Gabriele Hartmann bon-say-Verlag

Sand in the clock I am too - Tanka (booklet)

Year of publication: 2021

2021, bon-say-verlag, softcover, wire stitching, 14,8 cm x 14,8 cm, 28 pages, cover outside & inside, front & back (acrylic collage “Wellenspiel” by the author), 22 colored backgrounds (excerpt from the cover) Tanka, ISBN 978-3-945890-37-0, 6 €,
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Further information

Text samples, tables of contents, bibliographical information, sources of supply (not all elements available at the same time)

22 Tanka by Gabriele Hartmann, inspired by woodcuts by Kiyoshi Hasegawa (not shown)


2 reviews!

Review Brigitte ten Brink

Tanka means “short song, short poem,” as it says in the epilogue of this book. What was written here twenty-two times in five lines and a maximum of 31 syllables are small lyrical works of art, life-wise and often a little melancholy. The basis of inspiration was Gabriele Hartmann's woodcuts by the Japanese artist Kiyoshi Hasegawa (1891 to 1980), but they are not shown in the book.
In her “short poems” she now draws her conclusions from the reflections, letting her imagination run wild and creating linguistic “paintings” that give the reader the freedom to set his head in motion and create his own pictures. Gabriele Hartmann gives her visual impression verbal expression, with the recipient, on the other hand, the process is reversed. The results are always heartbreaking. Sometimes optimistic

the human being
between heaven and earth
like that elm
turns green year after year

and sometimes swirled around with a slight sadness.

We threw coins
in the Seine and swore
to come back
but the current took them with it
his kisses and him

The language of their tanka, the rhythm of the words create vibrations when reading, which cast a spell, do not let go and create a deep reverberation. Every tanka forces you to pause, to let what you read have an effect, to absorb it, in order to then recognize the meaning of what has been written in its full extent. It is unlikely how much life there is in these “short poems, short songs”. Yes, these tanka are also songs, songs of love, songs of suffering, a little happiness and what time does with people and with people.

how the rose blooms
and withers, so withers
the time and blooming
like the sand in the clock
I am too - sometimes up, sometimes down

Gabriele Hartmann not only writes, she also paints and photographs and designs her books herself. The cover of the book comes from her acrylic collage "Wave Games". A section from this wonderful color composition is repeated in very delicate pastel tones on each side, creating an optical accent and gently underlining the power of the words.


Review Ruediger Jung

22 Tanka with colored background, issue, 28 pages, 2021 in bon-say-verlag. Gabriele Hartmann, Ober der Jagdwiese 3, 57629 Höchstenbach. (Attention: the artist's book previously offered with illustrations of the woodcuts is no longer available)

... The tanka as a genre of poetry is short and concentrated and, in contrast to the haiku, which suggests, touches something, has that longer breath that lets a mood, an atmosphere swing out. The title of the book is close to that impression of melancholy and vulnerability that has been inscribed in Japanese poetry since its inception; a note of impermanence to go with it:

how lavish
Flowers border at night
in the sake dream
and how they wither
pale in the morning (p. 12)

In an almost biblical manner, the transience of man is also given an at least partially positive attribute - namely, that of balancing justice:

in the shadow of the castle
and we once played church
with the children
of rule and will one day
buried with them there (p. 17)

“Once” - mirror image at the end of the second as well as the penultimate line - could put the trait of finitude into perspective: by being able to establish a connection to both, to the past (line 2) as well as to the future (line 4). In fact, in the texts, the cyclical perception of time takes precedence over the linear one:

the circle closes
of becoming and passing away
again and again
I turn the hourglass over
and listen to the mockery of the thrush (p. 6)

A sleight of hand that "the thrush's mockery" exposes? Not necessarily! In any case, the author remains true to herself by preferring the possible linear conclusion ("first above, then below") to the iterative, cyclical one:

how the rose blooms
and withers, so withers
the time and blooming
like the sand in the clock
I am too - sometimes up, sometimes down (p. 16)

The chiasm of the first three lines has already initiated the uprising, the breaking of the taboo against the thundering power of the hourglass as baroque vanitas: the quiet, tiny "times" demands eternity! A background that makes resilience on p. 18 more tangible:

the human being
between heaven and earth
like that elm
turns green year after year (p. 22)

It is no longer surprising that where calculus, determination has the upper hand, freedom suddenly claims it:

at the end
I knew everyone
Pawn and king
and sang after every glass
her song of freedom (p. 14)

Where the haiku may allow a brittle kiss, a tanka is good for an intimate hug. I did not want to miss the love poems among the Tanka Gabriele Hartmanns - precise and exactly like the other texts:

the universe
in a hat box
I navigate
through a wormhole
my thoughts on you (p. 7)

To read the "wormhole" disrespectfully - in view of minimalism - would be wrong. The small five-line and 31-syllable shape is sufficient to give room for all ambivalence:

I wished
the stars from the sky
brought it down to you ...
it's getting tight
in my snail shell (p. 10)

Rudiger Jung

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