Gift Guide

Notes on the Possibilities and Attractions of Existence


Table of Contents

Part One
Excerpts from a June Journal Beans June 1, 1991: Sleeping Late June 16, 1991: Final Foal Journal Entry, PoBiz, Texas Notes from My Journal, Kyoto, December 1984

Part Two

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Table of Contents

Part One
Excerpts from a June Journal Beans June 1, 1991: Sleeping Late June 16, 1991: Final Foal Journal Entry, PoBiz, Texas Notes from My Journal, Kyoto, December 1984

Part Two
Interstices Swimming and Writing Motherhood and Poetics October 4, 1995
For Anne at Passover Recitations First Loves

Part Three
An Appreciation of Marianne Moore's Selected Letters This Curious Silent Unrepresented Life Josephine Jacobsen Back to the Fairground: Mona Van Duyn A Postcard from the Volcano Essay on Robert Frost

Part Four
Trochee, Trimeter, and the MRI: On A Shropshire Lad Gymnastics: The Villanelle A Way of Staying Sane Word for Word: "Poem for My Son"
Scrubbed Up and Sent to School

Part Five
Keynote Address, PEN-New England, April 11, 1999
Premonitory Shiver
Two Junes

Part Six

from an interview with Enid Shomer

ES: I know that there are many poets whose work you admire, but who has exerted the most influence on you?

MK: Auden, unquestionably. Almost everything I know how to do with the line, I learned from absorbing Auden.

ES: You never met him?

MK: No. I probably attended a dozen readings he gave, in and around Boston, in his carpet slippers. I worshipped him from afar. Today, it must seem a strange influence, and Anglo-American male. You'd expect I would say—I don't know—but some woman role model. There really was no one at the time.

ES: Marianne Moore?

MK: Hardly. She was inimitable, in the firest sense of that word. And Elizabeth Bishop was just too distant and too classical. But when I was sixteen, I adored Edna St. Vincent Millay; I could say lots of her sonnets by heart, and that was all to the good. Auden exerted an intellectual and visceral influence on me, though, metrically, in terms of rhyme and scansion, and his ability to compress those gifts into images, to make a metaphor of a thought: "In the nightmare of the dark / All the dogs of Europe bark."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gathering work from 24 mostly small-press collections, Notes is the Finnish-American Hollo's first selected volume in nearly 25 years. Hollo speaks, writes and translates in or from at least four different languages, and has moved gradually over the years from a spare, wit-based lyrical style toward more angular, often slyly political speech and casual humor: "a copacetic evening/ watching the latest military techn / wipe out poverty in the world/ in its most obvious form, the poor." The plethora of poems here, arranged chronologically and containing a quietly expanding sense of uncertainty for the fate of the species, have a range that belie Hollo's relative lack of fame and his predilection for writing in modestly short or serial forms as he does brilliantly in Rue. Dedicated to "The School of Continuation" and written during a five-month stay in a small French town outside of Paris, Rue is a crackling, wickedly lyrical sonnet sequence hurtling 21st-century noun logjams across the bows of cubist poetic structures. Taking tonal cues from several oft-cited contemporaries (Ed Dorn, Ted Berrigan) while speaking directly out of the open-ended sensibilities of present-day poetic transformation, the book extends the arena of poetic eavesdropping out into the world at large: "breeze through the grand accordion of frames/ watch reflections flounce/ prattling selves, quavered ecliptics/ sink into head's reanimated folds." Hollo has been associated with just about every subdivision of and outgrowth from the New American Poetry, but has remained defiantly unclassifiable. These collections will no doubt resonate with longtime Hollo readers, but both have the observational charm and unpretentious wit to win a deservedly larger audience with Rue being the ideal book for first-timers. (June 1) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566891134
  • Publisher: Coffee House Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2001
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Anselm Hollo is the author of more than forty books and an award-winning translator. Born in Helsinki, Finland, Hollo has lived in the United States for thirty-seven years and now teaches at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. His most recent collection of poems, Notes on the Possibilities and Attractions of Existence, received the San Francisco Poetry Center Award.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


    & It Is a Song


    Air, to Dream in

    Leave it, leave it

  behind the dark
  window the owls
  calling out to each other
  my voice to you
                   only heard
there in the dark
treetops of the sea
red the moon rose
cooled off shrunk
to a coin in the blue
alone it is if it is
a poem for you

    The Red Piano

      A red piano
he says
      a red piano.
I never saw one.
I knew a man who had a red typewriter,
he hardly ever used it.
      A red piano.
Would it be lighter to carry upstairs
than a black one?
      A red piano, a red piano.
Let us think more musical thoughts.


