f/k/a . . . the archives

January 30, 2008

RMA 2007 is here!

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,haijin-haikai news,Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 1:32 pm

dust of summers: The 2007 Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku,” edited by Jim Kacian and the Red Moon Editorial Staff, Red Moon Press, Winchester, VA, USA, 172 pages, ISBN: 1-978-893959-68-2, $16.95; see cover)

day moon
we windowshop
caskets

…………………….. by Roberta Beary, USA, – dust of summers: RMA 2007; orig. pub. NOON 5

RMPLogo In the haikai community, the annual edition of the Red Moon Anthology is even more anticipated than Groundhog’s Day. Each volume in the much-honored RMA series attempts to collect “the best English-language haiku and related writings from around the world” published in the prior calendar year, as selected by the dozen distinguished members of its editorial board. Seeing which poems are included and savoring/judging them individually and collectively is an addiction for many poets and readers of the genre.

The new volume of RMA is not usually available before February, so when it’s out before Punxsutawney Phil shows his cute, furry head, it’s easy to predict an especially good and timely year for the oft-pokey haiku press. The twelfth volume in the RMA series is “dust of summers: RMA 2007.” My copy should arrive by the weekend, but I wanted to let f/k/a‘s readers know they can already get RMA 2007 from Red Moon Press. I also wanted to speculate a little before seeing this edition — wondering if some unaccustomed criticism in 2007 had any effect on this year’s version of 2007, and whether controversy will spur sales, as it does in so many other literary fields.

big sky: rma 2006 BigSkyRMA2006

As you may recall, I lamented last June that at least 25 of the 165 haiku and senryu chosen for “big sky” by RMA’s editors as “the finest haiku . . . published around the world in English in 2006″ were tell-ems — poems in which the poet “tells” what is on his or her mind (by stating an insight or intellectual conclusion, or naming an emotional state) rather than “showing” us through images based on sensory experiences. My original “psyku” essay last year, and the follow-up anchovie piece at year-end, argue and assert that tell-ems — no matter how interesting the notion presented or how honored their authors — are second-rate representations of the haiku genre, which (as Prof. Yabut might say) deserve rewriting, not rewards. They rarely, if ever, belong in our best journals, much less in contests and anthologies proclaiming to present the very best haiku and senryu. So, I’m hoping that dust of summers will be kind to my haiku psyche, and not inspire an undue amount of agita and anchovy-parodies.

A far more prominent criticism of big sky: rma 2006 came from Robert Wilson, the managing Editor of Simply Haiku, in a book review published in his e-journal’s Summer 2007 edition. Robert’s basic complaint was that — for an anthology purporting to be “the best haiku” — there were simply too many senryu in RMA 2006, and they were not labeled as such to distinguish them from the haiku. Although he found a few excellent senryu, Wilson worried that many readers will be “confused about the difference between the two genres,” and he opines:

“There are some brilliant English language poets, but many are missing from Big Sky in favor of some of the above [senryu] inclusions. Perhaps the anthology’s editors didn’t look hard enough. I hope they dig deeper for next year’s anthology. And will be more up front next time and identify any senryu as such. “

I’m eager to see whether either criticism had any influence on this year’s selection by the RMA Editorial Board. As Red Moon noted when it unveiled big sky, “this most decorated series in haiku history [has been] winner of the Haiku Society of America Merit Book Award for Best Anthology virtually every year since its inception.” For whatever reasons (perhaps those noted above), RMA 2006 did not receive the Merit Book award this year. I hope and expect that dust in summers will be a major contender again for that coveted prize.

The Red Moon website tells us that dust of summers includes “150 poems, 25 linked pieces and half a dozen critical works which encapsulate the very best writing of the haiku world in English this year.” Despite my personal preferences and concerns, and my knowing how tenuous the “best of” notion can be, I can assure you that the majority of the poems selected for RMA 2007 will indeed — in Robert Wilson’s words from last year — be “wonderful and refreshing” and “deserve a wider audience.”

Since our Honored Guest poets are often among the most-frequently selected poets in RMA, I asked a couple of them yesterday to share their chosen poems for this preview. Here are a few, plus a haibun, to pique your interest. I’ll be presenting many more from the f/k/a haiku family once I have dust of summers in hand. [Update: for more poems by our Honored Guests from Dust of Summers, see our posts "more treats from Dust of Summers" (Feb. 7, 2008); and "a peek inside Dust of Summers: RMA 2007" (Feb. 3, 2008)]

retreating glacier–
how long since we’ve heard
the black wolf’s song

…………………………. by Billie Wilson USA – dust of summers: RMA 2007 (Red Moon Press, 2008); orig. pub. Modern Haiku 38:1

circle of lamplight–
I complete the baby quilt
begun for me

…………………………. by Carolyn Hall – dust of summers: RMA 2007; orig. pub. Heron’s Nest Award, HN IX:1

magnolias
opening
the moon roof

………………………….. by Peggy Willis Lyles — dust of summers: RMA 2007; orig. pub. Mayfly #43, Summer 2007

full morning moon –
the working girl’s
gauzy blouse

……………….. by David Giacalone — dust of summers: RMA 2007; originally published in Simply Haiku 5:3

In the Night Kitchen

the boyfriend’s in her room and i can hear sounds coming from up there i don’t know if they are giggles or groans or what i just want him to leave want to hear those boots coming heavy down the stairs and i know she has been away two years which means she has done all sorts of things she hasn’t told me the same way i never told mother only different because now i know what mother knew and what all mothers come to know in time

midnight
above a cluster of stars
one star

……………………… by Roberta Bearydust of summers: RMA 2007; orig. pub. Modern Haiku 38.1 (Spring 2007)

January 27, 2008

we again stifle our obama oratory

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 12:25 pm

After last night’s results in South Carolina, the temptation to break the f/k/a Christmas Eve no-political-punditry pledge is even greater today than it was after the Iowa caucuses, and during the past few weeks of bilious Billderdash on the campaign trail. However, as we said back on January 4th, “we’ve never been able to have just one drink at the punditry bar, so I just put the cork back on that bottle of opine wine.”

