Stranger Ken

Today I found myself reminiscing about Ken and about the furtive nature of blogs. Blogger time is different than real life. It’s more ephemeral, unreal. It’s like a dream world come to life. It exists, it has consequences, but it’s not tangible.

The blog ofStranger Ken, titled Dark Sparks, disappeared a few months ago. Suddenly. Apparently for personal reasons. Yet the spirit of his blog is still with me.

Since he deleted the entire blog, my experience of his character and poetry is quickly becoming mythologized.

First, there is the intensity of his blog and user names. Dark Sparks conjures something primal, the spit from the bubbling cauldron, effervescent fireworks. It implies beauty, complexity and change. The name Stranger Ken evokes another edge, a hooded mystery. Stranger in the dark. And ultimately, he was a stranger.

Stranger Ken’s photo further belied this alluring enigma. He looked like a character from Lord of the Rings, a shaman of sorts, perhaps a wizard. The glint in his eye was a resigned stare with a latent sparkle. White hair and beard further obfuscated his interior.

The layout of the blog was a standard Blogger style sheet, but in black. A shadowed cave in which to place his poetry.

His poetry was focused, clean and intense. All his poems were well written, timeless, accessible. His subjects were varied, including animals, a carved box from his time in the far East, a destitute woman in a market, again from the Far East, and the city of London He also wrote poems poem about himself, as an adult and as a child, which outlined a complex, moody soul.

Occasionally he achieved a mythic quality. A simple, detailed description went from the personal to the universal and left you hovering. I often had to read his works several times to hear it more deeply.

Unfortunately I can only remember a poem or two, particularly the one about some kind of hedgehog (what was it?) His words gave resonant depths to the character of the animal he wrote of, gave it a unique life.

His comment strings were filled with relevant discussion of poetry and well deserved praise for his work.

I write about Ken because he made an impression on me. His poems were high quality. He was one of the few male poets to give me any consistent notice. I appreciated that attention. He always gave generous and meaningful comments. His blog etiquette was gentle and honest.

I learned from his poetry. He offered clear explanations of any question about his poem.

I miss Ken. He was a poet through and through. With a living edge. I wish him well.

On a related note, I’ve noticed that most of the poet bloggers I associate with are going through a dry period right now. Syncronicity in a ghost world…

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9 thoughts on “Stranger Ken

  1. lol, it was a badger, and I loved that poem. It was so much deeper than what appeared on the surface. I miss Ken too. I wish he’d start blogging again!

  2. Yes, it was a badger, but he used the British word, brock.

    You are right, it’s easy to slide into mythos of memory thinking about Stranger Ken’s “strange kennings” which I enjoyed very much… Thank you for this, Garnet. I’m another who misses that poet’s companionship and poems.

    (And your own generosity does not go unnoted.)

    No dry spell on my end, simply a tighter schedule. Stop by when you have time.

  3. Via BE.

    This is strange. The first blogger that I ever really linked to was Ken. I lost his link when I stated messing with my template and have been trying to think of the name of his blog for a couple of month and it escaped me. I was whipping through be and saw the darkparks thing here and it immediately hit me.

    He’s gone???

  4. I was just thinking about Ken, wondering if he’s lurking around…I’d like a collection of his poetry. I do love his work.

  5. Cooper, Patry, Tammi- I hope Ken find this thread and hears us. Yes, a book of his poetry would be gladly added to my collection.

  6. Though I didn’t have the opportunity to read Ken’s work, I was just reminiscing about an old biker I happened to sit next to in a bar once in a small town in the middle of the day. Like your experience with and through Ken, my moments with him were crystallized somehow… he was much older than me, and invited me to talk through his life with him that afternoon. I think he taught me more than most people I know for years… and I’ll likely never see him again. These chance, brief encounters can be the most poignant — is that because they’re intended to, or because we create a mythological drama to cope with a sudden exit?

  7. Good question, Liz. I feel the answer may involve both. The brevity allows for a certain purity of experience, which is then more easily mythologized.

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