A Hundred Gourds 2:3 June 2013
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From There to Here: Conversations with John E. Carley

| Introduction | page 2 | page 3 | page 4 | page 5 | page 6 | page 7 |

Striking up a conversation with John Carley will surely fall under the category of engaging, taking into account his often amusing and erudite mode of address. And, after a while, it becomes clearly evident the man has strong and considered opinions!

I recall him once mentioning a "solipsistic" demeanor mistakenly deemed necessary for writing haiku. In context, at first I took that as explanation of his lifelong commitment to collaborative arts. Or, maybe, a disdain for poetry involving felines:

“I’ve never really been one for swapping anecdotes about cats. And although people seem to find this counterintuitive, I have no particular interest in Japan apart from certain aspects of the literature. Personally I don’t see the problem: I’m fascinated by Moroccan percussion styles, but have no great desire to go and live in Morocco. I can play them in my own front room.”

By word and example, however, Carley reveals a measureless intercultural acuity, though if pressed he merely exemplifies his fondness for the cuisine of Manchester's Curry Mile while at the same time, with utmost certainty, might forward the premise, "renku is not a Japanese art form, but rather a literary genre that has arisen in Japan".

As we read, in the following pages, the chronology of origins, on through influences, benchmarks and some pertinent anecdotal info, we begin to understand the evolution of his thoughts on renku, grounded as they are in the historical catalogue of haikai literature.

                                                                                                    – William Sorlien, renku editor


Boyle’s Stile, photo art by John Carley