Nevertheless, I will say two things: (1) I joined “Obama for New York” last night, plan to be one of the honkees at the Honk for Hope rally this afternoon in Albany, NY, and have just bookmarked the Obama Capital District NY Blog. And, (2) No matter how much I might agree with the agenda of whoever is chosen to live in the White House this November, I do not want to live through another four or eight years with a President who is personally loathed (not merely a gender or racial dislike or preference) by scores of millions of Americans. We need a unifier.

first full moon NoYabutsSN .
breaking the last
new year’s resolution

……………………………………… by dagosan (see the original haiga, at Magnapoets)

Meanwhile (and this goes greatly against the Prof. Yabut and ethicalEsq grain), I’ll let others do the talking: See “A President Like My Father,” by Caroline Kennedy; and “The Billary Road to Republican Victory,” by Frank Rich (New York Times, January 27, 2008); “Questions for the Clintons,” by Bob Herbert; and “Two Presidents Are Worse Than One,” by Garry Willis (New York Times, January 26, 2008); also, Althouse on Who Favored Hillary in SC.

What’s the antidote to the urge to pontificate? Besides having fun with Ann with mirrors, it is — as always — good one-breath poetry:

family plot–
all but forgotten
the sibling rivalry

high noon
the boys refill
their water pistols

……………………… by Tom Painting
“high noon” – July Selection, Snapshot Press 2005 Haiku Calendar
“family plot–” – Acorn No. 19 (Fall, 2007)

NoYabutsSN

new year
the neighbor tidies up
his side of the woods

waking to a new year . . .
his side of the bed
already cool

mother-daughter outing –
deep shadows
in the lotus seed pod

…………… by Carolyn HallAcorn No. 19 (Fall, 2007)

January 25, 2008

butterfly haiku

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 11:18 am

On the morning of my father’s recent funeral, I learned why the Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home Inc., in Rochester, New York, chose the monarch butterfly as its symbol. Before closing the casket, a funeral director gave each family member a silver-tone butterfly lapel pin. It quickly came to mean more to me than I had thought it would at the first moment the pin was placed in the palm of my hand (when I figuratively rolled my tear-filled eyes). To my surprise, I found myself touching the pin often throughout that day and the days since, making a quick connection to my Dad.

B&P uses a poem by Evelyn Phillips to help express the butterfly symbol’s many facets. Because I prefer more indirect poetic explanations, I decided to bring together many of the butterfly-related haiku that have appeared here at f/k/a over the past few years — written by our Honored Guest family of haijin, and by myself. As good haiku should, they speak to us of many insights, emotions, and connections (not all sweet or maudlin), one butterfly moment at a time.

sunset stroll –
searching snowbanks
for butterflies

…………………………………………. by david giacalone
[in mem., Arthur P. Giacalone]

Monarch butterfly circle of life” [by Peggy Greb & Stephen Ausmus, USDA]

garden butterfly–
the child crawls, it flies
crawls, it flies…

the flute-playing servant
is the village headman!
butterflies dance

borrowing an antler
the butterfly
rests

window open–
a butterfly pulls my eyes
across the field

flecked with sand
from the whirlwind…
little butterfly

…………………………………………………….. by Kobayashi Issa,
translated by David G. Lanoue [hundreds more, here]

hitchhiking
an orange moth fills
the emptiness of Texas

………………………… by ed markowski
- Mainichi News (Sept. 2005)

the butterfly’s path …
my son swings again
and misses

……………………….. by Tom Clausen
- Homework (Snapshot Press 2000)

relaxing my arm
butterfly
on the bullseye

……………………. by Michael Dylan Welch
3rd Place, Drevnoik Award 2004, Haiku Canada

eviction notice —
a moth ricochets
in the lampshade

insomnia
the break-up
moth by moth

………………. by Alice Frampton
“eviction notice” – The Heron’s Nest (March 2004)
“insomnia” – The Heron’s Nest (Nov. 2003)

record heat –
a moth the color of heather
on the heather

…………………………………….. by Billie Wilson
- The Heron’s Nest VII:2 (2005)

this butterfly
has places to go
spring journey

one last teatime
for the autumn
butterfly

……………………….. by David G. Lanoue .
from Dewdrop World (2005)

[orig.] “Monarchs feeding” [Image source: Allen Montgomery, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service]

flitting butterfly
to Buddha’s lap
returns

yellow gang, white gang
the butterflies stake
their claims

claiming
the big sake cup…
a little butterfly

………………………… by Kobayashi Issa,
translated by David G. Lanoue

among the yellow roses
the yellow butterfly
grows still

after the rain
a white butterfly
on the clothesline

……………………. by George Swede
“among the yellow roses” – Almost Unseen (Brooks Books, 2000)
“after the rain” from Haiku Moment (B Ross, ed, 1993) ; Inkstone I:1 (1982)

my son noticing . . .
the attention i pay
to butterflies

……………………………… by John Stevenson
- The Heron’s Nest — Vol. 1, #1 (1999):

a butterfly
so long at my window
summer dusk

the long night
a kaleidoscope of moth parts
in the overhead lamp

………………………………………. by Carolyn Hall
“a butterfly” – The Heron’s Nest 9:1 (2007); Winner, The Snapshot Press Haiku Calendar Competition 2007
“the long night” – The Heron’s Nest (IV:3, March 2002); Water Lines (2006)

the garden butterfly–
my daughter not close enough
then too close

one wing
folded against the other–
colors of a dead butterfly

nowhere else
but the next flower –
afternoon butterfly

………………………………………… by Gary Hotham
“the garden butterfly” – The Heron’s Nest (Sept. 2001)
“one wing” – The Heron’s Nest (Dec. 2001)
“nowhere else” – The Heron’s Nest (May 2004)

