MICHAEL McCLINTOCK: LETTERS IN TIME
PO Box 124
ISBN 0 9770259 0 X
$10 [$13 Canada]
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This page last updated: 11th December 2007.
|MICHAEL McCLINTOCK: LETTERS IN TIME|
Michael McClintock is a well established writer who has been publishing collections of haiku, senryu, tanka and other short poetry for more than thirty years, and his work has appeared in definitive anthologies.
The tiny glittering fragments of haiku follow the tradition of the masters, Basho, Issa, Busan and Shiki. They are distillations, messages from the heart rather than the intellect, from feeling rather than thought bound by an initially strict form, though in recent your these have been somewhat relaxed into what has been named liberated haiku. It is in this new tradition that we must consider the work of McClintock. Barbara Ungar, in HAIKU IN ENGLISH contrasts McClintock with the imagists and Kerouac. A difficult concept, like relating the instant digital snapshot to the work of the cinema-photographer. A flash of insight to a lengthy philosophical interpretation.
In LETTERS IN TIME we have poems that have appeared widely, the earliest in 1974, though the majority have been published over the last five years.
The collection opens with:
tell me a story make it last all night the child is dead who asked thisand closes with:
resting my head in your lapó that is when I know the world speaks kindly of usThe journey in between is strewn with McClintock's pebble skimming across the pond of poesy, some sinking earlier than others.
flying by night Moscow to Madagan I gaze for hours across three time zones into my heart a wind comes up across the headlands from the sea I'll sit here now and watch the gulls and dream you never showed up at the train station ... going back to my unpacking ... deciding I am going nowhere ...All jottings along the journey's way it would seem. However, I find that some of the poems have the feel of diary jottings, aides memoirs, little sketches that might be developed in the future.
a wind comes up across the headlands from the sea ... stopping frequently under the dogwoods in full flower my friend comes up the path shyly, in her new dressand the diaryesque:
I sit up watching the summer moon fade a man my age when awakened can't sleep againand
a view of rain, wind, pale wisteria in this California flató who knows how long men have lived liked this [sic]or
visiting graves ... we flicker as we walk down shadowed rowsbut there are mini-triumphs too:
between sun and shade a butterfly pauses like none I've seenó who ever falls in love with someone they know?and
approaching spring..... a fire made of letters written in the nightand most in keeping with the ancient Japanese tradition is:
silence seeks the centre of every tree and rock, that thing we hold closestó the end of songs
|reviewer: John Cartmel-Crossley.|