3 poems published at Isacoustic

My thanks to Barton Smock for publishing 3 of my lemniscate poems, at Isacoustic. Barton is himself a noteworthy poet, whose poems can be read over at kingsoftrain.
In addition, thank you to Robert Okaji for recommending Barton & Isacoustic to me. If you are reading this, but you don’t know Robert’s blog O at the Edges, then you have probably been living in a cave without WiFi for too long.

34 thoughts on “3 poems published at Isacoustic

      1. That’s a good strike rate. My beginners luck has been 1 submission leading to 1 publication. Ok, technically 2 as I submitted two poems to the one publication. Haven’t tried since but will do soon. Keep at it!

  1. I was blown away by these poems. I didn’t know of the connection to Robert until I saw the repost on his site. He’s a gem. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work!

    1. It’s easy for me to get at that as i live in a country that is originally a Buddhsit country, but the faith is in a minority to an ugly form of Christianity. To compensate the monks here care about money.
      I began to be more suspect when i was in downtown Seoul, in a district that sells stuff for monks. I wanted one of the rucksacks they carry, a simple thing. Turns out they were 80$. The robes must equate to 300-400 dollars & they aren’t given them, each monk buys them for themselves. No monk is poor. I can’t speak for other countries, but it can’t be so different to Korea.

      1. I came to that conclusion when I first started studying Zen. The temples have much the same trappings as Catholicism. The pageantry, incense and candles, chanting monks and priests, prayer beads, kiosks that sell religious paraphernalia; all lend to superstition and the money spent in fear of it.
        But these are definitely some of the best works I’ve read of yours, and others. Your use of the brickwall as a stop, and the short bursts of energetic prose in between is very effective. I had no trouble getting the point, or have to look up difficult words (besides “lemniscate”, which I found examples of but no context, ha ha; and that was part of the introduction, so it doesn’t count). I felt very satisfied with reading the first time through, and feel the need to dig deeper into each one still. Very good.

      2. Thanks Pablo, means a lot. i’ve tried to get the poem about the tungso flute published numerous times & it always got turned down, then when it is published it has proved popular with readers.
        The lemniscate is just the infinity symbol, but a better word than the compound.
        For your reference. The poem about the flute, was an actual story an enlightened monk me & my wife know told us. You have heard me speak of Dae Sa-nim before, perhaps? The poem about the monks & their 50ft Buddha statue was from a trip i took to the mountains, & was surprised to see a sign, which had a price guide for oblations to the statue, or for days of prayers by monks; basically the same as Indulgences. The sonnet is about forms of power.

      3. I do remember the tungso flute and Dae Sanim from some of the first poems I read of yours. They are what drew me to your work, particularly because of the Korea they depict. As you may remember, my wife and I are great fans of Korean romantic comedies. We watch them daily. Your poems, of course, depict a real Han-guk, at least from the familiar western view, so they’re a good equalizer against the hyped materialism we see on TV.
        I recently revised my view of Buddhism (I had an epiphany of sorts), and came to the conclusion that whatever Buddha saw in his moment of “Enlightenment” probably has little to do with the Sutras and lifestyle of those that perpetuate the concept. Much like Christianity, it surely has become a control system for whatever government is in power, if that makes any sense.

      4. i don’t know if Buddhism has an influence on government, i just couldn’t say. i do know Park Geun-hye’s accomplice in pulling the wool over & cheating the Korean people, practiced a sort of Shamanism, but it would be unfair to blame Shamanic practices, as they are practiced by the humblest denizens of this society, a very communal practice, which is stepped on by Christian with a vehemence that makes you sick.
        Buddhism, does provide some sanctuary for people: during exam periods, you;ll find mothers & grandmothers in temples across the country, offering oblations of 20kg bags of rice, & even in the cold, performing, for hours on end, a ritual bow called jol. It is good for your back too.

      5. Sounds like the Chinese elderly you see doing Tai Chi in public. Don’t get me wrong. I understand the value religious rituals have for people. Nothing gives more comfort to an old Italian widow (a flagrant stereotype, I know) than to go to Mass clutching her rosary. This generation, your generation, and evolved minds in general, have moved on from the superstitions that motivate that sort of dependency. But an example of Buddhist sanctioned government is Myanmar and the way they treat the Rohingya Muslims in the name of Buddhism. It’s an exception. But Buddhism sentiment presides in much of Asia simply because it is the religion of the people. In the US, Christianity is the motivating force behind our government and it causes problems for those who aren’t outwardly Christian. It’s an embarrassment that one of the world’s leading countries is so fixated on a sham, but it is a controlling factor of our laws. No booze sold on Sundays, no gambling, no swear words allowed on TV and a host of other Blue Laws written for the Puritans who first settled here.

  2. I won’t broach the topic of Okaji’s age, but will say congrats on starting the new year right. Great poems, & a great place I’ve got to submit to now as well. …& you know I always dig it when you make the point that Buddhism over there can be just as schmaltzy & Virgin-Mary-night-light as Christianity is over here. smashing stuff pal.

    1. I’d not thought much about my age until recently, when I realized that so many of the poets I loved in my younger days – Dickinson, Roethke, James Wright, Berryman, Sexton, etc. – were dead before they reached my age. Dunno what that means…

    1. That’s kind of you Stephanie. i am relieved as much as pleased to get the year off to a good start & to finally get that flute poem published. i believe in that poem, because it was based on an actual experience, one of the most bizarre of my life. i have fussed with it endlessly, swapping & fidgeting with it in hope of getting it published, without luck. So thrilled about that.
      Thanks for the encouragement.

      1. Oh, if I had a dime for even half of the fidgets and swaps! I hear you. Your hard work on this one, and in general, really paid off! Some who say they’re poets just do slightly different versions of the same thing over and over again, and call it good; some post little cliche quips on Instagram, never even bother to read a freaking book nor have any appreciation for why it might be worthwhile, and get paid boatloads (Oy!), but those who ARE poets are the ones who never believe for a second that they have all the answers. I really admire the earnestness, passion, curiosity, and meticulous work that you invest in this art we so love!

      2. Well put. My poems constantly morph & shift. i have no quarrel in their plasticity. For example, i have begun to remove the titles of my poems & changed the punctuation to the barrier, as it just seems to slow the reading pace down for me. Titles i think as inducing expectations & i thought it’d interesting to see how the poems stand in their own skin. Nothing exactly wring with titles, but i just had to experiment.

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