Title: Couplets the World Has Left Behind/Author: Walis Nokan/Publisher: Prague Books
Published just two months ago and many years after the author’s last collection, Walis Nokan’s Couplets the World Has Left Behind has already required a second printing. Since collections of poetry typically achieve sales of only about 500 copies, that’s an impressive achievement.
A teacher, poet and essayist, Walis has been writing for three decades. But who still reads poetry in this era when literary culture is on the decline? Walis believes that although the lanterns of literature may be running low on fuel, language and literature have a life of their own. This volume of poetry demonstrates the unique path he has chosen in his life and in his writing.
A hardcover collection, the book has only a single couplet of poetry per page. The remaining space is left blank, giving the printed word ample space around it to breathe—and thus encouraging deep thought on the part of the reader. Poetry returns to its most primal state, where it murmurs, issues deep moans, and explores the realm of fantasy. With extremely refined language, it fashions questions one character at a time, which reverberate amid the empty spaces of the page.
Revolving. Dying out in
Spirit. A new beginning
The train of thought is still circling. Flip to another page, where the sounds of moving water transform into the echo of a bullet fired through the air—a bullet emerging from the laments of that very same poet:
Please call a halt to hostilities
I used to be such a quiet beast
—“A Bullet Shoots”