Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lax - the peacemaker's handbook

Lax’s poetry is vertical, going down the page instead of across.  In order to get the cadence, you have to read and see the vertical lines as they go up and down and across the page as well, like stanzas. It does a number on your mind, reading this way.  You can't assume that you know what is coming next.

The St. Bonaventure Archive site has pdf files of one of Lax’s works - The Peacemaker’s HandbookPeacemaker’s Handbook was first published by Pendo Verlag of Zurich Switzerland in 2001.  Most of Lax's poetry was published by European book companies in English with facing German translated pages.  I could find many of them on Amazon.de, but not the U.S. site.

The reproduced text on the pdf's linked to below is a digital copy of the original typescript/printout submitted for that publication. It differs from the published version in regards to the arrangement of some portions of the text.   But it gives you a good idea of how Lax’s poetry should look on a page.  (I would love to see this book reproduced in America.)




Here is a little snippet from the Peacemaking part:

fight

fire

with

what
?

water

---

(seriously, though, you need to read the whole thing to get the breadth and depth of Lax's simple wisdom)

And here is a little snippet from the Contemplation part:

con
tem
pla
tion

is

watch
ing

---

what

hap
pens

if

you

watch

?

you

be
gin

to

see


---

3 comments:

  1. Here's a poem by Bob Lax that I found while trying to bring order to a corner of our home office. This was sent by Lax from Patmos on the 14th of December 1988. The layout is more than I can reproduce by e-mail -- seven columns with about 15-16 lines per column.

    Jim

    * * *

    it
    came
    to
    be
    known

    as
    a
    friend
    ly
    plan
    et

    as
    tro
    vis
    i
    tors

    land
    ing
    there

    were
    al
    ways

    treat
    ed

    like
    prin
    ces

    &
    those
    who
    lived
    on
    it

    took
    care
    of
    each
    oth
    er

    like
    the
    kind
    est

    of
    broth
    ers

    &
    sis
    ters

    "if
    one

    of
    us
    is
    un
    hap
    py,

    all
    of
    us
    are,"

    they
    said

    but
    few
    of
    them
    were

    un
    hap
    py

    &
    none
    without
    help

    the
    grass
    es
    were
    hap
    py
    too

    &
    so
    were
    the
    birds

    it
    was
    all

    one
    net
    work:

    a
    small
    liv
    ing
    be
    ing

    that
    sang

    night
    &
    day

    for
    joy

    -

    * * *

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Jim! This is another wonderful Lax poem.

    I read Lax's poetry at night before I go to bed and it stays with me through my dreams! It really is special, in ways that I can't even fathom.

    ReplyDelete
  3. William Stringfellow and Robert Lax in pantomime are eating cotton candy and watching Christ on a trapeze in heaven.

    ReplyDelete

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