Featured Poem of the month​

I Saw Your Name

 

Around 1985, heading back to National Airport,

I found my way to The Wall. Entering its stone

stillness, I floated with the raft of visitors

scanning dense petroglyphs on steep black cliffs.

 

A familiar name emerged, starting with Walter, but

what came to mind was Wally – big guy, big, friendly

face, big, bushy eyebrows and warm, bellowing voice.

Was this that student from Ellsworth College?

 

I taught there a couple years, then lost touch. When

my plane landed, the last name was forgotten, but not

the face or the laugh. I vowed to rummage around

for old yearbooks and their Walters, but never did.

 

When I opened the old cedar chest this morning,

I came across the 1966 “Lauream.” Sophomore

Walter Nutt is on page 23. That affable face also

gazes from its internet post of Vietnam casualties.

 

In the remembrances, a buddy had worried about

Wally, a medic who would not carry a weapon.

Another buddy said Wally spoke of going home to

his wife and baby daughter in Des Moines. He was 22.

 

The medal citation states four comrades fell wounded

nearby. Under fire, Walter Lee Nutt III treated two and

was killed moving toward the third. I saw your name

carved in stone, Wally. I’m sorry. You should be 70 now.

 

Raymond Byrnes. Before embarking on a long and stimulating career in Earth-science communications, R. A. Byrnes was a college English teacher in Minnesota. His early poems appeared in The Great River Review, Alembic, and several other journals. Recently retired, he enjoys gardening and writing at his home in Virginia. 

....and now...

...from the mind of...

the Mad Poet 

poetry magazine, editor, Anthony Uplandpoet Watkins, Anthony Watkins

The Interview with Adjei Agyei-Baah

by Tendai Rinos Mwanaka

and Kevin McLaughlin

Adjei Agyei-Baah is a language lecturer at the University of Ghana School of Distance Education, Kumasi Campus and author of two haiku books: AFRIKU (Red Moon Press, 2016) and Ghana 21 Haiku (Mamba Africa Press, 2017) and winner of several international awards. He is the co-founder of Africa Haiku Network (AHN) and as well doubles as the co-editor of Mamba Journal, Africa's first international haiku journal, and champions “Afriku”, a nativized and avant-garde form of the Japanese haiku poetry in Africa and other places of the world.

Part 1: Haiku Interview Questions

Kevin:  Dear Mr. Adjei Agyei-Baah, I would like to start by telling you how much I enjoyed the Afriku you contributed to the February BTS issue.  In particular, I admired “Harmattan ghost/ a  lone fisherman emerging/ from a fogged lake.”  This verse helped trigger a series of interview questions.

Adjei Agyei-Baah: Thanks for the compliment. It’s always a pleasure to get a positive response on your haiku, especially when it connects with the reader.


Kevin:  How did you become aware of this format?  What was your introduction to haiku?  Originating in Japan, the form is only seldom taught in Western schools.  Many of us only become aware of haiku, and start writing these 3 line gems, after we have completed our schooling.

Adjei Agyei-Baah: I became aware of this genre through a fellow countryman who runs a blog “Haiku From Ghana”. I became enchanted with the brevity of the form which condenses so much in few words. I did really love the delighting and revealing moments captured in these pieces, and I thought I had equally thrilling moments to share mostly from my childhood experience. Afterwards I read around on the internet and became a devotee of the haiku art.

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