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Messages - Snow Leopard

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Journal Announcements / Atlas Poetica Special Feature Online
« on: February 02, 2014, 07:35:51 AM »
Atlas Poetica Special Feature: Geography and the Creative Imagination is now online:

A fortnight to the 30th December 2013 deadline for this Special Feature of Atlas Poetica, to be published in Spring 2014 .

Journal Announcements / Re: Notes From the Gean?
« on: December 14, 2013, 10:39:03 PM »
Dear Alan,

Thank you for taking the trouble to respond to my query.

NFTG will be much missed.

Snow Leopard

Journal Announcements / Notes From the Gean?
« on: December 11, 2013, 07:43:21 AM »
Links to the NFTG lead to a "free domain" up for sale.

Has anybody heard from Colin?

I hope he is okay.

Geography and the Creative Imagination: Call for Submissions

Edited by Sonam Chhoki
WHETHER FICTIONAL OR REAL, geography plays an important part in bringing the world of a writer or poet to the reader. Here are some writers who used the landscape as a signature feature in their writing:
Longchenpa, the Tibetan Buddhist philosopher and teacher (1308–1364) was exiled to Bhutan and wrote a poetic eulogy of the valley of Bumthang in central Bhutan, where he lived for a decade. He evoked the physical beauty of Bumthang in the tradition of a ‘Hidden Land’ where Buddhism was protected and flourished. He called it a ‘paradise transplanted from heaven to earth.’

Thomas Hardy (1840–1928) based his Wessex roughly on King Alfred’s Anglo-Saxon kingdom in western England. Covering wild moors, water meadows, craggy cliffs and the wind-swept Salisbury Plains, Wessex embraces contemporary Dorset, Berkshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon.

Here protagonists play out their love trysts, betrayals and tragic deaths against a background of enormous economic and social changes—the railway reached Dorchester, Hardy’s Casterbridge, when he was seven years old.

The Indian writer, Premchand (1880–1936) turned away from themes of courtly love, heroic adventures and epic tales to the lives of ordinary people in his rural home province of Uttar Pradesh. His villages are terra firma where protagonists encounter debt, the travails of large joint families, the rigidity of the caste system, and the corruption and tyranny of the local landlords, the Zamindars.

R. K. Narayan (1906–2001) invented an imaginary town, Malgudi in South India. He says:
‘Malgudi is . . . not to be found on any map . . . If I explain that Malgudi is a small town in South India, I shall only be expressing a half-truth, for the characteristics of Malgudi seem to me universal.’

Matsuo Basho (1644–1694) was not ordained as a monk but he was steeped in Zen Buddhism. The old Zen Masters undertook journeys with all the hazards, including that of death. Basho followed in their footsteps. He created a new prose form, the haibun (a prose written in the spirit of the haiku), to record his impressions. His most famous haibun, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, takes contemporary pilgrims through Sugmo (Tokyo), Asaka (Fukushima) and up to Sendhai.

Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915– ) began his travels across Europe in 1933 with a knapsack of a few clothes, the Oxford Book of English Verse and a volume of Horace’s Odes. His travels throughout Greece made him an authority on Hellenic culture. He created the persona of a bookish wanderer in the wild. Mani, Travels in the Southern Peloponnese and Roumeli are his well-known books. He influenced a generation of contemporary travel writers.

Lawrence Durrell said that there is a spirit of a place that a writer can tap into.
How does locality influence your writing?
Do you fictionalize locality for purposes of your writing?
Are you influenced by any particular region or place?
Have you written about such a special place?
Geography and the Creative Imagination will be published as a Special Feature on the Atlas Poetica website at: The general guidelines for Atlas Poetica apply. Geography and the Creative Imagination will publish Spring, 2014.

Please submit up to five of your tanka about a place that is special to you. Only one tanka per individual poet will be selected, so please send us your best poems. The poems must be original, previously unpublished and not under consideration by any other journal. Poems posted in social media fora such as twitter, facebook or personal blogs will be considered.

Send submissions to with the subject line: “Submission– Geography and the Creative Imagination”. Please send your tanka in the body of the email. Do not send attachments, which will be deleted. Please include a brief  (not more than 5-lines) bio-note about your writing.
Submission deadline: 30th December 2013.

Acceptance or non-acceptance of submissions will be notified as soon as possible after the deadline.

Hello again, Alan,

Thank you for your prompt response and the link for the current issue. I look forward to reading it. :)

Snow Leopard

Hi Alan,

 It's been a few moons...  Any recent development about this new journal of contemporary tanka?

Would be grateful for an update.

Snow Leopard

Journal Announcements / Summer Edition of Kernelsonline
« on: July 29, 2013, 11:34:24 AM »
The summer 2013 edition of kernelsonline is now online.

