More Publisher’s hat

Drifting, Marco Fraticelli  (2013, catkin press)COVER drifting frontWhen I began catkin press, I wanted fiercely to start with publishing poetry by Marco Fraticelli. Any poetry by Fraticelli, and I was sure he was hiding a manuscript or two, or ideas for a manuscript or two, so I asked him. Turned out there was an idea he had been thinking about and working on for a long time. Not the haiku or lyric poetry he was known for, something else: haibun based on some old papers he had found in an abandoned house in the Eastern Townships over 30 years ago.

I was intrigued by the yellowing paper, especially the journal fragments, and the handwriting of one Celesta Taylor, in love with an older man, caring for his children, and the details of a rural woman’s life in the early 1900s.

What Marco did was to edit and use her words as the basis of the prose part of the haibun, adding his own haiku. He has been a haiku poet for many years and is another Canadian haiku master. In a foreword, he explains more about his process, and tells more of her life, garnered from research done by his sister Rina who had made a NFB film based on the same materials.

We came up with the perfect size for Drifting-a little smaller, the right size to tuck into a pocket or purse. Convenient.

Marco Fraticcelli is a lyric and haiku poet, and publisher, from Montreal. For copies, message me on facebook.

Under My Publisher’s Hat

A book that I am extremely proud of having published: Grant Savage’s Their White With Them: Short Poems (2006, Bondi Studios, Carleton Place)

cover front


Grant is one of the Hidden Treasures of Ottawa. His reputation is well known in the haiku/tanka world as he is a master of both forms. Those not familiar with the power of either form should spend time with Grant’s collection.

Some would think these forms are not as important as ‘real’ poetry, which Grant also writes. But to take time with just one of them is to come away the richer.

early morning pond/reflected in its stillness/everything

It’s awkward given the limits of this form of blog, to format the poem into its three lines. But we can still feel not just stillness, but an extraordinary stillness. We find ourselves there by the pond. we’ve gotten up very early, even before the birds begin their sounds perhaps. The surface shines, and clouds might be floating on the water.  The next lines bring in not only the mirror of water, but suggest personal reflection, bringing not only the writer of the poem into the poem, but also everyone else who has ever sat by a pond noting the reflections, and reflecting. we look at the pond and in a sense the pond ‘looks’ at us.  That stillness, a sense that other things are, momentarily, still too.  it’s almost physical, it’s the way we expect magical moments to be. And what is there with you and me and the poet…but everything in existence, the bad and the good, the dark and the light. the more we reflect, the more everything becomes one.

I haven’t even begun to talk about whether it is important that this is a morning pond, to think about the difference in stillness between a morning or an evening, or between a midnight or a noontime stillness, because then we’re really into what this haiku might mean. And what ‘everything’ implies, besides the physical world. what about every emotion, every thought. Now we see that this tiny poem is very large; it has to be to contain everything. To have a copy of Grant’s book, to have hundreds of haiku and tanka withing reach, would be to have in one’s possession a lifetime of reading.  I’ll leave with a tanka to mull over, to grow even as you read it again, and again.

a chorus of birds/ you no longer here/ to sing to them/ or ask me to put names/                             to their answers

The content is enhanced by several of Grant’s nature photographs in colour. You can message Grant on facebook if you would like a copy of Their White With Them