October 19th, 2005

Egrets Reading

The Zen of Crop Circles

Reading through the October 2005 issue of Poetry, I find myself a bit puzzled by the inclusion of 8 pages of short poems by J.D. Whitney grouped under the heading of "All My Relations". What's odd about the presentation is that these poems range from 4 to 12 lines and each of them was given a separate page.

I'm addicted to short short poetry but these poems truthfully really don't grab me. I'm not sure why Christian Wiman was compelled to (a) buy them and (b) print them in this manner. It seems that the entire set of poems could have easily fit on three pages instead of eight and they would have worked better since they are, in fact, a matched set.

The poet's bio called this work "an English approximation of the Lakota "Mitakuye Oyasin," which teaches that all the creatures and energies on Earth are related."

No offense to the Lakota, but does this mean if I wrote a series of scifaiku about the outer planets and then created a religion discovered by analyzing crop circles from the air, claiming that these crop circles were markers representing the truths of the universe and then wrote that my scifaiku were the carefully translated English equivalents of these crop circles, I'd have a shot at Poetry?

And if, miracle of miracles, they accepted 10 scifaiku, would they be printed on 10 separate pages?