A Swallow Press Book

Of Pen and Ink and Paper Scraps — 1989

By Lucien Stryk

“The moral grandeur of Lucien Stryk’s poetry emerges specifically from his ability to reveal, to accept, and to forgive… even the darker edges of human experience, because to do so is to awaken to, and to be fully aware of, our own most profound humanity…that is akin to Whitman’s assertion nothing human is alien to me.”

A. Poulin, Jr. — Contemporary American Poetry

The first of this new collection’s three parts ranges very widely, from poems of childhood-his own, his children’s, and his grandchild’s-to poems of keen social and political awareness, and on to pieces about his neighbors, about growing more firmly and deeply into a personal place.

The collection’s second part, devoted completely to the poet’s favorite of all the great haiku poets of Japan, Issa, “Issa: A Suite of Haiku,” is made up of 72 freshly translated pieces by one of haiku’s “great four” (the others being Basho, Buson, and Shiki -- all of whom Lucien Stryk has translated).

The collection’s third part begins with some poems about painting and sculpture, then begins to “travel” to Italy, England, and Sweden. This volume of poetry is yet another demonstration of what Library Journal declared upon publication of Stryk’s Collected Poems: 1953-1983: “This collection affirms Stryk as one of our best poets working in America today.”


Lucien Stryk is the prize–winning author and editor of more than two dozen volumes of poetry, translations, and edited collections.

Cover of 'Of Pen and Ink and Paper Scraps'