Walter K. Lew: Treadwinds: Poems and Intermedia Texts

by Patricia Spears Jones

Lyric and experimental are not words that are usually joined in sentences about a poet’s work, but then few poets are as lyrical or as experimental as Walter K. Lew. This collection deeply affirms poetry’s capacity to re-create language and revisit graphics while tackling some heavy-duty stuff like Korean immigrant culture, American imperialism, modernism’s legacies, and the demands of collaboration, as the text is combined with collages by Lewis Klahr. I had the pleasure of reading from “Two Handfuls of waka for Thelonius Sphere Monk (d. Feb., 1982)” at this year’s Asian American Literary Awards, where Treadwinds was a winner, and it was a great pleasure to recite the following: “Can no more wander / In his stride, slide and wangle . . . Close to the end of / the world anyway: What a difference a / Misterio or Epistrophy?” Somehow I can see Monk nod in agreement.

—Patricia Spears Jones


Treadwinds was published by Wesleyan University Press in June 2002.

experimental poetry
korean culture
Spring 2004
The cover of BOMB 87