Volume 37.1
Spring 2006

haiku book notes



If I Met Basho, edited by W.F. Owen (San Francisco, Calif.: Two Autumns
Press, 2005). 29 pages, 5.25 x 8.5 saddle-stapled. No ISBN. $8.00 plus $1.00 in stamps for postage from HPNC at 303 Holly St, Mill Valley, CA 94941.

The chapbook commemorating the sixteenth installment of the Haiku
Poets of Northern California’s annual reading series features four talented
poets: Patrick Gallagher, Pamela Miller Ness, Laurie W. Stoelting, and Karma
Tenzing Wangchuk. The editor has done a fi ne job of selecting varied work
from each poet, so the reader gets a full taste of the poet’s range. This is a consistently strong series. A selection from each of the four poets:

garden pond after
tadpoles dreaming
about their legs to come

            Patrick Gallagher

all these years
ankle deep
in the other ocean

            Pamela Miller Ness

if I met Basho
I would be older than he
how long this road home

            Laurie W. Stoelting

beads of water
on the manzanita leaf
      none touch

            Karma Tenzing Wangchuk

Red Rock Yellow Stone, by Edwin Firmage (Salt Lake City, Utah: Firmageditions, 2005). 108 pages, 10.75 x 13.5, perfectbound. ISBN 0-9765693-1-0. $34.95 from Amazon.com

This coffee table book is remarkable for its stunning color photographs
of America’s western national parks — Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, Zion,
Grand Canyon — but those, in combination with more than fifty haiku from
Japanese masters (most translations care of R.H. Blyth, Makoto Ueda, or David Lanoue) and twenty-five haiku from Firmage himself, make this volume
a rare and exciting combination. The photographs themselves vary from the
majestic to the intimate. The relationship between the poems and photographs
is more often than not similar to linking in renku, where each piece stands on
its own, the two disciplines not crowding each other, yet the combination expands beyond the limits of each. Firmage’s own poems fit well, and the reader
can easily sense the awe he feels in our greatest assets:

boulder and sand bar —
all one
to the river

Turn to the Earth, by Peter Yovu. ISBN 1-893823-16-4.

Crumb Moves the Ant, by Geri Barton. ISBN 1-893823-15-6.

Seaside Moon, by Deborah P. Kolodji. ISBN 1-893823-17-2.

Natural Haiku, by Joseph P. McCauley. ISBN 1-893823-18-0.

All Normal, Ill.: Saki Press, 2005. 5.25 x 4.5, saddle-stapled. Available for $5.00 each (plus postage each $0.60 U.S., $0.98 Canada/Mexico, or $2.55 overseas) from Saki Press (checks payable to “Lenore Hutton”), 1021 West Gregory, Normal, IL 61761.

The four winners of the 2004–05 Virgil Hutton Chapbook Contest vary in style as well as poetic maturity. Grand Prize winner Peter Yovu is a mature poet with an experienced sense of line. The seasonal references in Turn to the Earth work well to bring together the poet’s inner and outer experiences:

rain all morning
the privacy
of minnows

Likewise, Crumb Moves the Ant, by Geri Barton, contains a number of strong
poems that speak to our collective daily lives:

these forget-me-nots
turning up
in strange places

The poems in Seaside Moon, by Deborah Kolodji, are for the most part local
to the Southern California area. Her style is more shasei than the previous two
poets, and many work well.

Black’s Beach
red-faced by the location
of her sunburn

The fourth book, Natural Haiku, by Joseph McCauley, is from someone still
new to writing haiku. Many of the poems explain too much and the syntax
often feels forced. The capitalization of all letters is also distracting. I suspect
what made this book move up in the pile are the chapbook’s photographs.


Feel of the Handrail, edited by Yvonne Cabalona and W.F. Owen (Modesto,
Calif.: Leaning Bamboo Press, 2005). 32 pages, 5.25 x 8.5, saddle-stapled. No
ISBN. $7.00 postpaid from Yvonne Cabalona, 709 Auburn Street, Modesto,
CA 95350.

