Calligraphy With Ball, by Kenneth Pobo

Calligraphy With Ball, by Kenneth Pobo


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Calligraphy With Ball was a finalist in the 2016 Encircle Publications Annual Chapbook Contest.

Praise for Calligraphy With Ball

Whether it’s ancient Chinese poets come to visit our contemporary world, mythical Greek or Norse gods kvetching about the drawbacks of immortality, or just you and me and Dorice Appleonia Lilacia in our private sandboxes, Ken Pobo has a way of capturing the moment, holding it up for our astonished contemplation. As Lei Bei tells us from a tanning bed, “Poems travel forever.” Ken Pobo’s move at lightning speed.

—Charles Rammelkamp, author of American Zeitgest


The neighborly poet of Calligraphy with Ball stops to talk with us at the place where haiku meets free verse, a lyrical gate that takes many forms––a trillium’s timeless throat, the face of water revealing “mysteries that descend for miles,” the porous border through which the historic and mythical dead access the living. And, in a reversal of the usual longing for transcendence, earthly beauty tempts the best of the Tang poets and even the gods themselves to return for “wildflower- / drunk mountains,” the smell of the moon “bloomed in dark water,” for diners, roadhouses, and tanning beds, “poplars and kettles.” Conversance with the intangible abiding in our material world looks deceptively easy in these poems. Yet we are not surprised that such wise affection is hard-won and speaks from “the point of intersection / where I take joy / when all seems lost.”

—Erin Redfern, author of Spellbreaking And Other Life Skills

Sample poem


I dash back the long path
over 700 years. Would Botox
hide how dead I look? Your world
is crummier than mine despite
Emperors who kept me hopping.
Tu Fu told me he visited last year.
When you arrive, try
the tanning salon. It’s strange.
He’s never steered me wrong—
while in the bed I remember a night
I spent alone on a mountain
with the moon. Or
was I on the moon dreaming
of a mountain? I’m pretty
sure I was crocked and
in love. With everything from
a grass blade to a ripple.
Not many open areas here—
mostly drug stores, fast food
joints, and parking lots.
This tan will surprise
the ghosts back in China.
I’ll send you a poem. By
the time you get it, you’ll
be dead too. No problem.
Poems travel forever.


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