our hearts down on paper.
Since when did keeping things to ourselves
help us to better remember them? 


void and compensation

*All lines are from Void and Compensation by Michael Morse, Canarium Books, 2015.

Poetry at the Post: #twitterpoetryclub —A Peak at Chika Sagawa

The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa,* as translated by Sawako Nakayasu

"1.2.3.4.5" by Chika Sagawa
“1.2.3.4.5” by Chika Sagawa

Today I was stumped so I did not write a poem for NAPOWRIMO—or 30 poems in 30 days. My work around was to participate instead in the Twitter Poetry Club.

“What’s that? Well, it’s a sort of loose project in which, on selected days, people take photos of poems (from books or printouts or what-have-you) and post them to twitter with the hashtag #twitterpoetryclub…if you search twitter for the #twitterpoetryclub tag, you’ll find oodles of new poems.

sagawa 2

While in Minneapolis last week for #AWP15, I stopped by Canarium Books’ booth and picked up a copy of The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa. Chika Sagawa? Who was she? As I learned from the book’s introduction, Sagawa is considered to be Japan’s first female Modernist poet who tragically died in 1936 at the age of 24. As translator Sawako Nakayasu points out, she has been referred to as “everything from a ‘minor Modernist’ to ‘everybody’s favorite unknown poet.'” So, what would I think?

Back from the crush of AWP and settled in my studio outside Marfa, Texas, I have had some quiet time to read and reflect on Sagawa’s poetry. Its sparseness and space complements the full emptiness of this remote area of the country. A lovely and profound work by someone so young—an old soul, perhaps.

Canarium Books is offering The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa for only $8—now through April 16th. Get your copy today!