DOWNEY - Poet and publisher Jim Natal will be the featured reader at the next presentation of Poetry Matters, Thursday, Feb. 13, at Stay Gallery.Natal's literary background is distinctly wide-ranging. He has authored four poetry collections, served as executive editor for the Creative Services office of the NFL, and currently runs indie publishing house Conflux Press with his wife, book artist Tania Baban. His latest collection, "52 Views: The Haibun Variations," is written using the ancient Haibun form. Natal describes Haibun as "brief blocks of prose...accompanied by, and interacting in some way with, a commentary haiku-like poem." He is attracted to this interesting form by the "interworkings of the elements, the dialogue that can take place between the prose and poetry." Natal uses this form to explore some of the hardest aspects of our lives. He describes helping an Iraq War veteran write an essay: "My student writes about his last day in Iraq, the one that ends with his getting blown up by an IED. I try to separate form from content the way the insurgent separated my student from much of his blood and nearly his life...The rules of grammar, / dispassionate as a bomb; / each wire connected." And meanwhile, as his poetry reflects, the world moves on. He writes, "We tell stories, we write poems to try to explain it to ourselves. What else can we do? // One tree on a hill, / caws of invisible crows. / Then it starts to snow." Poetry Matters is curated by Lorine Parks. Doors open at 7 p.m. and an open mike starts at 7:30. All ages are welcome.
********** Published: Jan. 30, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 42