Tag Archives: Schwaner

Western Haiku Instruction Manual, two lines of which are cribbed from Google Translate’s English version of Indigenous Metropolitan’s Post “Social Studies (Unpretentious) To Write A Haiku” Originally in Italian [haiku]

Western Haiku Instruction Manual, two lines of which are cribbed from Google Translate’s English version of Indigenous Metropolitan’s Post “Social Studies (Unpretentious) To Write A Haiku” Originally in Italian


A fair game of balance:
(do not respect the syllables)
a life is in your hands


See Indigenous Metropolitan’s original post here.

2014 Broadside Series: “Drop Everything”



Work has begun in earnest on a broadside of my prose poem “Drop Everything” over at St Brigid Press in Afton, Virginia. Resident print guru Emily Hancock sent me the photo above after setting the poem and getting it set up on the press for proofing. Tomorrow we should see some first proofs of the work. Some details on the broadside:

The poem is set in Centaur,  a crisp and classic typeface suitable for both prose and poetry. It also has strong flavor notes of caramel, charcoal and cherry, with a smooth finish that pairs it well with both fish and fowl…wait, I’m getting carried away here.

The poem is part of a larger project entitled The Drift, which somewhat aimlessly uses as its model one of the first anthologies of great classical Chinese poetry, Poems of The Masters, originally compiled in the 13th century and consisting of some of the great poems written in the 7th-13th centuries. This project will pair several hundred short poems,  based on regulated verse of the T’ang and Sung dynasties (which I have been posting on this blog since December of last year) with prose poems dealing with the same subject matter in a very different form.

There are quite a few wrinkles to this large project’s design, and more on said wrinkles much later, but all this is to say that when designing the broadside for “Drop Everything” Emily and I took into account the influence of classic Chinese poetry on the overall project– and also the method of transmission of those poems back over a thousand years ago. This includes printing the poem on a high quality bamboo paper stock in a strong vertical format (probably around 12 x 18 inches).

We haven’t yet decided on the number of this edition, or the price. It will most likely be offered as part of a series of broadsides to be released over the coming year. Still working out all those details, but incredibly happy to be working with Emily again (St Brigid Press printed the haiku coaster set available on the Books page) and excited to share with you images of the first proofs as they come off the press later this week…

You can find the poem “Drop Everything” on the Brand New Stuff page above.

More soon…

Mountains Poured Over Mountains

Mountains Poured Over Mountains


A cloud shadow crawls across the bare mountainside
touching every tree. Small clouds seep and spread

along the ground like water, large clouds drop
heavily like whole trees being painted suddenly black.

One, then another, backlit by the trees still in light.
Funny to think of something bigger than a mountain

pouring over a mountain, its own peaks in constant change
enveloping what seems so changeless

but is really two images in today’s mirror.
Funny to see how quickly it spreads then leaves,

like something huge suddenly not remembered.
Yet it was there. Pushed by the invisible hill of wind

And over on this peak the sign of an old inn groans
and the paper darkens beneath my pen.

Morning Sounds on a Day Off

Morning Sounds on a Day Off


Some repetitive bird calls, punctuated by crows.
Closer in, my wife sketching icons

across the table, pen going back and forth
on rough paper. Two cats breathing

still closer on the table by my open book.
When I open my eyes all sounds disappear.

Except the old wall clock ticking, ticking
which I hear even where there are no clocks.

Full Moon, Clear Night, Looking at Tree Shadows on Snow

Full Moon, Clear Night, Looking at Tree Shadows on Snow


The yard could be silver overcast sky
seen through the lean branches crossing.

I could stare all night, disappointed thinking:
where is that confounded moon?

When Walking Down Stairs in the Dark

When Walking Down Stairs in the Dark


No vision beats some vision. I have fallen hardest
in broad daylight—it’s not about what you can see

and that is no way to go down stairs. The light behind
casts your shadow too large—do not rush to meet your past like that!

The light below flattens the depth of your going—
never guess the shape of what holds you by what awaits you.

Better to close your eyes if you cannot include the emptiness.
Better to not stand on ceremony when the foot needs so little.