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Pat Lawrence

Title Page

 

For a Frog

By Pat Lawrence

 

1

 

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Table of Contents

Title Page                               1

Table of Contents                   2

Acknowledgements                3

Epigraph                                4

For a Frog                             5

Afterword                              6

Author’s Note                       7

Notes                                    8

Works Cited                         9

Index                                    10

 

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Acknowledgements

Looking behind itself, this book finds its pollywog somewhere in the vicinity of Raymond Federman, without whom it could not have existed. It also is, somehow, for Hollis, though I’m not sure how. I hope he won’t mind.

 

3

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Epigraph1

Furu ike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

           

            Basho

 

4

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For a Frog

highway chaotic

tensely extending being

grit of exhaust fumes

 

5

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Afterword

 

The Pell Mell Sound of Raymond Federman’s More Shoes

and Smelly SocksAn Introductory Haiku

 

            The ancient pond

A frog jumps in

The pell mell sound of the water.

 

Larry McCaffery

For Basho

 

6

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Author’s Note:

I wish for Jared Demick’s sake that I could have transmitted this story orally.

 

7

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Notes

1. The poem here presented, dating from 1686, is one of Basho’s most famous. It has its own life in the Japanese (here transliterated, of course, a first act of translation), but the exercise of translation into English has produced a sparkling array of texts not unlike the beads of water suggested by the frog’s jump. The complexity produced in the act of translation—of even a simple 17 syllables, suggests the provocative power of the paradox as the underpinnings of the paratactic nature of the haiku. So much is left unsaid, we presume, that versions proliferate in the process of reading and unraveling.

The haiku must therefore be a readerly genre that demonstrates the activation of an infinite excess of its own meaning in each person who attempts to reconstruct it in his or her own words. This form, by saying little, suggests how difficult it is to pin language down to what it expresses. It seems to do more that express, or maybe to do so only imperfectly. Poetry demonstrates that this can be a source of pleasure, not (only) of consternation.

There is an unchainedness, then, less in the haiku itself than in the chronicle of its 325-year life.

The act of translation has not been undertaken with respect to this epigraph, except to the extent that, as mentioned above, transliteration does “take over” meaning.I

 

I. As is often noted, the verb “to translate” has multiple connotations—they proliferate, too—especially as one traces its etymology. One of those connotations is “to convey” an object. I read this very liberally here to arrive at the sense of “take over”—making use of the partial synonymy between an idiomatic use take and the conventional sense of convey. To wit, the following two phrases are synonymous: “I will convey to you to your friend’s house” and “I will take you over to your friend’s house.” Thus, the verbs to convey and take over have the same meaning. Makes perfect sense.١

 

١. No it doesn’t.

 

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Works Cited

Federman, Raymond. More Loose Shoes and Smelly Socks. 2nd ed. Ed. Pat Lawrence. New York: Replenishment Books, 2008. Print.

 

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Index

 

Basho: 4, 6, 8, 10

Demick, Jared: 7, 10

Federman, Raymond: 3, 6, 9, 10

Hollis: 3, 10

I: 3, 7, 8, 10

Lawrence, Pat: 1, 9, 10

McCaffery, Larry: 6, 10

 

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The Jivin' Ladybug- A Skewered Journal of the Arts
 
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