Saturday, June 19, 2004

A Lament for "Deanotations"

"Deanotations", one of my all-time favorite subscribed newsletters, is putting out its last issue. Dean Blehert has published it semi-monthly for the last 15 or 20 years, and his wife, Pam Coulter, has illustrated each issue with simply amazing line drawings.

The last one is on its way to me, so says Dean. There will be no more.

Dean tells me it is the end but I don't want to believe it.

I've got a file of Deanotations that goes back to the last ice age, or so it seems. It has been growing at glacial speed no matter where or how many times I've moved in the last 20 years. After this, it will be getting no thicker. When I die (some unthinkable time in the distant future) whoever has the task of weeding through my papers will undoubtedly toss the folder, thinking it of no value. How wrong they will be!

Deanotations was usually filled with "light", funny, touching poems - Dean is a master of puns and palindromes, sestinas and limericks - he can do it all well.

I like the space he makes for readers - it is a fun place with wide horizons where people play tricks on you and you can fall down dead and spring up again like the much-abused Roadrunner.

He's moving on, says Dean.

I find I want to stow away with him to wherever Dean is going.

When I was reading more today from The Genius of Haiku, which is a condensed version of the works of R.H. Blyth, this section reminded me of Blehert's gentle humor, so ably expressed in his poems:
The fundamental thing in the Japanese character is a peculiar combination of poetry and humour, using both words in a wide and profound yet specific sense. "Poetry" means the ability to see, to know by intuition what is interesting, what is really valuable in things and persons. More exactly, it is the creating of interest, of value. "Humour" means joyful, unsentimental pathos that arises from the paradox inherent in the nature of things. Poetry and humour are thus very close; we may say that they are two different aspects of the same thing. Poetry is satori; it is seeing all things as good. Humour is laughing at all things; in Buddhist parlance, seeing that "all things are empty in their self-nature", and rejoicing in this truth.

No comments: