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October Blues: Contemporary Tanka by Matsukaze Paperback – July 23, 2016
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In writing, the craft of poetry is often the foundation. This is tantamount to ballet being at the foundation of most other dance forms. Poetry, when it's well done, provides a sense of immediacy. It produces, paints and polishes these vivid pictures with words.
In the "Tanka" category of poetics, this art-form brings to the fore a vibrancy of moments.
What is a Tanka Poem, one might ask?
It is a Japanese style of poetry writing, also be known as a waka or uta. A tanka poem is very similar to a haiku, however, a Tanka poem has two additional lines.
Given such rules and limitations, Tanka calls upon a writer to tell a story, create a mood, or narrate an experience in a very short time and in an extremely economical way. Few can perform this difficult task as well Matsukaze.
Author Matsukaze is a brilliant painter of moments. As a reader, you are drawn into the mind, the heart, the breath, and the very skin of this writer. At any given moment, regardless of the subject being addressed, he is always mindful in his skillful narration of feelings, and while these are his personal musings, they soon become yours, mine, ours... the feelings of the collective We in all of humanity.
At times, I felt or more like sensed traces of Whitman here, where the writer applies equal doses of depth and insinuation, left to each reader to interpret the truest intent. I was also reminded of the legendary poetess, Sonia Sanchez, because she is, for me, the ultimate Truth Teller.
I truly enjoyed this book. It is full of moods and visions, nuance and feelings. It is intimate and it is universal. The author does a fine job of relaying what could be seen as purely internal and wisely spinning it into the external. In other words: WE GET IT!
Example, in the title poem, the author pens:
"the long rains of my regret- sometimes i dream of bottling up his scent to relieve my fears"
We all dream of saviors, of protectors, or someone who will be there to bring to us their reassuring presence, and yet few can conjure up that feeling in so few words.
In another passage from a book so full of quotable verse, Matsukaze writes:
"2013 was a bloodstained year
the bodies of black men
lie suspended their blood
calling out for justice"
In this, his first collection, Matsukaze does not disappoint. Within the pages of this book, there are so many experiences captured, given light, and shape and the honor each human experience deserves.
This is an eye-opening book. Not only does it adroitly introduce a form, which may be foreign to some, but it also illuminates just how much can be expressed, said, or felt using so few words.
These brief poems are like small, yet treasured love notes to the world sent directly from the human existence. Matsukaze is a writer of depth, meaning, gravity and gravitas; and he truly has a special message worth imparting. His words celebrate the implicit importance of moments as well as the necessity of contemplation.... and is that not the Real Reason why True Writers write?
I believe so.
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