Portable Planet: Poems (Leaping Dog Press Book, # 1)

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9781587750007: Portable Planet: Poems (Leaping Dog Press Book, # 1)
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The poems in Portable Planet depict Shaffer's travels around the Pacific Rim: in California, Japan, and Indonesia. From Okinawan hermit crab to America's E stamp to unexpected glories of baldness, lines shine with humor and compassion. The Western Room, the central poem, explores Okinawa with a walking tour of Shuri Castle, once the royal red heart of the Ryukyu Kingdom.

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From the Publisher:

Part ecological manifesto, part travelogue, part playful musings on being foreign and native wherever one is, Eric Paul Shaffer's Portable Planet is a book that will make you laugh, scratch your head in amazement at the author's skill, and above all keep reading. Shaffer is well-schooled in literature, but refuses to write only for academics and other poets. He writes for you and me, poems of accurate observation and ordinary experience, poems that are amusing and profound even when they are not downright funny, which they often are.

From the Author:

The poems in Portable Planet celebrate and examine humans as "inside-outsiders," not only in other countries and cultures, but also on the planet and even within our own families.

As an "inside-outsider" myself, a status I realized most clearly when I lived in Okinawa, Japan, I found this theme appearing in my poetry soon after my arrival; yet recognizing Okinawa as an island always dominated by other distant nations, I felt a kinship with the people and place.

As the site of the bloodiest battle of WWII, Okinawa is where East meets West, and the history of their meeting became part of all of my work there.

Our apartment was within walking distance of Shuri Castle, the heart of the Ryukyu Kingdom, which was completely destroyed in the Battle of Okinawa, since Japanese forces located their headquarters there and in the tunnels below. A few years after we arrived, though, the castle was re-opened, after a complete renovation.

I spent many afternoons writing by the royal pond and wandering the grounds. It was only natural that "The Western Room," the long poem dealing with my changing perspectives in and on Okinawa, took the form of a walking tour of the castle.

The poems of Portable Planet direct our attention to more clearly recognizing our status and circumstances as humans on Earth, and ultimately, and with luck, will help us all feel more at home, wherever we find ourselves.

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