My name’s Christopher Patton. I’m a poet, translator, critic, children’s writer. American born, Canadian grown, straddling domains as best I can, my roots for now in the greeny border town of Bellingham, Washington, City of Subdued Excitement, where I teach creative mischief at Western Washington University.
I’ve got four books in this world. Ox was my first book of poetry. Its opening section won the Paris Review‘s long poem prize. Jack Pine is a children’s story in verse that got made into an opera. As a PhD student at the University of Utah, I started translating Old English poems, and three of them found refuge as Curious Masonry with the artisans of type at Gaspereau Press. More recently I’ve done a second volume of translations with them, Unlikeness Is Us, this time with commentaries & notes & a critical intro, my biases set down for all to see.
A fifth, Dumuzi, a volume of poetry, is on its way, spring 2020, Gaspereau once more.
I’m a Zen practitioner. Here in Bellingham I sit with the Red Cedar Zen Community, studying with Nomon Tim Burnett and Zoketsu Norman Fischer of Everyday Zen. I received the Buddhist precepts in April, 2006 from John Daido Loori, who gave me the dharma name Kyushun, “ongoing spring.” All my creative work since then has been an inquiry into my name. Before that too actually.
You can read nearby about my recent and current projects. Dumuzi, just finished, ties itself w/ bands of grass to the myth cycle of a Sumerian shepherd god. Poems from it have been published in New American Writing, Asymptote, Colorado Review, FIELD, Kenyon Review, Versal, other places, and have received four Pushcart Prize nominations. Its companion underway is Siri Falls Among the Things of the World, a graphic novella collaged out of junk mail recounting the descent of Inanna, Dumuzi’s lover & frenemy eternal, to the underworld – but with Siri, our omnipresent voice-activated mind assistant, in the starring role.
That one has a ways to go. One I just finished is called Afternoon of a Tweet: Fantasia Upon a Text by Donald Trump. It’s a book-length asemic translation, distortion, perversion, of a tweet in which DT defends his obscene & criminal family separation policy at the US–Mexico border. I have two forms in mind for it: a large-format book, like quarto-size; and a scroll called Scroll on Down, with rolling pins for dowels!
You can also read on nearby pages about two other projects underway – SCRO, a multi-modal aasemic (neither legible nor not) memoir, and Before the Planet Ends Us, Our Alphabets Will Burn, an elegiac series of asemic post-apocalyptic comic books.
What else? A pic of me and some long grasses on Salt Spring Island, BC. Some years old but yes I am still that good looking.
Kidding, I was never that good looking. The image up top, branches of an old walnut tree on the same property, a home I had there once.
The blog as a whole is indebted to this book. Publications & awards & such here. Reviews of my work here. Enjoy! Or, better, go make your own angelic demotic word pix. Good, bad, who the eff cares. Give your loves away.