Returning to Hanami and The Minstrel of Belmont

Over the next few weeks, I’m revisiting the two publications that came out in 2015. Hanami, which was my first full-length collection, and The Minstrel of Belmont, which was my first chapbook. I’ll be posting a series of poems from both publications and talk a little bit about that poem, how or why it was written, a little history of the poem, or maybe just something interesting that I see now in them that I didn’t see earlier.

Each publication is pretty different. Hanami is the final form of Houses, which was my MFA thesis, and while many of the poems are different, many are the same (revised or not), and a few are pre-MFA poems. The book is kind of eclectic in style and theme because it covers poems from 1992 through 2010. Minstrel was written over two months in 2014 and revised over two weeks in early September of that year and submitted immediately to Finishing Line Press. It’s part of a larger collection, Ohana, which I’m working on now. Ohana will cover post-Hanami poems up to that summer of 2014. Minstrel is more about family and more like me now, whereas Hanami is a glimpse of me as a young poet that’s pretty constantly changing.

So I hope you’ll come back over the next month or so. If you like what you read, I hope you’ll consider purchasing a copy of either (or both) publications. They are available at Amazon. Minstrel is also available at Finishing Line’s website.

To get us started, I did write a post a while back about “True Budo,” a poem about my late aikido sensei, Dick Stroud-shihan. Next time, I’ll be writing about “South Point Fisherman” from Hanami.

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