The second collection from California’s Central Valley Haiku Club. Poets include Yvonne Cabalona, Mark Hollingsworth, Claris Moore, W.F. Owen, Lane Parker, Leslie Rose, and June Shook. Many of the poems do what the best haiku should, provide a direct sensory experience that reaches beyond itself as in the title poem:

nursing home
the feel
of the handrail

          Mark Hollingsworth

No Clues, by S.B. Friedman (Greenfi eld, Mass.: Tribe Press, 2005). 2 pages,
15 x 4, letterpress-printed, hand-bound, accordion-folded. No ISBN. $4.00
postpaid from the author at 119 Nevada St., San Francisco, CA 94110.

Number 9 in the Pinch Book Series. Ten poems that cover a wide spectrum of events and emotions.

cold season —
the herbalist gets a taste
of her own medicine

Letters In Time, by Michael McClintock (South Pasadena, Calif.: Hermitage West, 2005). 78 pages, 5.25 x 6.75, perfectbound. ISBN 0-9770259-0-X. $10.00 postpaid from Hermitage West, PO Box 124, South Pasadena, CA 91031.

Subtitled “Sixty Short Poems,” this collection has more tanka than haiku, but, as can be expected from McClintock, both are of the fi nest quality.

each there
for the other
moon and pine

Double Rainbow, by Maeve O’Sullivan and Kim Richardson (Uxbridge, U.K.: Alba Publishing, 2005). 48 pages, 5.75 x 8.25, perfectbound. ISBN 0-9551254-0-5. £8.70 postpaid by International Money Order from the U.S. from Alba Publishing, PO Box 266, Uxbridge, UB9 5NX, U.K.

The two authors divide the book’s ninety-two haiku and senryu into thematic sections. A nice variety of style throughout.

mortgage down-payment
snails on the wet stone steps

          Maeve O’Sullivan

fuchsia bushes
in bees

          Kim Richardson

A Shower of Blossoms, by Elehna de Sousa (Salt Spring Island, B.C.: Rainshadow Books, 2005). 40 pages, 4.25 x 5.5, saddle-stapled. ISBN 0-9738238-0-1. US$11.00 postpaid from the author at 401 Reynolds Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 1Y3.

A charming hand-produced book with small, pasted-in photos that tells in haiku the seasonal changes at the poet’s Salt Spring Island.

another log on the fire—
my fingers fragrant
with balsam sap

Små silhuetter: Haiku antologi, edited by Sys Matthiesen ([Vordingborg,] Denmark: Attika, 2005). 88 pages. 147 x 207 mm, perfectbound. ISBN 87-7528-615-7. No price information; contact Hanne Hansen, Ringstedgade, 1, 3. ter, 2100 Copenhagen 9, Denmark.

This omnibus volume adds a handful of haiku by each of eight authors to a collection of historical and how-to essays. Included, for example, are a translation of the (old) Haiku Society of America definitions of haiku and senryu; “Global Haiku,” Hanne Hansen’s talk at the World Haiku Association Conference in Tenri, Japan, in 2003; and the editor’s survey of the Internet haiku scene.

En orörd sträng: Dag Hammarskjölds liv i haiku och fotografier, by Kaj Falkman
(Stockholm: Ordfront förlag, 2005). 160 pages. 145 x 175 mm, casebound with x 175 mm, casebound with x wrappers. ISBN 91-7037-182-2. SKr 218,— from the publisher at Ordfront förlag, POB 17506, 118 91 Stockholm, Sweden, or <forlaget@ordfront.se>.

Ambassador Falkman has compiled a stunning book of the haiku and photographs of his countryman (and forerunner in the Swedish diplomatic service) Dag Hammarskjöld. Falkman digs deep into the childhood memories and professional travels of the polymath Hammarskjöld, and his explanations of the roots of the haiku are indispensable for an understanding of the writings of one of the first Westerners to use haiku as a journaling device.

Phantasm of Flowers, by Toshio Kimura (London: Stylograph, 2002). 48 pages, 5.75 x 8.5, perfectbound. No ISBN. $12.00 in bills or International Postal Money Order postpaid from the author at 4-31-8 Seijo Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, 157-0066, Japan.

An interesting collection of fifty haiku in English by one of the rising stars of the Gendai Haiku Kyokai (“Modern Haiku Association”). Many of the haiku use keywords in place of the traditional kigo. An interesting new voice.

Meow meow the violin
kicking the moon
and there goes moo



© 2006 Modern Haiku • PO Box 1570 • Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459