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Volume 36.3
Autumn 2005

book review

El universo en un sombrero
by Norberto de la Torre

reviewed by Ty Hadman

El universo en un sombrero, by Norberto de la Torre (San Luis Potosí, México: Koan Editores, second edition, 2001). 30 pages, 8.25” x 5.5”, paperbound, saddle-stapled.

The chapbook was originally published in 1995. It contains a six-page introduction followed by seven tanka and ends with a selection of forty-eight haiku, all in Spanish. This is not a bilingual edition. Here are two of the haiku (my translations):

Una casa, es
la suma de palabras
y de olvidos.

A house, is
the sum total of words
and the forgotten.

Rueda la luna
y el triste otoño,
como los cardos.

A round moon
and the sad autumn,
like the thistles.

Some of the haiku and tanka in this chapbook overgeneralize, and the third line is often the poet’s conclusion instead of being open-ended for the reader. The chapbook does however contain much light, soft touches, and silent moments that will surely appeal to many readers.


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