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Shikibu Shuffle


I recently received a box of an array of newly published pamphlets and chapbooks from Ottawa's above/ground press. One of them is a collaboration between the two well-known poets: Perth, Australia-based Andrew Burke and Perth, Canada-based Phil Hall. It's a really nice chapbook with a glued cover image (I think each cover is different), a bright orange fly leaf and a line drawing that resembles a rubber stamp, and could be a rubber stamp, on the title and end pages. There are fifteen short, minimal poems riffing on a tenth century Japanese poet. The suite is at once kind of dainty and perky. It's called Shikibu Shuffle.

The introductory page reads:

"Happy fate brought a poet from Perth Western Australia and a poet from Perth Ontario Canada together in 2009.

Then Andrew had a heart attack and was queued up for life-saving surgery.

With nothing to do but wait, kept alive by sprays and medical potions - to distract himself - Andrew agreed to work with Phil on a collaboration.

Andrew suggested the Japanese court poet Murasaki Shikibu (973-1014); her 5-line form might be a place to start.

Phil was thinking of Ornette Coleman: two quartets facing each other and going at it (1960).

We wrote in 5s back and forth, then shuffled our silence-inducing cacophony into 10s, then improvised from there...

Andrew's operation was bumped once, and then happened. He's fine.

The shuffle served its purpose, and now surprises and delights them both."


      3.

      I watch my chest
      rise and fall in the mirror

      nature in the raw

      nothing I see or think
      means anything to me

      then I plan to tell you about it

      and into each dull thunk
      like lemon on fish

      comes flugelhorn

      a faint zing

      11.

      Talking to the air

      I break cobwebs
      on the line

      cello   kite  fishing

      making lurid
      the net result

      while hammock hook shines

      sun holds   motes float








1 Comments:

At 9:10 PM , Blogger Andrew said...

Thank you for mentioning this delightful collaborative effort. I could never have written such interesting and imaginative poetry if it wasn't for the inspiration of working with Phil, a brilliant poet on his own.

 

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