mountain butterfly
from her boulder
to mine

…………………….. by randy brooks
- Modern Haiku XXXI:2; glimpse of red: rma 2000

drowned moth
the wax hardens
around it

…………. by Jim Kacian
from Presents of Mind, haiku and illustrations

fluttering madly—
butterfly in the slipstream
of a passing freight

legs pawing
in the summer wind—monarch
in the wiper blade

………………………. by Lee Gurga from Fresh Scent

dwindling heat
a butterfly lengthens
the rosevine

…………………………………………….. by roberta beary
- Hermitage 2006

A clear hot day butterflyN
the silence
behind the butterfly

Windblown curtain–
from a fold, a white moth
flutters out into moonlight

……………………….. by Rebecca Lilly,
from Shadwell Hills (Birch Prees Press, 2002)

flitting from
watercolours to oils
a butterfly

beneath work
i haven’t finished
a trembling moth

……………………………. by Matt Morden
“flitting from” – Morden Haiku (Aug. 29, 2007)
“beneath work” – Morden Haiku (June 16, 2006)

p.s. I’ve created a butterfly haiku memorial collection for Papa G., which is a Word document that you can print from this website, to create a two-sided, trifold brochure. It contains most of the poems found above.

 

January 24, 2008

Mann Library features Carolyn Hall haiku this month

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 10:24 am

Regrets are often neither helpful nor healthy, but I’ve nevertheless been bemoaning my failure to live up to our only resolution last January: to visit Tom Clausen‘s Cornell University Mann Library Daily Haiku Page frequently throughout 2007. At his Mann Library website, Tom features one guest poet a month, posting one haiku or senryu each day.

In January 2007, Tom Clausen finally focused on his own fine poetry (which you can also find in quantity here at f/k/a), and then presented a stellar group of haijin friends throughout 2007: Frank Robinson in February; Pamela Miller Ness in March; Cor van den Heuvel in April; Ruth Yarrow in May; Vincent Tripi in June; Carol Purington in July; Michael Ketchek in August; Philomene Kocher in September; Ed Markowski in October; J.W. Hackett in November and December. [Go here to subscribe to the Main Library's daily haiku feed; and here for Friends of Mann Library]

Whether you’re hoping to see the work of one of your favorite haiku poets, or looking to make the acquaintance of a haijin who is new to you, the Mann website is a good place to visit often. Seeing what Tom has posted day by day is enjoyable, but so is catching up on a month’s worth of a poet’s haiku through the Mann archives. [My only complaint (other than my usual lament over the creeping presence of "tell-ems"): the original publication credit should be given for each poem featured at MLDH. Giving that credit is part of the deal we haiku poets make with our publishers.]

new field glasses-
a house I’ve never noticed
at the end of my block

………………………………………. by Carolyn Hall
Mann Library’s Daily Haiku page, Jan. 24, 2008

As mentioned here a few days ago, Tom started 2008 auspiciously by featuring the work of Carolyn Hall all this month at MLDH. As you can see from her f/k/a archive page, the work of Carolyn Hall has been regularly gracing this weblog since Dec. 14, 2004. We’ve noted (with much more admiration than envy) that “Carolyn has been winning so many haiku awards that we can’t possibly list them all.” She’s now the editor of the biannual haiku journal Acorn.

Snapshots Haiku Calendar 2008 (August)

a butterfly
so long at my window
summer dusk

…………………………………………………………. by Carolyn Hall
- The Heron’s Nest 9:1 (2007); Winner, The Snapshot Press Haiku Calendar Competition 2007 Winner

Carolyn’s book Water Lines (Snapshot Press, 2006; see cover), which can be ordered here, was the 2007 HSA Merit Book 2nd Place winner (see our discussion), and was one of three joint winners of the Snapshot Press Haiku Collection Competition 2004 (see our posting). You’ll find many poems from Water Lines at Mann. Here, to whet your appetite further, are a handful of poems that have already appeared at MLDH in January 2008:

seafaring story-
the book rises and falls
on his chest

first night home from college
click of the latch
on her bedroom door

creek grasses
bent seaward
winter rain

dog days
my gardening gloves
finally softened

first freeze
the birdfeeder spins
in the wind

butterflyN ……………….. by Carolyn Hall, Mann Library Daily Haiku (Jan. 2008)
“first night home” – A New Resonance 2;  “creek grasses” – The Heron’s  Nest (Feb. 2001)
“fireplace glow” – The Heron’s Nest (VII:4, Winter 2005)

You can find another poem each day by Carolyn through January 31st at MLDH, and all of them by using the “previous” link or going to her MLDH archive page.

 

January 21, 2008

MLK, Jr Day: service, justice & nonviolence

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 10:16 am

It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and as we did last year, the f/k/a Gang re-commits to a Day of Service in his honor, as well as beginning “40 Days of Nonviolence: Building the Beloved Community.” Other f/k/a MLK Day themes that deserve a repise:

  • all of us who are responsible for the operation of our legal and judicial system (that’s every American, but especially the legal profession) can use the pro-se/self-help-law movement to help ensure that wealth is no longer the key to the courthouse and that our justice system fairly serves every American.

Martin Luther King Day…
the weight of ice
on a magnolia branch

. . . by ed markowski

Martin Luther King Day – NoYabutsSN
the kid says it’s too cold
to march

. ……………… . by dagosan

[Don't forget the 2008 Martin Luther King Day Edition of Blawg Review [#143].]

