Yesterday, during my office hours, I turned around twice and realized that, aside from some minor homework grading, I had no major school work to do this weekend. Woo Hoo. A return to poetry. So I'm catching up with the stack of journals on my desk.
In the October 2008 issue of Poetry, I found quite a few poems that touched a chord with me. Poets Sarah Lindsay, Laura Kasischke, Jill Osier, and Maurice Manning have been favorites of mine for awhile now, and I was glad to read their new poems. However, it was Eric Ekstrand's work that stood out the most.
This issue contains five poems by Ekstrand, all titled "Appleblossom," with the fifth poem adding "(Leaving Edo)" to the title. The footnote on the first poem says, "Each 'Appleblossom' is a verse translation from the Japanese of a short selection from the notebooks of Chiri, Basho's traveling companion during the years between Withered Chestnuts and Travelogue of Weatherbeaten Bones." Intriguing.
These poems express a fragile strength. There is beauty in the images and humor and grief and desire. While Ekstrand uses long lines, the poems themselves are rather short. Still, after reading each one, I find myself pausing in the best way and rereading, only to discover that the poem continues to unfold.