    Faces & Forms


    La Noche

the wind let loose in the dark
and the lights of the city moving
the city is a great dragon it is a procession
          it is on the move
but the curtains are drawn
the music unheard
see men and women preparing themselves
for the long journey across a room

The Low Black Square
            for Josephine Clare

is a table
once upon a time
its legs were longer
but I sawed them off
I sawed and sawed
one of them always shorter
than the other three and so
it got a little too low
in the end
kind visitors breathed
"ah, Japanese"
and on the black square
the tile-red cylinder
in a pitcher we found in Venice
there are flowers
they are flowers
they're just some flowers


    The Coherences



the poet Vallejo invented new ways of walking
sitting lightly on wooden Metro benches
not to wear out his trousers
not to wear out his shoes
in the secret code of his poems
he describes those inventions

    The Empress Hotel Poems

Just get up
and sit down again. Then
    you can watch the dust
Or wait for the Irishman to come round
knock on your door again. Twice
    he's asked me
first, the time, and then
"would you know of anyplehs I could get a job sirr—
        lehborin', that is."
They won't take him, he looks too
purgatorial. Poor soul
8 days over from Eire
        where they have strikes.

Typewriter banging
better than radio for company.
Sheets of translation pile up. Too many
    words, too many
other men's words
       bang through my head. Why don't they learn English
in Finland. Why don't they learn Finnish Swedish German
    in England, Old and New.
They're just being kind to you, Anselm.
    They don't learn,
       you earn.

The old housekeeper lady downstairs
    likes the stamps. She says could you
let me have them if you're going to throw them away
         anyway. Mr. Burroughs she says
    always did that, he always
         gave me the stamps. He got a lot of
            mail, too.
I give them to her. We are
    Burroughs Hollo Saarikoski Ball
         we are Mrs. Hardy's
    nice writing gentlemen.

White smoke from Battersea Power Station
    rises moon star London city light
beam from the airport
sweeps the sky. I switch the room light
    on and off and on, light dark light dark.
       It occurs to me
    I'm trying to tell you
       what goes on inside me.
          Out there
       they'll suspect
          a Chinese spy.
Ha. Battersea Beast on its back
pushing vapor puffs through the soles of its feet
          for fun.

Go through my things
    god knows what you'll find. When I'm not here.
I'm not here, in this poem
I'm in another room, writing praises
         of their loveliness and terror
the ones that dance through my mind
         not endlessly, but to be one, at one
                          with them
                      I want to be.
                  I want to be one,
             I want her to be one
         when the voice begins
     she is, and she dances.
I am the voice. I praise.
There is
no mind.

To return and find
2 men in gray suits who have come to look at me through their eyes
    and say Mr. H. is this yours? You know they're illegal
       in this country. Oh I didn't know.
    Well they are, you better get rid of it. OK.
They go, and I think
    it is a good thing to have more than one room.
What would they say
if they found what I have
in the other poem.
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Table of Contents

