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Volume 35.1
Spring 2004

 

book review:

Just Enough Light: Haiku and Tanka
by June Moreau

 

reviewed by Pamela Miller Ness

Just Enough Light: Haiku and Tanka, by June Moreau (Saint Martin de Castillon, France: Koyama Press, 2000). 36 pages, 13 x 10, hand bound and sewn. $15.00 plus $7.00 airmail postage from Giselle Maya, Koyama Press, 84750 Saint Martin de Castillon, France or <giselle.maya@wanadoo.fr>.

Just Enough Light is another beautifully crafted limited edition produced by Giselle Maya’s Koyama Press. This oversize book is a visual delight—the flecked interior papers hand-tied with linen thread to a cream cover of heavily textured handmade paper. Lithographs by Louis Fulconis and Aisha and calligraphy by Shunkei Yahagi complement the poems. The generous spacing of June Moreau’s thirty-four haiku and twelve tanka one to three per page allows the reader to enter and savor each poem on its own. Moreau is a poet who observes with care, treads lightly, and seeks solace in the natural world. Even the less interesting poems are fine examples of shasei (sketch from life):

winter solstice
in a bush with red berries
a cardinal

At their best, however, Moreau’s haiku subtly demonstrate the aesthetic characteristics of the Japanese classical masters:

sabi (beauty tinged with loneliness)

after the tea ceremony
the deep purple
of the morning glory

wabi (austerity):

almost winter
just enough warmth in the barn
for a cricket to sing

and yûgen (mystery):

summer ending
only the scarecrow knows
how many stars there are

Above all, June Moreau’s haiku capture the interconnectedness of human beings and the natural world with deep reverence, lightness of touch, and sureness of language.

 

 

©2004 Modern Haiku • PO Box 68 • Lincoln, IL 62656