January 20, 2008

2007 winners from Mainichi

Filed under: haijin-haikai news,Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 10:39 am

The winners of this year’s Mainichi Daily News haiku contest have just been announced — see the 11th Mainichi Haiku Contest (2007) results and commentary. Congratulations to Philippe Bréham (France), who took the First Prize. I’m pleased to see that two of the earliest members of our f/k/a family had honored poems:

chambers pulsing
in the washed-up jellyfish—
waning moon

Michael Welch (U. S. A.)
2nd Prize, 11th Mainichi Haiku Contest (2007)

. . . …………………………………… . . . .

snow flurries
a childhood friend
reappears

Peggy Lyles (U. S. A.)
Honorable Mention, 11th Mainichi Haiku Contest (2007)

Déjà-ku scholar Michael Dylan Welch was the second poet to agree to share his haiku at this weblog. Here are a few of his poems that fit my mood and themes this week:

first date
letting her
put snow down my neck

a table for one–
leaves rustle
in the inner courtyard

[photo/poem]

an old woolen sweater
taken yarn by yarn
from the snowbank

………………………. by Michael Welch
“first date” – South by Southwest 10:3; “edge of light: RMA 2003″
“a table for one” & “woolen sweater” – “Open Window” (photos and poems)

LylesRain Three years ago today, we posted our “inaugural” piece on Peggy Willis Lyles. As often, Peggy touches me with the honesty and empathy of her haiku:

bitter wind . . .
the hand that cups the flame
aglow

snowed in
the wedding-ring quilt
lumpy with children

winter night
he patiently untangles
her antique silver chain

wind and rain
the hand I reach for
in the dark

…………………. Peggy Lyles, from To Hear the Rain (Brooks Books, 2002)

In a day or two, we’ll be featuring some of the poems by “our” Carolyn Hall that can be found all this month on Cornell’s Mann Library Daily Haiku page. Please don’t wait for our posting to get over there and enjoy and appreciate a month’s worth of fine haiku by the much-honored Ms. Hall, chosen by Tom Clausen. For example:

a butterfly
so long at my window
summer dusk

fieplace glow
first signs of fraying
in the cane-back rocking chair

………………………………………. by Carolyn Hall

January 16, 2008

papa g’s night train

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 8:58 pm

[Jitterbug Stamp] My retired mail-carrier Dad, Arthur P. Giacalone, loved swing music and famously loved to dance. When we went as a family to wedding receptions or other big parties, Papa G. always brought along a change of clothing, so he could shed the damp ones before the last dance with Mama G. [I wrote about Papa G. on his 87th birtday in 2006, and last September, when he and Mama G. celebrated their 60th Anniversary (lots of photos here).]

[big] At his funeral on Monday, one of Dad’s very favorite nieces reminded us that their eyes would meet whenever a band started to play “Night Train,” and then they would jitterbug together like crazy to the delight of all. (Click for jitterbug history, and this fun 1944 instructional video)

jitterbug gene –
dad’s skipped
a generation

………………….. dagosan

Cousin Rose Palazzo’s fond memory of dancing with Uncle Art. got me searching for a video clip of Night Train yesterday, and refreshed my recollection on many dad-and-music-related topics from my childhood. When I learned that Louis Prima did a well-known version of “Night Train,” I smiled broadly — recalling the fun I had with my parents as a (not-yet-jaded, pre-teen) kid, watching the antics of trumpet-playing band leader and “hepcat” Louis Prima and his deadpan, lovely, songstress wife Keely Smith (who can be heard in a 20-minute NPR Fresh Air presentation, from 2002, “Queen of Swing“). As one commentator explains, Italian-American Louis Prima was “one of the few obviously ethnic entertainers who never turned his back on his roots once mainstream success hit.” For example,

“He always revived — to his audience’s delight — Italian novelty numbers [e.g., titles like "Felicia No Capicia" (more)," "Baciagaloop (Makes Love on the Stoop)," "Please No Squeeza Da Banana," and "Josephina, Please No Leana on the Bell." ], and much of his performing persona could be traced to the wildly energetic Italian kid who never grew up.”

With much anticipation and satisfaction I located a Prima-Butera Night Train Video version of the song, which had been released on Louis Prima’s “The Wildest!” Album (Capitol Records, 1957), and has an amazing sax solo by Sammy Butera. I don’t think of myself as a swing or jazz fan, but this instrumental made me grin and tap my feet, and immediately recall the great Night Train lyrics (by Lewis C. Simpkins) that dad would occasionally sing — in what was surely my first exposure to an anti-domestic violence theme:

Night train,
That took my baby far away.
Night train,
That took my baby far away.
Tell her
I love her more and more each day.

(Chorus) ["The Wildest!" cover]

My mother said I’d lose her
If I ever did abuse her,
Shoulda listened.

My mother said I’d lose her
If I ever did abuse her,
Shoulda listened.

Now I have learned my lesson
My baby was a blesssin’,
Shoulda listened.

[I plan to click on the Prima video link often, to let Night Train help "bring my daddy back to me." Listen to Eddie Jefferson's more optimistic version of the song, in which the night train brings his baby back.]

funeral dirge –
we bury the one
who could carry a tune

……… david giacalone – Frogpond 31:2 (2008) – selected for “white lies: Red Moon Anthology 2008

Since my arrival in my original hometown of Rochester, New York, on Saturday, I’ve been treading water in the emotional pond formed by losing a parent. Despite a few tearful episodes, it has mostly felt like a soothing communal hot-tub, warmed with the love and affection of family and friends.

Here are a few more poems that came to mind during my 4-hour trip back to Schenectady today on the New York Thruway:

driving home
from papa’s funeral –
thin noon moon half-empty

bequest wish list
a father’s smile
at the top

dad’s empty chair –
mom lets me cook the pasta
al dente

…………………………… dagosan

Here are a few one-breath poems, by members of our f/k/a haijin family, which in one way or another remind me of a man who was sadly short of breath and unable to jitterbug the past couple of decades.

winter woods
seeing myself
in black and white

………………….. by yu chang – Upstate Dim Sum 2005/1

the pinwheel stops
grandpa catches
his breath

………………… by Randy Brooks, from School’s Out (Press Here, 1999)

one of your sighs
has stayed with me
forty years, so far

……………………… by John Stevenson – Upstate Dim Sum (2005/I)

