I have at least four books by reps, all well-worn. All going back to the late 60’s, early 70’s, when I couldn’t get enough of haiku, “Japanese/Eastern-type” writing, and words that flowed into image. Not that my love of this floating word-world has ever left me…but we go on, move on, as you well know. But if we’re paying close attention at all—we’re called back…look back. Remember. And find ourselves at home again.
Which is the way it is with me and reps. What I admired about him for so long was the mystery. Little to no biography. No photographs. He didn’t seem to be there. Some said he was an American, living in Japan. Others, an Australian, forever on the road—roads mostly leading East. He was really ‘the hand that writes/draws…”
Just that. Nothing more. Go figure. Wonder. Look at what he says.
The work above, “Rain”, appeared in a book: SQUARE SUN SQUARE MOON, A Collection of Sweet Sour Essays, published in 1967 by that press which always does such beautiful work, Charles E, Tuttle…Vermont and Tokyo.
Yet another book of his was/is BE! New Uses for the Human Instrument. 1971 published by Weatherhill, New York and Tokyo. “Be”, of course, was what the 60’s was all about. Which fit perfectly with the Eastern Way.
And the most beautiful book of all in my reps collection is 10 WAYS TO MEDITATE , Weatherhill, first edition, 1969…”22 of the shock-you-wake-picture poems that, in the words of Aldous Huxley, “will take one further towards the realization of the ancient self-knowledge than all the roaring or pathetic eloquence of generations of philosophers, theologians, and moralists.”
Further wonders of this rare and beautiful book: “1 sandpaper bookmark for do-it-yourself finishing of the Philippine-mahogany biding boards—designed, printed, and bound by hand in Japan.” Just imagine. A book with wooden covers, which I hold now in my hands. How beautiful. (It sold for $3.95.)
There’s more known about reps now (Paul Reps), easily discovered on the web.
But I prefer the mystery…his words blossoming into images.–norbert blei