Dreaming in Haiku: Karen Neuberg on Patricia Carragon’s Urban Haiku
Urban Haiku and More, Patricia Carragon, Fierce Grace Press
Anyone familiar with the poetry scene in New York City and its environs is very likely familiar with Patricia Carragon, whether through her two highly respected and well-attended Brownstone Poets reading series, her own featured readings at myriad venues, her participation in open readings, or her generous support of other poets on and off the ‘circuit’. Her latest chapbook of poetry, Urban Haiku and More; Haiku, Senryū, Hay(Na)Ku, and other Unrhymed Tercet Poetry, may well provide her with an even larger audience of admirers. One is always surprised and never disappointed by the range and style of Ms. Carragon’s writing.
Urban Haiku and More is a fun read, with serious undertones. As with her earlier book, Journey to the Center of My Mind (Rogue Scholars Press, 2005), the images are sharp and pulsing:
take the subway
and gets screwed
not his E-Zpass
(Read more on this review at http://gentlyread.wordpress.com/?s=Patricia+Carragon&submit=Search)
George Wallace, Writer in Residence at the Walt Whitman Birthplace and author of 22 chapbooks, reviewed Urban Haiku and More in Big City Lit’s Fall 2011 Issue:
It’s been roughly a century that American poetry has had a dalliance with the Japanese Haiku, and during most of it, American practitioners wrestled mightily with a form that is at once elusive and tantalizing.
Through it, there’ve been those who adhered to a set of principles and practices — either traditional or of their own devising — syllabic strictures, concreteness of imagery, reference to the seasons, and the like.
Others have been more concerned with being true to the ‘soul’ of a haiku. Kerouac was one of those, saying he wanted to pack his haiku with what he called the ‘Void of Whole’ — a graceful elegance and dimensional resonance unlike Western rationalist ‘pearls of wisdom’ or opaque epithets.
(Read more of this review at http://www.bigcitylit.com/bigcitylit.php?inc=fall2011/reviews/wallace)
Linda Lerner, author of Yes, the Ducks Were Real (NYQ Books, 2015), did a fabulous review of my latest book, Innocence (Finishing Line Press, 2017) in the Mom Egg Review. The Mom Egg Review,edited by Marjorie Tesser,is a journal that supports the diverse creativity of mothers and of those influenced by their mothers.
Review by Linda Lerner
In the poem “The Palace,” a child who was never conceived is trapped in a palace destroyed “in seconds” (6)–a repetitive phrase used in the poem–but “still left standing” and she becomes the central metaphor of this collection. This child “caught in between the bricks” (6)is the same one “who drew flowers and animals everywhere” until in Kindergarten “her imagination learned to stay within the lines;” (3)and it is the same child, who “like a dandelion” is playing freely outside her mother’s door—slamming disapproval when the game ends with rain beating down on her.(3)Used in the double sense, the verbs to give birth and to imagine become synonymous.The recurrent art theme in many of these poems works along the same lines. The artist, for now, has vanished in “Picture of Life;” the colors fade; “brushes lie unwashed / too brittle for use.”(4)Her pictures, like the child who wasn’t conceived, never broke out onto the canvas and are lost in “inertia.” There is no birth.
A review of Meowku by Patricia Carragon and Flight by Robert Anthony Gibbons.
February 27, 2020
Reviewed by Michael Young
by Patricia Carragon
Poets Wear Prada
Aug 2019, 46 pages, ISBN: 978-946116-21-5
by Robert Anthony Gibbons
Poets Wear Prada
Aug 2019, 36 pages, ISBN: 978-1-946116-07-9
Haiku traditionally focuses on nature, providing a moment rendered in images that spur an unexpected insight. Over time the form in English has evolved. Flexibility has infused the well-known 5-7-5 form, and, while remaining compressed and largely imagistic, the form can touch on everything from the personal to the political. The poems in Patricia Carragon’s newest collection of haiku, Meowku, spring out of this more diverse range.
As the witticism that is this collection’s title suggests, the haiku comprising it center around cats. But it’s not just haiku about them, rather these poems explore a variety of topics with a feline twist. They include simple admiration and observation, but also engage social questions and current politics. They move with wit and grit, from non-traditional to traditional to innovative. Although haiku is known for language that is simple and direct, these poems take advantage of clever ambiguities, and cultural resonances. As in one of the first poems we are told:
waves her calico paw
David Dephy’s Book Review for “MEOWKU” on Home Planet News Online
Posted on February 4, 2020
A big shout out to David Dephy’s stellar book review for “MEOWKU” (Poets Wear Prada) in the Issue #7 of Home Planet News Online.
MEOWKU: POEMS BY PATRICIA CARRAGON, POETS WEAR PRADA, 2019
ISBN-13: 978-1-946116-21-5, PAPERBACK:
46 PAGES, LIST PRICE: $12.00
As I was reading Patricia Carragon’s poetry, I was overcome with a peculiar feeling – as if I felt a warm nearness of a kitten while sensing its absolutely unmistakable alienation.
Plenty has been written and said about cats, but rarely anyone has managed to create poetry so catlike, and with such laconic ease. I was reading the book, thinking “do I love cats or not?” but whether I understand them or not does not have much importance now, as this book is beyond any stereotype and when we talk about cats and their universe, it’s hard not to remember T.S. Eliot, in whose writing every word feels like it’s been written specifically for you so that you can see and examine a unique world which you yearn to enter, while at the same time feeling some trepidation about entering it – as if something is stopping you. It’s the same feeling now with this book; I don’t mean just the intellectual and emotional union with Eliot’s work, but also the impulse of creativity and the simplest, yet most revealing forms of expression.
I believe every work is judged by how closely it reaches the original aim of the author and by the mastery with which it reaches its destination. I believe the aim is the reader’s heart, the heart of each human, no matter what age or sex they may be, whoever reads the text and feels some inexplicable, wonderful strangeness…a loving nearness of kittens . . .
Read more at:
North of Oxford:
MEOWKU POEMS AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY PATRICIA CARRAGON
By Aaron Fischer
Patricia Carragon has done something notable, writing and assembling some 30 pages of haiku about cats (hence, meowku) that are neither cute nor cloying. What they are is smart, funny, and satisfyingly complex — quite an accomplishment in seventeen syllables.
Consider these two meowku that occur early in the book:(for Tama) the goddess meows Kishigawa’s good fortune calico’s blessing.We have to do a little digging for this meowku to surrender its secrets. Tama was a female calico who was actually appointed station master at Kishi Station on Japan’s Kishiwaga line.
In lieu of an annual salary, the railway provided Tama with a year’s worth of cat food and a gold nametag.
A few minutes with Wikipedia reveals another layer of meaning: Tama is often cited as part of a phenomenon known in Japan as nekonomics (literally, “cat economy”), which describes the positive economic impact of having a cat mascot.
Read more at: