Hank Lazer reviews “Charlotte’s Way”

Norman Fischer
Charlotte’s Way (poetry)
Tinfish Press, 2008

Charlotte’s Way may well be the finest book of poetry that Norman Fischer, poet and Zen Buddhist priest, has written. A fluid series of poems based in the area where Norman lives, these poems move in and out of statements with grace and beauty, placing us within a world of perpetual movement, impermanence, and wonder. Perhaps these lines characterize the movement found throughout this marvelous book: “Dark clouds scudding across and seas that mount and tumble/ To recognize emotions but not create them, to open up a crack for time/ To slip in but not weave an elaborate trope upon it.” These poems, written on a dramatic cliffside overlooking the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, integrate us as readers into that weave of sea, cloud, land, and light in which poet’s and reader’s minds partake, being a kindred matter in constant flux. If you are not familiar with Tinfish Press’s designs – and each chapbook, book, and magazine from Tinfish exhibits originality, humor, and skill (at an affordable price) – then consider purchasing this book as your introduction to Tinfish. Charlotte’s Way is done in an accordion design, so the book unfolds section by section, with an accompanying left-hand margin of images and measurements. The design is so beautiful, and appropriate, that one might forgive the too small font used for the text.

Hank Lazer, Ekleksographia #1 (Ahadada Books, January 2009). Courtesy of the Internet Archive's WayBack Machine.

See also:

Books of Poetry