Thursday, June 05, 2014

about e pluribus haiku 2014 

The first e pluribus haiku came out in 2011, and it has been steadily enlarged and improved in the years since then. I was pressured to put out the first one by a reading, which was a benefit for a homeless shelter, but I realized, upon handing out those volumes, that they could be more complete, done better, and that's what I've been focusing on for three years. I now have at least a dozen for each state, and I'm steadily filling the gaps.

I was limited by my experience. For example, I was only in Washington DC one long early-morning in January, at Nixon's inauguration, and had a poem about it, but, what am I to do, leave it out altogether? Same dilemma for states that I had very limited experience in: South Carolina, Delaware, North Dakota. I had trouble rustling up experience to base my poetry on. My choices were to learn more, do research, or limit the poetry to what I knew, and obviously I chose the former.

In the same way, I had a dilemma with time or era. My traveling was in the 70's, but limiting my poetry to the 70's, though more true to my experience itself, would be generally limiting and would, though providing a picture of that era, prevent me from picturing other eras. So I widened it. There are some now that are clearly from more recent times. The best of course are timeless, and I lean toward those. They have a season, but are free of "era placement," which makes it obvious to the reader that, for example, this one was from the 90's.

I would say that, of the 875, some are repetitive; in some states, I hit some ideas a little too hard, and should maybe back off, or get more poems so as to have a wider variety. I'm still working on this, and have something to live for in future volumes. If you think these 875 are completely different from 2013's, you'll be disappointed, because it's mostly the same poetry, but wider, more inclusive, with intentional filling in of the gaps. I would like to have a few thousand, and have every year be substantially different from the previous, but I'm not there yet. Bear with me.

I have made these choices in how to make e pluribus haiku. It is what it is; someday I'll look back, and say, these were the early volumes. If I never make it further than this, though, that's ok, because I'm proud of it; it's complete, and I can hand it to anyone, knowing that, as of today, it's the best I could do.

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