Discovery channel –
an older male vanquished
heads for the hills

within the red wine
a nap in my chair

my wife catches me
picking from our trash
again

letting her
walk all over me
ladybug

without consent
my old sneakers
in the trash

yardwork:
some of the old tire water
on my shoes

the river
full of ice
broken free

……………………. Tom Clausen
“Discovery channel” and “within the red wine” – Upstate Dim Sum (2003/II)
“me wife catches me” – from Upstate Dim Sum 2007/1
“letting her” — being there (Swamp Press, 2005)
“without consent,” “now that I’m over,” and “yardwork” – from Homework (2000)
“the river” Upstate Dim Sum (2005/II)

update (Jan. 17, 2008): f/k/a “Cousin” Ed Markowski knows a lot about family love and loss, and caring for friends. He sent me three poems overnight that belong here in this post:

funeral procession
the silence of the engine
dad tuned last april

winter funeral
a bead of holy water
freezes in mid-air

dad’s funeral
this morning uncle walt
ties my tie

[mama g, 1948]

afterglow (Jan. 18, 2008): That cutie my Dad fell in love with in 1947 loved Glenn Miller, too, and we often heard “Moonlight Serenade” at Casa Giacalone (click for YouTube version), as well as “In the Mood“. Ed Markowski sent us this little gift, which incorporates another of my favorite insects:

moonlit serenade
fireflies appear just beyond
the jitterbugs

…………………………………………. ed markowski

Meanwhile, the rarely-sentimental Prof. Yabut penned this tell-em, and caught me in a weakened condition, so I’m passing it along (with apologies to Groucho Marx):

in the mood
innuendo goes
out the window

afterwords (Jan 21, 2008): Thanks to Gideon at Public Defender Stuff, for including this posting in his stirring 2008 Martin Luther King Edition of Blawg Review [#143].

p.s. A Butterfly Connection: Go here to learn why, from now on, butterflies will remind me of my Dad, and to find a couple dozen butterfly poems by our Honored Guest poets. I’ve uploaded a “butterfly haiku memorial collection for Papa G.,” which is a Word document that you can print from this website, to create a two-sided, trifold brochure. It contains most of the poems found in the butterfly haiku posting.

sunset stroll –
searching snowbanks
for butterflies

……………………………….…………………………… by david giacalone
[in mem., Arthur P. Giacalone; haiga photo by Yu Chang]

January 11, 2008

called home late: BBS strikes again

Filed under: Book Reviews,Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 1:15 pm

As often happens, real news had a somewhat sobering effect on what started out as a typically irreverent-flippant posting here yesterday at f/k/a. about my increasingly faulty memory. See “Sufferers of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Describe Life with the Disease” (PBS NewsHour, Jan. 10, 2008), and the related NewsHour Insider Forum“Early Onset Alzheimer’s Patients Take Your Questions on Disease” (Jan. 10, 2008). For more information on the October 2007 Early Memory Loss Forum, go here and here. Also of interest (and concern) “Alzheimer’s Has an Effect on Kids, Too: Visits With Ill Relatives Are Sad but Important” (Washington Post, Jan. 8, 2008); “Dementia in More Educated Hits Later But Harder: More schooling delayed disease onset, but decline was more rapid afterward, study finds” (Health Day, October 23, 2007); and check out the Alzheimer’s Association’s Maintain Your Brain page for suggestions and information on keeping mental acuity.

My hopes and empathetic concern go out to all those truly suffering from the serious condition of Early-onset Alzheimer’s and Early Memory Loss, and to their families. Watching my father’s dementia the past few years has been a sad experience. A bemused sense of humor and horror is still about all I can manage for my own situation.

Boomer Braino Syndrome ["BBS"] is not something I’ll ever get used to — despite having experienced, joked, fretted and pontificated about it for several years (see, e.g., our first piece on “peridemenita” and our graying of the bar opus). A few days ago, it dawned on me that I had somehow totally overlooked the wonderful little book called home, by our Honored Guest poet paul m., in our cyber-Monday list of recommended holiday gifts, on November 29, 2007.

fog on the bridge
this small truck
for all our belongings

… by paul m. from called home (Red Moon Press 2006) CalledHomePaulM

We featured five poems from Called Home last May, when we introduced the book, and five more in August, when reporting that Paul’s volume of haiku and senryu received the Third Place prize in the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Awards for 2007 (for books published in 2006). It has more than one hundred poems and will surely help you or a loved one get through that inevitable post-holiday slump. You can click on the link above or write to Red Moon Press, P.O. Box 2461 Winchester, Virginia 22604-1661, for a copy of called moon, which is available in the USA for $12.00.

I can think of no better way to cap off the holiday season, and welcome the New Year, than sharing five more poems by Paul M. from his fine called home collection. Of course, I apologize heartily to Paul and all our readers for yet another cruel example of BBS-generated agita.

weights reset CalledHomePaulM
in the grandfather clock
morning snow

moving the cow
closer to baby Jesus
yesterday’s snow

the tree still draws water
a calendar
declaring a new year

mid-morning
and the snow is melting . . .
her thinness

snow outside
everyone else rises
to receive the host

winter light
flour, sugar, and the canister
that held dog biscuits

CalledHomePaulM … by paul m. from called home (Red Moon Press 2006)

Meanwhile, I have been unexpectedly and prematurely called home today, to mourn and celebrate the life of a man I loved very much. See “dad inspired some haiku.”

that little grunt
dad always made–
putting on my socks

………………………….. dagosan; photo by Nick DiTucci

frogpond (XXVIII: 2, 2005); inside the mirror: The Red Moon Anthology 2005

January 8, 2008

the long and short of lawyer films

Filed under: q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 7:16 pm

On a sunny day when Spamalot comes to Schenectady (see Gazette photo), along with record-high temperatures, the f/k/a Gang seems especially frantic to get me to step foot outside and avoid this weblog. You’d think that would be easy, now that we’ve sworn off writing about legal ethics (and successfully overcame the temptation to join in the current blawgisphere discussion of billable hours and the status of lawyers in our society). But, alas, nothing ever seems easy or uncomplicated around here.

the morning after -
she says hindsight
is 20/40

……………………………….. dagosan

For example, an email came yesterday from Lisa Solomon, of the humor-vending Billable Hour Company, asking whether writing about a lawyer-ethics video clip [to wit, "Ethical Dropout" at BHC's new The Video Venue] constitutes prohibited punditry these days at f/k/a. That got me thinking way too hard about politesse, parsing, punchlines, and similar p-words. It also reminded me how much I actually enjoyed, prior to getting broadband access a few months ago, being able to tell friends, “I only have a dial-up modem, so I can’t go to YouTube to marvel at your new fave video.”

