A Sentimental Dialogue

Poetry, with Virgil Burnett, 1996, Pasdeloup Press, Stratford

This book is a game, conceived in the Fall of 1994, which took two years to complete. The tankas were mailed back and forth wherever the authors might be residing at the time. The changing landscapes, seasons, and states of mind are reflected in each volley and its return. A game of poetry played by two friends.

A Sentimental Dialogue ( 34pp.) is a Pas de Luce Book from Pasdeloup Press (1996), hand printed in a limited edition of 120 signed and numbered copies with variant Japanese paper covers, and hand-stitching in the Japanese fashion. This is a dialogue poem between Karen Mulhallen and Virgil Burnett in the shape of a Japanese renga, which consists of 100 tankas which alternate between the two authors.



This dense interlace
Of words a verbal hammock
Seems when I read back–

Our gaming’s gossamer couch
Webbed with not quite chaste intrigues.

Perhaps soon to sum
This game scarcely begun. Webs
Offer swift escape

To divers whose hot metal
Seas multitudinous cure.

Better plunge than gape
From the uneventful shore.
Even the walrus

Sports, and the lustful squid, charmed
By your dark mermaid allure.

Allure, perhaps, but
Never a Lorelei. Rocks
Are for surf and sun.

A mermaid’s essence to attract
The ocean’s bounding beings.