Masters of Sabi


wraith the days I’m barely here

 Susan Burch


#tuesdaytasting a little doomsday

Susan Burch

  Susan Burch is a good egg 


 It’s a great pleasure to be able to present poetry in this showcase offering ripe examples both of orthodox approaches to communicating sabi and also representing very innovative and groundbreaking strategies, the latter camp where one can often find Susan Burch’s stellar writing firmly situated. Famed for original and always incendiary applications of her characteristic voice and scathing cleverness across a wide range of forms in poetic prose and verse, she has distinguished herself for an especial penchant at incorporating subject matter and themes drawing from a vast and eclectic repertoire of folklore and ephemera which would make Buson proud and leave Shiki thunderstruck, demonstrating an inventive command of techniques of allusion and intertextuality, something one may appreciate further in her collaborative collection with Bona M. Santos Nursery Rhyme Haiku from Velvet Dusk Publishing. In the first of these uncanny, savvily orchestrated monostiches we find a very sabi entity described, inhabiting a limbo of sorts both in terms of perception and reality, between life and death, this material sphere and another less understood, well defined or tangible, paired with an account relating feelings of incompletion, betwixtness, dissipation, articulating a purgatory which well matches the definitive waning, sloughing, coming untethered, that prototypical ‘unweeded garden which grows to seed’ associated—beyond the state of Denmark—both with this aesthetic and autumn more generally. Next we observe a fascinating portrayal of time and space again, discussed in association with a ‘hashtag’ (#) employed via social media posting to increase reach, facilitate interconnection and engagement, in combination creating one of the most unusual and imaginative examples toriawase in recent memory. Additionally, Burch introduces the idea of flavor and sampling, how it impresses taste buds. In a sense within the Western conception of a traditional workweek, the poet has lit upon the longest temporal yard away from any weekend’s relief, the Winter solstice of soul crushing industrial labor schedule’s structuring, as ameliorated and sanitized in this surreal age unnervingly by our cheerful influencer culture, the opiates of consumption and vicarious aspirations toward various dangled carrots of luxury and anesthesia. Astutely, Susan finds a highly appropriate catastrophic expression for the sabi that precise moment entails for a gourmand, with notes of brimstone and dust unmistakable to trained palates. An acquired taste, to be sure!

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