Since we watched the whole thing, here is our painfully-honest, mini-review of the 5-minute TVV video “Ethical Dropout“: Didn’t laugh, lust, or learn any legal ethics.

Eventually, I decided that “pointing ain’t punditry” and I remembered — especially after reading about the up-coming truncated version of the Golden Globes — that I’ve been meaning to tell our readers about some interesting sources and resources on “lawyer films.”

Fictional lawyer “Michael Clayton” confronts many ethical issues and personal crises in the critically-acclaimed eponymous film, which is likely to be a big winner at awards shows this year (see Wikipedia for awards, and nominations; and find critic reviews)

So, without undue explanation, explication, nor exegesis, here are some links for lovers and critics of lawyers on film:

highway patrolman -
his leather jacket squeaks
taking the stand
………………………………………………. by barry george

LPOPThe Lawyer and Popular Culture Collection, housed at the U. Texas Tarlton Law Library, brings together information and materials on how the profession is portrayed in the our modern culture. As part of its collection, LPOP owns over 700 featured films and tv series about lawyers — from Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) to Zoot Suit (1981). Click for its alphabetical list. The website also republishes scholarly work such as “Reading/Teaching Lawyer Films,” by Prof. Prof. James R. Elkins (see our prior post on his Legal Studies Forum), Vermont Law Review, Volume 28, Number 4 (2004).

summer day
a seat in the movies
away from others

…………………….. by John StevensonUpstate Dim Sum (2004/II)

If you’re serious about the genre of lawyer films, and the discipline/past-time of legal film criticism, you will want to read the Winter 2007 edition of the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, which presents the “Symposium: Access to Justice: Law and Popular Culture“( Vol. 40, No. 2, 2007). You’ll find a summary of the symposium submissions in an Introduction by Prof. John T. Nockleby (at 539). The table of contents contains links to articles such as:

  • TRUTH TALES AND TRIAL FILMS, by Jessica Silbey, at 551
  • WE LOST IT AT THE MOVIES: THE RULE OF LAW GOES FROM WASHINGTON TO HOLLYWOOD AND BACK AGAIN, by Susan Bandes, at 621
  • POPULAR CULTURE AND THE ADVERSARY SYSTEM, by Michael Asimow, at 653
  • SUPER SIZE ME AND THE CONUNDRUM OF RACE/ETHNICITY, GENDER, AND CLASS FOR THE CONTEMPORARY LAW-GENRE DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER, by Regina Austin, at 687
  • A MANIFESTO FOR VISUAL LEGAL REALISM, by Richard K. Sherwin, at 719
  • POPULAR CULTURE, LEGAL FILMS, AND LEGAL FILM CRITICS, by James R. Elkins, at 745

Prof. Elkins has taught a course on “Lawyers and Film” for many years at U. West Virginia law school. In the course he asks some important questions:

  • What can we learn about ourselves as lawyers from watching lawyer films?
  • If we are to learn something about ourselves as lawyers from films, what elements of the films–story, narrative, drama, plot, character portrayal, lawyer rhetoric, mythology, visual presentation, criticism–are of particular interest to us as lawyers?
  • How are the ideals associated with a life in law portrayed in film? What critical views and interpretations of law, lawyers, and lawyering are presented in film?
  • How are we to “read” the social, political, and cultural messages we associate with lawyer films?

In his symposium article, Elkins challenges the “reality critique”— the supposition by some legal scholars that law as portrayed on screen inaccurately represents law, lawyers, or the “legal system.” He also claims that “we know far less about the effects of popular culture on law and lawyering than we would like to think we do.”

Although I’m admitting sloth and avoiding commentary these days, I’d like to hear what blawggers — such as Anne Reed at Deliberations, Dan Solove at Law & Humanities Blog and Concurring Opinions, Anne Skove at Court-o-Rama, and Scott G-r-e-e-n-f-i-e-l-d of Simple Justice — have to say about some of the issues raised by Jim Elkins:

• Are jurors “influenced” by popular culture representations
of law and lawyers?
• Do lawyers and judges think that jurors are being influenced
by popular culture representations?
• How does the influence of popular culture representations
change the legal system?

update (Jan. 10, 2008):  Scott G. at Simple Justice has reacted to our plea above with a little punt and promise of his own.  And, Anne Skove at Court-o-rama bit at our bait with inciteful, entertaining insights “as seen on TV” (Jan. 10, 2008) that you don’t want to miss.

TVV: JDTube — Finally, I want to point you all to The Video Venue, brought to you by The Billable Hour Co. As Lisa Solomon has explained, “TVV features video clips by, for, and about lawyers, law students, and legal professionals.” Indeed, it “aggregates funny law-related videos from various web video sites (including YouTube, Revver and Google Video, among others). Videos are grouped into playlists organized by topic (such as law school, jury duty, court reporters and paralegals), practice area (such as contracts, torts and criminal law) and type of video (such as music, movie clips and commercials).” Site visitors can also create their own playlists to personalize their viewing experience, and upload their own videos (subject to review for appropriateness and quality by the site owner).

To help launch the new site, they’ve got a contest, with the winner of a $50 Billable Hour Company gift certificate to be chosen at random: “The Video Venue, a new niche video website featuring humorous law-related videos, is hosting a contest to name the funniest law-related video on the web. Contestants can enter by visiting www.video.thebillablehour.com and posting a video, or reviewing, commenting or tagging any video already on the site, which aggregates funny law-related videos from various web sites, and also allows visitors to upload their own videos.

