Since Spring 2007 I have been writing Chinese “imitations” in Portsmouth (I started writing these earlier in Providence, RI). These poems come from a confluence of place, poetry, and philosophy.
First, Portsmouth NH, with its estuarial ponds (one of which is South Mill Pond). Then, the poetry of China, especially T’ang and Sung. David Hinton and Stephen Owen are constant companions; and The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry (2003) helps keep me connected to my earlier study of modern poetry. A third influence is the philosophy of the metaxy or “the between,” specifically as developed by William Desmond. Many of the epigraphs refer to G&B — his book God and the Between. Separate pages on the Tao and the Metaxy at http://thepoembetween.com/ provides little essays on this confluence of traditions of thought.
The songs are my analects, the result of a weekly walk from my home in Portsmouth to South Mill Pond, rain or shine. Finally, I owe Wendell Berry a debt for his Sabbath poems