100 Poems After the Japanese

Having finished back in May a series of poems inspired by the classic Japanese anthology, I come to it now after letting the poems sit for a while, and re-read them in the spirit of seeing how my work is firmly rooted in what Peter Berg called “reinhabitation.” One could suggest my carbon footprint is evidence that I am far from reinhabitation myself, but Berg’s notions of what ails us in this time resonate with me quite deeply and have for a long time, even if I have been late to articulating it.

I agree with Berg when he says: “it is time to start thinking like parts of a whole” and time to find our place in the great scheme of things, part of which is understanding where we are, what we are and who are our neighbors.

So, it is with that notion that I start to serialize here my poems “After the Japanese.” Those familiar with the classic poems may see places from where I veered towards the notions expressed in the old poems and places where I took off, as is my preferred path. I think the old poets would welcome being “of use” as Charles Olson put it and I hope these poems are something that provide a window for your own reinhabitation effort, as we move to living more sustainably in the places where we live. The poems were written from about February to May 2014. As always, comments are welcome.

About Splabman

Paul Nelson is founder of SPLAB in Seattle and the Cascadia Poetry Festival. He wrote a collection of essays, Organic Poetry & a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, WA, A Time Before Slaughter (shortlisted for a 2010 Genius Award by The Stranger.) He’s interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, George Bowering, Diane di Prima, Brenda Hillman, George Stanley, Joanne Kyger & many Cascadia poets, has presented his poetry and poetics in London, Brussels, Qinghai and Beijing, China, Lake Forest, Illinois and other places & writes an American Sentence every day. www.PaulENelson.com

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