As you know, we’re curmudgeons around here, who’ve probably never called anything “hilarious” nor promised our readers lots of yuks. We don’t spend time browsing at humor sites, or clicking randomly on video clips. So, we’re not going to rate The Video Venue. We’ve told you enough to decide whether you want to check it out. If you find TVV worthwhile, please let us know.

Warning & Disclaimer: BHC’s Mark Solomon notes that “So many of the law-related videos on sites like YouTube just bash lawyers.” He then observes that “lawyers and legal professionals appreciate content . . . and products . . . that find humor in the law without attacking lawyers. That’s what TVV is all about.”

wind-beaten marque
saying only
“Coming Soon”

matinee
the summer sun
under the exit door

…………. by John Stevenson
“wind-beaten marquee” – Some of the Silence (1999)
“matinee” – Quiet Enough (Red Moon Press, 2004)

p.s. For more on lawyer films, see our discussion of the Court TV’s 15 Most Memorable Movie Lawyers” (Hollywood Heat, by Daniel Green, May 12, 2005.)

Elvis’ birthday –
Little Sister sneaks out
to the cineplex

……………………… dagosan [Happy Anniversary to Ed and Laurice Markowski! Click for Elvis Presley doing "Little Sister" at YouTube.com]

drive in movie…
opening our eyes
during the love scene

……………………………………………….. ed markowski

January 6, 2008

another winner from Legal Studies Forum

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 1:37 pm

Thanks to the New York Times, you don’t need f/k/a to tell you this morning about dissatisfaction and malaise within the legal profession. See “The Falling-Down Professions,” by Alex Williams (Jan. 6, 2008), for a discussion of the reduced prestige and status of lawyers (and doctors, too), which states:

“In a culture that prizes risk and outsize reward — where professional heroes are college dropouts with billion-dollar Web sites — some doctors and lawyers feel they have slipped a notch in social status, drifting toward the safe-and-staid realm of dentists and accountants. It’s not just because the professions have changed, but also because the standards of what makes a prestigious career have changed.”

That lets me focus instead, with alacrity, on The Legal Studies Forum. (For out last word on the ailing lawyer psyche, see “now that’s depressing,” Dec. 17, 2007)

morning shadows—
the gunslingers wait
for high noon

…………………….. David Giacalone, Legal Studies Forum (Vol. XXXII, No. 1. 2008). Click for original at HaigaOnline, photo by Arthur Giacalone, JD.

We’ve been singing the praises of the Legal Studies Forum for almost four years. As LSF tells us, it was “established by the American Legal Studies Association to promote humanistic, critical, trans-disciplinary legal studies.” At the core of LSF, you will find its Editor, Prof. James R. Elkins, of the West Virginia University’s College of Law, who has done more than any academic or practitioner to remind the world of the connection between lawyers and poetry, first with his groundbreaking, comprehensive website project Stangers to Us All, and then through the vehicle of the Legal Studies Forum. It was the poetry connection that brought f/k/a to the attention of Jim Elkins and vice-versa.

low gray sky –
an afghan warming
on the radiator

……………………………….. david giacalone – Legal Studies Forum Vol. XXX (2006); The Heron’s Nest (VIII: 2, June 2006)

Off the Record,” Vol. 28 of the Legal Studies Forum (2004) was the milestone 700-page anthology of poetry by sixty-six currently-active lawyer-poets. As we said when it was first published, Off the Record is “not filled with poetry about law, lawyers, and the legal world,” but instead contains poetry by poets who happen to have been educated and trained as lawyers. The twenty-page Introduction by Prof. Elkins is a strong reminder that there is nothing inconsistent about the lawyer and the poet coming together in one man or woman. It’s also a rousing argument that every school of law must nurture a practice of law that is enfused with “the poet’s sensibilities, awareness, introspection, and care for the things and the particulars of the world.”

blue sky
behind bare branches
year-end bonus

storm alert
every kind of cloud
in one sky

………………………….. David A. Giacalone – Legal Studies Forum XXIX:1 (2005)

Intelligible Hues,” Legal Studies Forum Vol. 29 No. 1 (2005), presented about 300 pages of poetry by people with law degrees, along with interviews and essays about lawyers and poetry (see our posting, May 6, 2005).

harvest moon
the long pull
of faraway children

quiet rain
the deeper quiet
of uncut roses

…………………… roberta beary – Legal Studies Forum XXX (2006)

“harvest moon” – The Heron’s Nest
“quiet rain” – Paperclips (Press Here 2001)

Lawyers & Poets,” Legal Studies Forum Vol. 30 (2006; cover), came out in early 2006 and has over 500 pages of poetry from more than sixty living poets (see our posting from March 2006).

alone at sunset
i pick a pair
of faded daylilies

summer solstice
the insomniac
waits for dawn

before
the morning rush—
the whiteness of last night’s snow

…………………….. david giacaloneLegal Studies Forum (Vol. XXXII, No. 1. 2008)

With “A Day’s Work Done,” Legal Studies Forum Vol. 32 (No. 1, January 2008), Prof. Elkins continues to promote lawyer-created poetry (plus short stories and essays), with another winning collection, that contains more than 300 pages of poems by JDs. In addition to generously presenting a few of my own poems (reproduced above), “A Day’s Work Done,” again features the work of our much-honored friend, Washington-DC attorney-poet Roberta Beary. Along with two of her haiku, LSF 32 presents a ku-less version of After Work, which was originally published in Simply Haiku as haibun, but is reborn in LSF as free verse. Volume 32 also has haiku and other poetry by Indian Law expert and appellate judge Frank Pommersheim, and several haiku from Jay Bryan, who has been instrumental in promoting poetry in his home town of Carrboro, North Carolina, and whose professional experience ["an attorney, mediator and guardian ad litem specializing in family and juvenile law"] sounds a lot like the second half of my legal career.

just enough moon
for this firefly to land
on my finger

…………………………. by roberta beary, LSF Vol. 32 (2008),
orig. pub. Jiyu-Katari (Free Talking; Ito En Ltd. 2007)

I’m pleased to remind our readers again that the poetry collections published in prior editions of Legal Studies Forum have been reproduced online at the U. Texas Tarlton Law Library’s E-text pages (and can be reached using the various hyperlinks above). But, the Dedication in Volume 32 of LSF by Prof. Elkins, to trial lawyer Hardy Parkerson, of Lake Shore, Louisiana, in gratitude for his continued extraordinary financial contributions to Legal Studies Forum, is a very good reminder that this unique publication needs and deserves the support of subscribers who honor and appreciate its mission.