Field Notes / Re: Field Notes: Where do your haiku begin?
« on: July 12, 2013, 04:34:07 PM »
Martin Lucas:
I work it over in my “mind’s ear” until I settle on a precise form of words that appear to have some creative kick . . .

This strikes a chord with me. Not just the image. I too feel that the haiku-potential of something one has seen or heard can only be realized in the sonority and rhythm of the words chosen by a poet.

Field Notes / Re: Introduction: Field Notes
« on: July 12, 2013, 04:28:16 PM »

A fascinating topic and a great array of thought-provoking responses.  :)

I wondered if the following might be possible questions for future Field Notes' discussion.:

Does one need to know who the poet is to read and understand their haiku?

How is one's reading of a poet's haiku affected by what one knows about the poet?

Thank you,

Snow Leopard

I showed my wife the options and we're going with:

paired even in darkness the doves’ wings

An excellent choice, Stewart.  :)

Maybe it's already too late for this suggestion. You could par it down without the

paired even in darkness doves’ wings

Just a thought ...

Snow Leopard

A great idea, Stewart. :)

Just to start the brain storming here's my two coppers' worth :

paired hearts wing beat of a dove in sun and rain

This has 39 characters and includes your opening line with a slight difference.

In the myths about birds, the dove seems to be associated with unconditional love, purity and grace.

Good luck with this wonderful search. :)

Snow Leopard

In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Re: Discussion Series 1: The Masters
« on: December 01, 2012, 11:09:01 PM »
Hi willoeld,

Thank you for starting this great topic which reminds us how vital it is for us to return to the Masters every now and then. :) You certainly got me thinking and I hope my response does some justice to the thought-provoking questions you've raised.

How have they influenced your work?  Which of their haiku are your favorites?   


His mastery of technique is what inspires me. Reading his work I’m become more aware of the nitty-gritty of writing a haiku.

I particularly like these haiku of Basho for the shift in perspective, perception and imagery these suggest:

bush warbler
has dropped his hat

of  the harvest moon appear
in cotton fields

under a clear moon
the foothills’ mist
is the field’s cloud

the color of wind
planted artlessly in a garden
bush clover

The visuals of his painterly haiku are awesome. The way he zooms into details is the technique that I find most appealing.

Here’s a haiku of his which never ceases to amaze:

an old well –
falling into its darkness
a camellia

These haiku too are superb:

on the temple bell
perching and sleeping
a butterfly

spring rain
just enough to wet tiny shells
on the tiny beach

the morning breeze
ripples the fur
of the caterpillar


Her poems flow with naturalness and lightness of touch. With great skill she uses disparate motifs of transience and womanly sensual beauty.

clear water is cool
fireflies vanish –
there’s nothing more

(a jisei, death poem)

at the crescent moon
the silence
enters the heart

when a woman’s skin
is revealed

change of kimono
showing only her back
to the blossom’s fragrance


 I find the humanity, humility and humor in Issa’s work truly inspirational particularly given his own unhappy childhood and the deaths of his children and wives. His poems written on the death of his daughter, Sato, highlight the issue of child mortality which is quite close to my own experience.  His poems are imbued with compassion and reflect his own close connection with creatures like fleas, flies, cicadas, fireflies and snails.

Here are two haiku written after the death of Sato, which I find deeply moving:

The world of dew
Is the world of dew
And yet …
And yet …

Here is the red flower
You wanted to pick –
Coming to bloom
In the autumn wind


It begins
from the cicada’s song
the gentle breeze

a firefly
creeping up my sleeve
OK, I’m a blade of grass

And this haiku seems quite similar in tone:

inch by inch
little snail
creep up and up Mt. Fuji


not even a glance
at the scarlet flower
a snail creeping

Whose work most resembles your own?  Who do you feel most 'connected' to?

I would like to think that Issa’s writing most resembles my own. I feel most ‘connected’ to his voice.

Inspired by Issa I’ve written some poems. A couple:

mother often said
her first-born child left footprints
in the stars
this clear autumn night
I know how much she mourned

(The Temple Bell Stops: Contemporary Poems of Grief, Loss and Change.  Edited by Robert Epstein)

as if
the snail’s own is not enough
it tries a walnut shell


I haven't read much of Shiki, Ikkyu or Hokushi. So I'm grateful for the mention. I certainly have much to read and learn. :)

Snow Leopard

Thank you, Don. :)

I am still learning.

A thought - do poets edit a published poem and publish it again?

Snow Leopard

Going back to the point Don made about Lamb's poem that “there is nothing left unsaid”  I think something like this would offer an ordinary reader like myself more of an opening:

the child reading my poem with her fingertips

The blindness being 'suggested' rather than 'stated' and at yet another level, offering the possibility of the poem being a piece of art like a sculpture or a face or even being engraved on a rock.

I've enjoyed the fantastic discussion here. :)

Snow Leopard

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