Early on in graduate school, I spent some time with The Haiku Anthology, edited by Cor van den Heuvel, which is a collection of modern haiku written by contemporary authors from around the world. Some of the poems are written in “traditional” 5-7-5 format, but most are modern free form, presenting snapshots of nature and human existence—a moth, a weightlifter’s teacup, the face lit by lightning at the top of a ferris wheel—with such stark directness, mostly unencumbered by ego, that ten years later I can still feel like many of those poems ricocheting through my brain.
I feel that same crispness and power emanating from the poems of Wendy Chin-Tanner. With economy of language and cat-like pacing reminiscent of Tom Montag, Wendy’s poems make use of white space, but they don’t rely on it. They make use of language, obviously, but I’m not sure they rely on that, either. Put another way, I sense an underlying and indescribable thread of beauty running throughout Wendy’s work that uses richly sensory language as its current manifestation, but with full knowledge that the poems themselves are more than the words that comprise them. (Hmm, not sure if that makes general sense, but it does to me.)
In addition to the general giddiness I feel every time we publish a new Featured Poet, this month we’re also excited to present the Featured poems in audio format. Be sure to like, comment, share, repost, and generally spread the word that Wendy Chin-Tanner is awesome.