Steve Sanfield
& John Brandi


No Other Business Here

A Haiku Correspondence

104 pages

5 1/2 x7 inches

ISBN: 1-888809-17-5







No Other Business Here is the first major collection of the short poems exchanged between John Brandi and Steve Sanfield, two poets deeply situated in their respective geographies: New Mexico’s Rio Grande and California’s Sierra Nevadas. These plaintive, often whimsical three-liners are full of chuckles and wake-ups. Originally penned on scraps, postcards, in margins of personal correspondences, even scribbled inside passports during world travels, these missives record moments of spark, fleeting essences of a transitory world, unavoidable folly revealing truths at the core of slapstick stumbles. Nothing sacred here! These poets write to stay alive, to see where they’ve been, to give clearing for the next step.

The two ardent deepfellows authoring this book, and commingling their sensoriums into a single ‘mutually arising’ one, watch smoke move through a spider web, speculate on sea lions mating and pen the vivid, humdrum activities that make our lives adventurous. Brandi and Sanfield are pioneers of the American haiku. Read these poems only for pleasure.

— Michael McClure


Nature, awareness, the absurd, the mundane, all have their nano-moments here. Deceptively simple, these small poems are to be tasted slowly and will be enjoyed for their irreverence and wit.

— Shambhala Sun


Steve Sanfield, award-winning author, poet, and professional storyteller, became the first full-time Storyteller-in-Residence in the United States in 1977 under the sponsorship of the California Arts Council. Since then he has continued to perform, lecture, and conduct workshops at hundreds of major festivals, conferences, schools, universities, and community centers throughout North America. Mr. Sanfield is the author of more than 24 books of poetry and folklore. His collection of Afro-American slave-trickster stories, The Adventures of High John the Conqueror, was selected as a Notable Book of the Year by the American Library Association, the Children’s Book Council, and the National Council for Social Studies. It was also named as a Young Adults’ Choice for 1991 by the International Reading Association and is now part of the Basic Elementary School Collection. Mr. Sanfield is the founder and Artistic Director of the highly successful Sierra Storytelling Festival and the Sierra Storytelling Institute, held each July in the foothills outside of Nevada City. He was the first recipient of the Pacific Region Leadership Award from the National Storytelling Association and was recently selected to received the 2001 National Storytelling Network Circle of Excellence Award. As a poet he is well known for pioneering an idiosyncratic style of haiku which he calls “hoops”. He has published numerous collections. He lives in the Sierra Nevadas of California.


Born: 1943, Los Angeles. Graduated from the University of California at Northridge, 1965. Joined the Peace Corps, moved to highland Ecuador, helped organize Quechua families in their struggle for civil liberties and land rights. In South America, began publishing his poetry via the freshly-blooming “mimeo revolution,” predecessor to the small press movement. Upon return from the Peace Corps,  lived in Alaska, Mexico, and finally New Mexico, his home for more than thirty years. Subsequent travels: through the American Southwest to Alaska’s Arctic desert, the Nepal Himalayas, India, Ladakh, Thailand, Laos, the Indonesian archipelago, Bali, Mexico, and Viet Nam. Since 1973, he has worked as an itinerant poet in schools, prisons, homes for elderly, and centers for at-risk youth—via numerous residency awards from state arts councils in Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, the Navajo Nation, and sub-arctic Yupik communities. Brandi’s many publications include: poetry, travel vignettes, essays, modern American haiku, translations of contemporary Mexican poetry, hand-colored broadsides, and limited-edition letterpress books. Simultaneous with U.S. publication, his books have appeared from publishers in India and Kathmandu; his poems in newspapers and journals in Italy, France, England, Switzerland, India, and Mexico. He has given innumerable readings in the U.S., and has been invited to read in Paris, Mexico, and Indonesia. Painter and collage master as well as poet, his solo exhibits include galleries in Houston, San Francisco, Rochester, Milwaukee, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe. Among his honors: a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry, a Witter Bynner Translation Award, a Djerassi Foundation Residency, the Just Buffalo Writers Award, the Portland State University Poetry Prize, and several N.E.A. awards to publish poetry, 1975-1988, as founder/editor of Tooth of Time Books. His books include: Heartbeat Geography: Selected and Uncollected Poems, 1966-1994; A Question of Journey; Visits to the City of Light; Weeding the Cosmos: Selected Haiku; and Reflections in the Lizard’s Eye; and most recently In What Disappears (White Pine Press). John Brandi lives in El Rito,New Mexico. He teaches poetry as a member of the summer faculty at Idyllwild Arts, California.