Monday, December 1, 2014

Dennis Rhodes' 'THE LETTER I' - from Chelsea Station Editions

    about poet Dennis Rhodes (and THE LETTER I):  his poetry has long had/will continue to have a home in my poetry publication (bear creek haiku), and, two or so months ago, I welcomed an opportunity to review the most recent collection of his poetry (from Chelsea Station Editions) -

    the poetics of THE LETTER I - gay sex, surviving HIV and OCD, et al. (the infamous et al., herein including psychotic break/suicide attempt, love, faith, graciousness, death, humor) as lived by this very successful editor/activist/businessman/world traveler/poet’s innermost being. . .

    and delayed writing this review until I could sort through how to 'be about' it. . .  Basho! one of our early haiku heroes was (again) here to help - in the 17th century Japanese world of Basho, no stigma was attached to choosing between wakashudō, 'the way of gay love', and nyodō, 'the way of loving women'. . .  as a young man, Basho became fascinated with 'the ways of gay love'* - one of Basho's well-known haiku -  
                    The moon is clear - 
                    I escort a lovely boy
                    (‘chigo no tomo’, chigo: 
                    frightened by a fox.**

    So, here we are:  Chelsea Station Editions has published within THE LETTER I a strong, 'searing' (swiped from the back cover 'cause it’s so often suitable) compassionate and endearing poetry collection from one of our finest.  Even if some poems aren’t for all, many of us can expand our own creative realm(s) by engaging with this poetic collection. . . 

    here are two -

                         How much does the world weigh?

                         How much does the world weigh?
                         There are ways to find out.
                         Science has its equations
                         but I have no doubt
                         that Jesus would tell you
                         if you ask him nicely -
                         he bore, on his shoulders, every pound.
                         He knows, precisely.

Poets in Cafes

Poets in cafes
on rainy days
reflect and brood
over human ways.

They never stop
even when asleep:
the urge to express
runs very deep.

Think nothing of them.
They are quite at tome
with an expresso
and half-finished poem.

             THE LETTER I    Published by 
                         Chelsea Station Editions
                         362 West 36th Street, Suite 2R
                         New York, NY  10018

Dennis Rhodes can be reached at

              one more from Dennis (and Chelsea Station) -

                        I bloodied my knuckles
                           to get where I am
                           against a stone wall
                           to get where I am

                           I wrung out my heart
                           to get where I am
                           like so much laundry
                           to get where I am

                           I am nothing but scars
                           and scaborous peeling.
                           I am always wounded
                           and always healing.

*info on Basho abused from ed. Robert Hass and his 'The Essential HAIKU Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa'
**and from ed. Faubion Bowers: “The Classic Tradition of Haiku - An Anthology‘      
(two current favorite reference sources)

see you in a moment 

ayaz daryl nielsen                         
                                                         and, of course,


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