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hedgerows: tanka pentaptychs Paperback – May 26, 2014
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These are not the classic Japanese style poems, or the personal poetry written by most English speakers in roughly that style.
Rather, Joy McCall uses the concise power of the five-line form, arranged in stanzas of five, to invoke stories, landscapes, and characters, real and imagined, calling forth power and beauty, sometimes a dark beauty.
Her language is simple, but not too simple, subtly rhythmic, direct, sparing of adjective and metaphor, and sometimes lovely.
Here are the first three of one sequence:
I know him
the dark-skinned man
his footprints crossing
the tide-wet sand
when I am distant
he hunches in the cave
arms round his knees
looking out to sea
missing my voice
I do not know
any of his names
though I ask
he never speaks
her takes my hand, smiling . . . .