A poetic journal is a literary genre combining aspects of poetry with the daily, or near daily, "takes" of journal writing. Born of twin impulses: to track change in daily life and to memorialize experience, poetic journals owe allegiances to Asian writing — particularly the Japanese haibun of Matsuo Bashō, The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon, and the poetic diaries of Masaoka Shiki — as well as Objectivist poets and others associated with Donald Allen's anthology The New American Poetry 1945-1960. Unlike traditional diaries or journals that focus primarily on recounting a day's experience, poetic journals emphasize the act of writing itself in collaboration with the day's account. Taking its cue from post-Jack Kerouac writers, like Bernadette Mayer and Clark Coolidge, the poetic journal aims to be all inclusive as well as timely and attentive. To quote Tyler Doherty in his introduction to For the Time Being: The Bootstrap Book of Poetic Journals, "[The poetic journal] doesn't try to tell us what the world is, so much as remind us that the world is."
Asian Influences: Matsuo Bashō, Sei Shōnagon, Masaoka Shiki.
19th Century Naturalist Influences: Henry David Thoreau.
Objectivist influences: William Carlos Williams, Lorine Niedecker, Charles Reznikoff.
Selected poetic journals
Poetic Journal Anthologies:
Tyler Doherty & Tom Morgan: For the Time-Being: The Bootstrap Book of Poetic Journals
Paul Blackburn: The Journals
Tyler Doherty: Bodhidharma Never Came to Hatboro
Larry Eigner: Readiness / Enough / Depends / On
Zoketsu Norman Fischer: The Narrow Roads of Japan
Allen Ginsberg: The Fall of America
Jack Kerouac: Book of Sketches
Joanne Kyger: Again; As Ever; Patzcuaro
David Lehman: The Daily Mirror
Bernadette Mayer: Midwinter’s Day
Michael Rothenberg: Unhurried Vision, The Paris Journals, Narcissus
Ron Silliman: Bart; Xing
Louis MacNeice: Autumn Journal; Xing
Andrew Schelling: The Road to Ocosingo; Two Elk: A High Country Notebook
Joel Sloman: Cuban Journal
Gary Snyder: Earth House Hold
Philip Whalen: Goofbook
John Wieners: 707 Scott Street Robert Crosson: Daybook
- For the Time-Being: The Bootstrap Book of Poetic Journals. Bootstrap Press: Lowell, MA. 2007.
- Practice of Poetry: The Poetic Journal A link to Andrew Schelling's poetic journal course description.
- Cervena Barva Press interview with Mark Pawlak Touches on Poetic Journals.
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