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A Work of Love by Tom Clausen, Tiny Poems Press Chapbook Winner 1997.The booklets of the winners of the chapbook contest are 5.5 x 4.25 inches, staple bound, and available for $3.00 ppd each, or $10 for the set of four postpaid. Hint: go for the whole series. They are truly worth every cent. Order from Tiny Poems Press, 170 Elm Street, Enfield, CT 06082.Here, an existing language has been chosen by Tom Clausen to enlarge and explain certain spiritual spaces in which a privileged reader can participate. There is, like always, a price for such an experience – the reader somehow has to give up conventional linear thinking and instead has to give into physical and psychic areas where Clausen is not only at home but through several years of hard work also developed his own way of composing 5-liners.Tom Clausen has the advantage to work as a librarian, which means, he enjoys having constant access to world-literature. With this far reaching education he paved his way into the haiku/tanka/haibun-scene. Now, with Lynx also on-line, his work occurs in circles spreading into another body of resonance. With this latest composition of forty tanka, A Work of Love, Clausen offers new ways to refer to daily life at a level where the poetical language meets and surpasses the demanding situations we all often would like to stay away from. Well, with his booklet in a small pocket you may sit in a rowboat at dawn. You are on a trip while already having in mind to go diving; the element you’ll chose is the fluid one. Preparing yourself, there is some spare time ahead of you to be filled with something important, right? What’s available to be read? Perhaps Clausen’s tanka? Here are only three of the works of love: 

the envelope to me
sealed carefully with tape
on every seam
when opened, reveals
absolutely nothing

for over a decade
we’ve talked –
still you want our talk
as much as I want
the silences between

tolerably melancholy
to sit here while the kids play
and be lost in myself –
on a path nearby
she walks in the sun

Books Review Copyright © Jane Reichhold 1997.