Alan Casline

From the book:

In the early 1970's on field trips with Bill Romey, geology professor at St. Lawrence University, I discussed the location and nature of the oldest rock known to exist on earth. These conversations were turned to poetic purpose, as I turned my orientation from the ocean to the lava ridge lines that centered the islands during my 1974 time living in Honolulu. The poem, "Lines from a Hawaiian Creation Chant," appeared in    Mountains Dance on Tiny Feet (1975). This poem looked at oldest and elder forms as a search in sensation as well as in knowledge,  you are fragile, hand and eye. What has struck me in the question of who wrote the I Ching is the situation having similarities to a search for eldest born of rocks:

                             you must seek the oldest rock
                                 that can be found and shatter
                                 the form
                             and then peer inside
                             for only within
                             these are found
                             as fragment
                             the elder born

                                   from Lines from a Hawaiian Creation Chant

In each reading of the I Ching, you are reading the oldest text within layers and layers of additions, structures, and creations. You are reading the oldest forms as fragments in other old forms. Authors of the oldest forms are "lost forever in the mists of time", but the later traditions in some cases are clearer.
For more than thirty years I have been working on a book of poems titled 64 Changes. The I Ching has been the constant companion and inspiration for this work. I have used various translations. Having lost, found, lived without, bought again my preferred Wilhelm/Baynes version. Had I not discovered the language of the yellow cover Carl Jung introduced beautifully layered text by Wilhelm/Baynes and through it a world of thought and image where the telling does lead to fortune, then the poetry of 64 Changes would have never been written. My method has been to approach the book with a question. Usually: How do I proceed from here?  Then, both observing outwardly and inwardly sensing, throw the coins to create a hexagram or one hexagram changing to the next. The poem could be written in the first flash or develop over a few days as events and understanding grew.



Down the long rows

planter dances

places seeds

in early morning

singing the song

of untiring earth.




The open window reveals the steam.

On earth is water,

which fills all the empty places

& clings fast to the soil.

Human society a community

Of interests, a whole

Organic fellowship.

The farm receives rain.

Heaven waters the thirsty stock

Replenishes the fish pond.


Alan Casline has been a poet, editor, and a small press publisher for 40 years. He has published a number of collections of poetry, and has broad interests including watershed wisdom, folklife, natural history, sustainability and local poetry. He is the editor of Normanskill, a watershed anthology from the Normanskill watershed in New York State, and is the editor of Rootdrinker, a long standing magazine of watershed poetics, art and nonfiction.  As Director of Rootdrinker Institute, his efforts include running open mics and special gatherings for poets, producing the RD Newsletter and using Benevolent Bird Press to publish the work of fellow writers and artists.   He is co-founder and on-going chronicler of The Cloudburst Council, an annual poetics gathering held in the Finger Lakes watershed. He has planted thousands of trees on land he regularly visits in St. Lawrence County, New York. He lives with his wife, Jennifer Pearce, in a suburban neighborhood outside of Albany, New York.

64 Changes
is a 104 page hand-stitched paperbook with spine.   $16.00

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