CLARK (Thomas A.), CLARK (Laurie) (Drawings).
Pebbles from a Japanese Garden.

First edition. Oblong 8vo., [23pp], b&w drawings throughout, hand sewn into illustrated paper wraps. One of 200 numbered copies of which the first 26 were signed and 50 were hors de commerce. New York City, Bradford, Topia Press, 1977. 

Wraps a little foxed. 

A small poetry book with delicate drawings that takes a stroll through the details of a Japanese garden imagining the concerns of its gardener. These short prose poems are composed with text gleaned from books on Japanese landscape; the resulting texts retain any awkward translation or mistaken English with the diction given space to become tuneful and fresh. The material feels surprisingly close to a modernist aesthetic, like an Eastern version of Gertrude Stein: 

From time to time, beautiful birds were seen tritting on leaves on the ground with rustling sound.
Wooden steps were sporadically placed in the path where the slope was a little steep in order to prevent the slipping.

Here the diligence of the gardener matches the concerns of the poet: how to arrange for clarity, spontaneity or surprise.  A beautiful early work establishing many concerns that would be expanded in the numerous small books and cards of Thomas A Clark’s Moschatel Press, especially that of a Zen-like attention to the natural world and a sense of spaciousness in poetic form.  

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