  The Legal Studies Forum (ISSN: 0894-5993) publishes two issues a year, with occasional supplements. Its editorial and business offices are at College of Law, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506-6130. You can Contact Professor Elkins directly to subscribe to Legal Studies Forum.

As we’ve pointed out before, Prof. Elkins puts it so well: “If we think literature matters, . . . then the best education of a lawyer remains an education in skills practiced as an art, an occupational poetics of the real.” The pundit in me wants to ponder the state of our profession, as discussed in this morning’s NYT. The person-poet in me, is going to head outside to see whether any new snowmen appeared on my block since I checked late last night.

justice center -
even the courtroom Bible
has a number

eyeing his wrinkled shirt
from the night in question -
the defendant

tagging along
with an ice cream cone
the senior partner

……………………………….. by Barry George, JD

January 4, 2008

we focus on Mainichi Haiku (and not my Main Man’s Iowa Coup)

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 11:56 am

The f/k/a Gang is presented this morning with our first real test since swearing off political punditry on Christmas Eve 2007. As Judgment Junkies trying to control our Advice Addiction, we’re directly faced with an all-important question:

Did we bite off more than we can eschew, when promising to end all commentary on politics and legal ethics at this weblog?

After Barack Obama’s victory last night in the Iowa caucuses [see the Senator's Victory Speech (Jan. 3, 2007), and David Brooks' column "Two Earthquakes" (New York Times, Jan. 4, 2007)], we are tempted indeed to make distinctions between positive and negative punditry, or between reporting and commenting on the news. We confess to reviewing some of our prior coverage of Sen. Obama since his amazing speech to the 2004 Democratic Convention — “obama, o mama!” (July 27, 2007); like discussion of Obama on antitrust and immigration; and even our disappointing “inquiry to Obama on Tort Reform” (Aug. 4, 2004). And, we mused over his role in helping to create a Democratic morality and majority. But, we’ve never been able to have just one drink at the punditry bar, so I just put the cork back on that bottle of opine wine.

All we”re going to “say” about the historic political news last night out of Iowa, then, is a reprise of the rather inadequate (but enthusiastic) senryu poem we dashed off on July 27, 2007, after witnessing our first Barack Obama speech:

the skinny guy’s
a heavyweight -
they’re cheering for a lawyer!

……………………………………………..by dagosan, 07-27-04

Devoid of punditry, what the heck will the f/k/a Gang post about as we start the New Year? Good question. A heads-up a couple days ago from outside frozen Detroit by our friend Ed Markowski reminded me of a very good place to start 2008: the monthly selection of Haiku in English published in Japan by Mainichi Daily News. Around the first of each month, you’ll find over a dozen previously published haiku — many of them very fine — from around the world at the Mainichi site. Most months, one or more the selected poems will be by members of our f/k/a family of Honored Guests Poets.

I ‘m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but I am promising myself to visit the Mainichi haiku webpage early each month in 2008, to find poems worth sharing with our f/k/a readers. Here are haiku by our Honored Guests from the past few months:

- from January 2008 (No. 703)

spring flu –
a dream of swimming
up through new mud

………………………… by jim kacian

1 a.m.
the light in an office
on the 33rd floor

……………………………. by ed markowki

no verdict
the carpenter’s hand
melts windowfrost

………………………….. peggy willis lyles

from December 2007 (No. 702)

light of the half moon
I see my neighbors
are adding a room

…………………………………. john stevenson

snow covering things
we see every day –
the fortune left in the cookie

……………………………………………… gary hotham (From “Missed Appointment,” Modest Proposal Chapbooks, Pittsburgh, PA, USA)

from November 2007 (No. 701)

I start to judge
the haiku contest entries …
falling leaves

…….. George Swede

harbor sunset …
the ruby red
of a maguro filet

……………. ed markowski

from October 2007 (No. 700)

autumn dusk
a leaf falls into
the sound of grey

……………………….. laryalee fraser

from September 2007 (No. 699)

old friends –
pines from famous paintings
sway above the ruins

………………………… peggy willis lyles

January 1, 2008

into the new year one breath at a time

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 9:15 am

…………………………………………………. 

the silence of snow
falling in the salvage yard…
a new year begins

……………………………….. ed markowski

first-day flurries
last year’s snowbank
slowly whitens

…………………………………………….. dagosan

new year’s day
a squirrel emerges
from the dumpster

    ………………………………….. yu chang

New Year’s gift of tea–
where did you go
on your jouney back to me?

……………………………………………..  Kobyashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

New Year’s Dawn
light first gathers
in the icicles

……………………  Jim Kacian – Presents of Mind (1996)

I rinse the rice
a second time
New Year’s Day

…………………. Peggy Lyles – To Hear the Rain (2002); Snapshot Haiku Calendar (2003)

new year’s fog
she washes
all the windows

……………………….. Pamela Miller Ness – Haiku Troubadours 2000

New Year’s Day–
bleaching work shirts
back to white

…………………….. Matt Morden  – The Heron’s Nest (2003)

the ball starts to fall
dad’s oxygen machine
loud as ever

……………………………… dagosan

- click for  more New Year’s haiku and senryu    -


 

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