Turning My Chair

First published in Woodnotes #31, Autumn 1997, pages 54–55. See the Press Here page for this book.

Turning My Chair by Pat Shelley. Illustrated by the author. Press Here, 1997, 64 pages, paperback, 7 by 10 inches. $16.00 postpaid from Press Here, P.O. Box 4014, Foster City, California, 94404 [address no longer correct]. Press Here’s newest tanka publication is a posthumous collection of poetry by Pat Shelley, a longtime and much-loved member of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society and the Haiku Poets of Northern California, and tanka editor for Woodnotes. The book contains a sumptuous watercolour painting by Pat on the cover, and many more of her illustrations inside. The book presents 90 of Pat’s moving, honest, gracious, and authentic tanka. Patricia Machmiller writes in a biographical sketch at the end of the book that “Zen poems, haiku, and especially tanka matched her aesthetic of a spare delicateness combined with a touch of romance, a keen sense of loss, and a wry humor.” Selections:


Gone all morning

I come home from lunch

and scratch his ears

—my little dog

so happy with so little


You who made us all

must I learn everything

in one brief life?

Couldn’t you arrange that I come back

and learn part of it later?