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Now and Here
In this beautifully presented book, poet Naomi Beth Wakan joins photographer Christine Brooks Cote to offer glimpses into their “now and here.”
Wakan wrote tanka-a format of five-line poems originating in Japan-in response to photographs by Cote. Wakan chose this particular format because it starts with an objective description of the image
the dew still resting
where it settled
and then pivots to the poet’s subjective reaction
would we could wake refreshed
to look at things in new ways.
Cote’s photographs are the perfect inspiration for a poet – “you’re looking at my life and what I love; you’re seeing bits and pieces of places I have been; and you’re catching glimpses of the best moments of my life.”
The title, Now and Here, comes from Henry David Thoreau: ” . . . all these times and places and occasions are now and here.”
In “Now and Here”, Christine Cote’s photographs call and Naomi Beth Wakan’s poetry responds . . . Wakan’s choice of verse is tanka, a five-line form from the Japanese poetic tradition. In her introduction, Wakan provides a concise, empathetic history of Japanese poetry that explains how the forms of tanka and haiku are related but differ. It will inform those for whom tanka is new and delight even those who are familiar with it.
Cote’s photographs encapsulate moments of awareness that radiate her affection for her home territory in all its moods and particularity. Together, these photos and tanka, grounded in the here and now, evoke a timeless space.”
Now and Here is an extraordinary ally for stilling the moment. As an editor, Christine Cote has, for years, championed the mixing of media in order to say a bit more. Now, as a co-author, in her welltimed collaboration with Naomi Waken’s poetic expression, we have been gifted a chance to breathe in her personal visual utterances.”
. . . a charming collaboration that goes beyond the here and now . . . a series of conversations, with each pair of works blossoming from a sense of place and offering an escape through the open-ended artistry of their creators. Although the poems and photographs should (and do) speak for themselves, the introductory essays must not be ignored, as they provide a framework for the photos (and context for the tanka). Just as tanka can pivot from their beginnings, you can let this book transmit you to other times and other places.