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Cerise Press features Ko Un's "Flowers of a Moment"

Ko Un's Flowers of a Moment is currently being featured in the Summer 2012 issue of Ceries Press, in an essay by Melissa Kwasny entitled "The Flower Artist." Ko Un In her essay, Kwasny explores the nature and identity of the flower in and as art, referencing a diverse canon of floral study that includes Charles Baudelaire, the German mystic poet Novalis, Morris Graves, Piet Mondrian, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, and BOA's own poets Ko Un and Adonis. Kwasny describes how the flower is a conduit and reflection of human experiences, acting as a point through which we both access and view what Baudelaire describes as "this transitory and fugitive element" of inspiration that we call beauty. Kwasny writes: "The image of the flower, it seems, mediates: between lovers, between the sick and the healthy, between the dead and the alive, and for the human body... The forms of flowers are perhaps the most perfect forms because we recognize in them forces that are already inherent in us." Kwasny references Ko Un's Flowers of a Moment precisely for its focus on these mediating qualities. The "word-flowers" of Ko Un's poetry, she says, bridges worlds of abstraction and representation, leaves us teetering on the edge of dream and reality, and stretches a taut balance between beauty as something seen, and beauty as something intrinsic. Kwasny's quotation of Adonis explains more clearly:
"What is unique about the flower image is that it is both threshold for this experience and form of that experience. What I mean is that at the same time that it exists as a means to contemplation, it also mirrors, in its shape and colors and perhaps fragrance, a specific and age-old path that one might take from unseeing to seeing, from ignorance to revelation, an organic, even alchemical, path that is shared by many cultures who have attempted to come face to face with the soul."
Both Adonis and Kwasny's discussions of the flower image address intriguing ambiguities in the way we interpret flowers, especially related to our strategies of interpretation. The discussion draws an interesting parallel to poetry itself, and in the ambiguous, poignant poetry of Flowers of a Moment, the reflective and inspirational power of both flower and poem is clear. Read Kwasny's complete and very comprehensive essay, "The Flower Artist", here; and don't wait to pick up your own copy of Ko Un's Flowers of a Moment from the BOA Bookstore!

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