Depth Charge: This poem originates from notes I took during my stay in the Yukon, 1986-87. I was obsessed with making poems that could be read in multiple ways. There are at least five ways to read this poem; one, a straight-foreward, left-to-right, top to bottom reading; two though four, read each “column” separately from top-to-bottom, I have bolded the middle “column” for ease of reading; and, five, don’t read it at all.
Almost twenty years after writing this poem, I read Zhang Zai’s Western Inscription for the first time and was struck with the parallel’s between what Rae was saying and what Zhang Zai had written, although the cultural contexts could not be more different, and I remembered this poem. The Western Inscription keeps popping up in my writing.
Links about the Tlingit in the Yukon:
All the études may be viewed here.
If you’d like to view the poetry and writing that is not tanka, or tanka related, please click here.
To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”