Denis M. Garrison was born in northern Iowa in 1946. His family and philosophical roots are in black dirt country. He has lived all over the United States, several years in Asia, in North Africa, and in Europe. He received his early schooling in Tokyo, Japan and in Sukiran and Naha, Okinawa. He served in Germany, Libya, Okinawa and Taiwan while in the Air Force, and aboard the USS Ranger in Viet Nam and in North Korea while in the Navy. He has worn many hats in a varied life: sailor, airman, mechanic, electrician, debt collector, sporting goods salesman, quality control technician, boiler-room operator, bureaucrat, small businessman, priest, poet, editor and publisher. A lifelong photographer and a graduate of the New York Institute of Photography, Denis was the first photographer admitted to the Maryland Federation of Art, with a black and white portfolio. A Marylander since 1960, Garrison now lives on the Piedmont Plateau in northern Maryland and devotes his full time to writing.
A 1974 university graduate in English Literature from Towson University, where he edited the literary magazine and chaired the Towson English Association, Denis taught creative writing for Johns Hopkins University’s Free University. His poetry is published internationally in Poetry Scotland, Ribbons, Magnapoets, Tangled Hair, Nightingale, Eucalypt, Simply Haiku, Moonset, Wisteria, Roadrunner, Trilopia, Verse Libre Quarterly, Stirring, World Haiku Review, Haiga Online, and many others, in print and online.
Garrison had published several poems and short stories, as well as an essay on dichotomies in the modern novel, before the 1975 publication of his poetry chapbook, Port of Call and Other Poems (1975). He has published six full-length books of poetry: Eight Shades of Blue (haiku, 2005), Hidden River (haiku, 2006), Sailor in the Rain and Other Poems (2007), Fire Blossoms: The Birth of Haiku Noir (2008), First Winter Rain: Selected Tanka from 2006-2010 (2010), and She Walked Among the Blossoms (2018). He has edited the journals, Modern English Tanka, Concise Delight Magazine of Short Poetry, Ambrosia: Journal of Fine Haiku, Modern Haiga, Haiku Harvest, Ku Nouveau, Haiku Noir, Templar Phoenix, Haiku Cycles, Gunpowder River Poetry, Amaze: The Cinquain Journal, and Loch Raven Review. Together with Michael McClintock, Garrison has edited the new wave tanka anthologies, The Five-Hole Flute, The Dreaming Room, Landfall, and Streetlights. Garrison also edited the Ash Moon Anthology together with Alexis Rotella.
Garrison has created three new poetic forms. The cinqku and crystalline haiku analogues have become popular forms for innovative tanka and haiku poets. The nautilus has a mathematical basis. Garrison’s poem “Nautilus” has been included in an academic text, Discovering Patterns in Mathematics and Poetry.
I am home again after two heart operations. The experience brought to mind the title poem of my first book length collection of poems. It is not radically brief poetry, but still a personal favorite and now with a new resonance for me.
The Brink at Logan Pond
On Logan Pond, the rose gold sky in pines’ Embrace between the cedar-shrouded hills, Now from the stained-glass stone-still surface shines, Just wrinkling at the emptying of rills. The heavens condescended on this cruel And vacant stretch of wet, this verdant sink. Beneath its jeweled face, this silent pool Still craves the careless creatures from the brink. Just pausing there, at water’s edge, I feel The almost tidal pull of Logan Pond. It tempts me from the land, to blindly reel In wanton waves and break my earthly bond. The gorgeous waste shall not see me descend. I’ll stand my ground ashore until the end.
HAIKU WISDOM : Living the Principles and Philosophies of Kung Fu, Haiku and Nature by Don Baird has been archived here on the More Great Books page of the Tanka In English blog. From the Foreword: “The title of this book is Haiku Wisdom. Its secondary title is Living the Principles and Philosophies of Kung Fu, Haiku and Nature. While much of the book is drawn on the philosophies of martial arts and its centuries of wisdom, it isn’t limited to that. Haiku, themselves, are often written as clear witnesses of nature and her ways. When observed well and written objectively, the messages of nature readily reveal themselves to the reader. Philosophical surprises are around every corner. It simply takes the poet and reader to connect the dots; aha! … the reader walks away with new and wonderful insights of life and its mysterious ways and workings.” This outstanding collection is archived here by permission of the author. This is a great read. Read and download Haiku Wisdom for free here.
LINKS & RESOURCES PAGE has been added to this blog which provides more than a dozen links and resources of use and interest to tanka poets, readers, publishers, etc. Today’s page is just a small beginning. It will be a continuous work in progress as we build up a useful page for our readers and contributors. You are invited to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with active links you believe would be appropriate for tanka lovers and of wide interest among them. The blog menus in the header and in the right sidebar include links to the new LINKS & RESOURCES PAGE.
My beloved wife Deborah passed away last year. On the 27th of June this year we celebrated a memorial service on the anniversary of her death. Posted above are a few favorite photographs from her too-short life. You can read She Walked Among the Blossoms, the memorial collection of poems for Deborah, here online that I published last autumn. A few days before the anniversary memorial service, I wrote a longer poem in her memory.
Hand in Hand Eternally
As solemn as I was When I asked your father for Your hand in marriage, How little did I realize What a treasure he bestowed. Over our years together How many thousands of times You gave your hand to me. Your hand gently on my shoulder. On my cheek, whether I wept or laughed. On my lips, when I had said enough. On my heart, to say, “I know.” On my back, to give me strength. On my knee, to say, “I’m here.” And best— oh, best of all ! — Your hand in mine, my love. Now I raise my hands, Although they ache with emptiness, To our merciful God In prayers of praise and thanksgiving For His mighty and loving hands That made ours and joined them forever.
Denis M. Garrison – In loving memory of Deborah Lynn Garrison, 1951-2018.
In addition to our links pages for || MET Journal || Tanka Teachers Guide || Tanka Anthologies || The Poetry of Denis M. Garrison || Haiga || our “MORE GREAT BOOKS“ page provides links for other books that are online here for you to read and download. Included, so far, are: * HAIKU HARVEST: Journal of Haiku in English * MEALS AT MIDNIGHT: Poems by Michael McClintock * ATLAS POETICA: A Journal of Poetry of Place in Modern English Tanka * PRUNE JUICE: Journal of Senryu and Kyoka * MODERN HAIGA (2008 & 2009) * TAKE FIVE: Best Contemporary Tanka * AMBROSIA: Journal of Fine Haiku * CONCISE DELIGHT: Magazine of Short Poetry *
All of these works are included in their entirety and are free for you to read and/or download. There is more than one summer’s worth of reading here for your enjoyment. Go to “MORE GREAT BOOKS.“
TANKA IN ENGLISH blog is the website of Modern English Tanka Press [2006-2019]. It has extensive poetry resources for readers, poets, and educators. We have designed it for easy use. A few guidelines follow,
Navigate the site using the complete “main pages” linked in the sidebar to the right. Additionally, the most important page links are also listed at the top of each page. Other links appear here and there within the bodies of pages and posts. Links do not open new tabs so, to return from a page to the previously viewed page use your browser back button. If you want to open new tabs when you click on links, right-click and choose “open link in new tab.” Any links within the papers and publications archived on this blog may or may not open new tabs.
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Carpe Diem's Tanka Splendor is part of the Carpe Diem Haiku Family. It's a weekly tanka-meme in which you can write and share tanka inspired on a given prompt every Saturday (mostlty, sometimes it will be on another day).