Anselm Hollo

Anselm Hollo

Read Camille Martin’s poetry in Issue XXI: Spring 2013 of The Puritan here.

Anselm Hollo: Motes & Pellets

My work appearing in The Puritan is from a manuscript of short poems entitled R Is the Artichoke of Rose. Some of my earliest poems were haiku, and I’ve been writing minimalist poems on and off for many years. As I was editing the manuscript recently, I remembered that one of my first poetic influences was a master of lyric brevity, Anselm Hollo.

Saddened to hear of Hollo’s death earlier this year, I’ve been revisiting some of his books, such as Sojourner Macrocosms, Finite Continued, and Corvus. The poems are as fresh and startling as when I first read them around 1990. Many are longer, of course, but the poems that first drew my attention were the ones he refers to as “motes” and “pellets,” enigmatic microcosms that reverberate long after their brief life on the page.

I was fortunate to spend a little time with him during one of his visits to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I can’t think of him without hearing his quintessentially infectious laugh and remembering the feeling of being in the presence of a great poet and generous human being. I’m indebted to him for the continuing pleasure of what he called his “avuncular vernacular,” and for introducing me to the soul of wit.

Here’s one from Outlying Districts:

Response to Colorado Daily’s
poll question: “What is
the meaning of life?”

life is a leaf
stuck to her nose
very brief-
ly, just a mo

Camille Martin is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Looms (2012) and Sonnets (2010), both from Shearsman Books. She holds a PhD in English from Louisiana State University and an MFA in Poetry from the University of New Orleans. She lives in Toronto. Blog: http://rogueembryo.com
Website: http://www.camillemartin.ca

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