Air, to Dream In 2
The Red Piano 3
La Noche 5
The Low Black Square 6
Introduction 8
The Empress Hotel Poems 9
Instances 12
For the Sea-Sons and Daughters We All Are 15
The Coherences 16
Isadora 19
Buffalo - Isle of Wight Power Cable 20
Possible Definitions of 'Beauty' and 'Happiness' 21
The Charge 22
Le Jazz Hot 23
The One 23
5 & 7 & 5 25
Chanson 29
Tumbleweed 30
Man Animal Clock of Blood 32
That Old Sauna High 33
In the Octagonal Room 34
Bits of Soft Anxiety 35
Your Friend 36
Sunset with Blame 38
The New Style Western 39
Elegy 40
They 40
Rain 41
Any News from Alpha Centauri 42
He She Because How 44
Traveler 46
As It Is 47
De Amore 48
"it is a well-lit afternoon" 51
"in love we loaf" 53
At This Point, the Moon ... 54
After Verlaine 55
Dining Out Alone 55
Autobiographical Broadcasting Corporation 56
Double Martini 56
Zooming 57
Antioch, Illinois 58
Strange Encounter 58
To Be Born Again 59
"the force of being she released in him being" 60
"cloud of dust or roses (rose) in the head" 60
"grew up in Finland" 61
Elephant Rock 62
1939 62
"one of the pines has a bend in it" 63
"where was it I" 64
"it is said the Chinese believe that the human eye" 66
"Once in Khairouan ..." 66
"anyone, say, a girl named May" 67
Things to Do in Salzburg 68
World World World 70
Marchen (Beginner's Luck) 75
No Money 75
Classroom 76
Tremendous Wind and Rain 76
The Walden Variations 77
Indian Summers 78
Song 1 80
Song 7 81
Bicentennial 82
Life 2 82
Message 83
"the beetle wakes up" 84
La Cucaracha 84
You 86
Info 86
"nightfall image:" 87
Saturday 87
"awkward spring" 89
Helsinki, 1940 90
"slowly" 91
In a Tin Can Mirror 92
"summer nights" 93
"the language" 94
"it is the thinking" 95
Big Dog 97
Dedication: A Toke for Li Po 98
"memory rain pride wind" 100
"kicking Manhattan to pieces every night" 101
"Po Chu-yi heard them ..." 102
"animation subsides into terminal slapstick" 102
"in the Marshall Minnesota Quickstop" 103
Or, to Hocus the Animals of the Pursuers ... 105
Behaviorally 114
Southwest Minnesota 115
The Years 116
TV (1) 117
TV (2) 117
Manifest Destiny 119
Songs of the Sentence Cubes 120
Doc Holliday 122
The Images of Day Recede 123
Romance 124
Dirge 126
Ten Cheremiss (Mari) Songs 127
No Complaints 130
Valid 133
Some 133
Sorpresa 134
Page 135
On the Occasion of a Poet's Death 136
Letter 136
See You Later 137
Put in a Quaver, Here and There 139
Late Night Dream Movies 141
An Autobiography 144
De Amor y Otras Cosas 145
Diary 149
Pocatello, Idaho 150
Anti-Lullaby 151
The Ass Waggeth His Ears 152
The Tenth of May (1988) 153
In the Land of Art 154
Tarp 155
In the "Hip" Little Bookshop 156
"It Was All About ..." 157
In the Library of Poets' Recordings 158
Letter to Uncle O. 159
Idyll 160
The Missing Page 161
Alla Petrarca 162
No Detachment 163
La Vida 164
Brother (D.H.) Lawrence 165
Glenwood Springs 166
Arcana Gardens 167
End of the Range 182
Irritable Aliens 182
Two Parts 183
Angel Wings 184
Home on the Shelf 185
Space Baltic 186
Cloud Watch 187
Answering 188
The Older Artist 190
After Ungaretti 191
Paradiso Terrestre 192
Les Americains 193
Near Miss Haiku 194
Born Today 197
Swing High Swing Woe 199
A Town Dedicated to the Pursuit of Fitness & Inner Peace 200
Blue March'91 202
Note Found on Meditator 203
Inhabited Eyes 204
In the Raging Balance 205
Why There Is a Cat Curfew in Our House 206
Blue Ceiling 207
Pterodactyls 212
Pounces 215
Reviewing the Tape 217
Canto Arastra 222
In the Music Composed by Nutritious Algae 223
Kindly Water Other Level 224
Beginning & Ending with Lines from Christina Rossetti 225
At This Point in L'Histoire 226
Fair Poetry Eats Trembling Matter 227
Was That Really a Sonnet? 228
Now On to Ghazal Gulch 229
Gods Walked Animals Talked 230
The Word Thing 231
Si, Si, E.E. 232
As Leaves Sweep Past 233
& Time Trots By 234
At Evenfall 235
Turn Off the News 237
O Ponder Bone of Fabled Carp 238
And Then There Are These Skaldic Throwbacks ... 239
Head Sky Convoy Pattern 240
Benign Evening Comedown 241
Metaphor Mutaphor 242
Hey, Dr. Who, Let's Dial 1965 243
Leaves of Blur 244
Script Mist 245
An Olive for Satie 246
The Opening of the File 247
Emptier Planet 248
Jungle Finn 249
Time Rocking On 250
Sur la terrasse 251
Temple Noir 252
Sails of Murmur 253
The Next Fifty Years 254
Cat-Gods' Channel 255
After the Newscast 256
Halo Blade 257
Silent Salad 258
Secret Cohesive Tactics 259
Voice over Past House 260
Caught with a Pronoun 261
Things to Do with Life 262
Vibrant Ions 263
The Job 264
Wings over Maximus 265
Hop through Intersection 266
An Or 267
Apocrypha Hipponactea 268
Il y a 269
And What's Your Derivational Profile? 270
Rundfunk 271
Earful of River Wind 272
September Song 273
Your Turn 274
Red Cats Revisited 275
Hang on to Your Spell 278
After "Irish" by Paul Celan 279
Scripts 280
Air 282
Sunset Caboose 283
Passing Vapors 285
Big Furry Buddha in Back Yard 286
Lost Original 287
Still Here & Here Again Then Here & Still 288
Paint the Vacant Millennia 289
Much of It Unconscious Work but Work (Said Francis Ponge) 290
Hanging with Harpocrates 291
Leave It to the Bonobos 292
Crystallized Internet 293
Sorrow Horse Music 294
Old Cat Somber Moon 295
Presente or Not 296
Philosophique 297
So Fix That Broken Axle 298
Titled 299
The Ghostly Screen in Back of Things 300
Just Another Bit of Scenery 301
Say Tango 302
A Hundred Mule Deer in the Back Yard 303
Ad Quodlibet 304
We Are Having It Again and Without Sorrow 305
Life in the Twists 306
From the Notebooks of Professor Doppelganger 307
Give Me Big Shoes 308
Hi, Haunting 309
Skid Inside 310
Old Aristippus 311
Ultraista Oneiric 312
Attention: Sections Come on Tilted 313
The World as Fiasco 314
Now O'clock 315
"Tempus? Fuggit!" 316
Johnny Cash Writes a Letter to Santa Claus 317
Notes 319
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