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Volume 33.2
Summer 2002

book review

Vermilion Falling: Haiku & Senryu

William Scott Galasso


reviewed by Marjorie Buettner

Vermilion Falling: Haiku & Senryu, by William Scott Galasso (Issaquah, Wash.: Galwin Press, 1994). 48 pages, paper. $7.00 postpaid from the author at 10129 NW 113th Place, Kirkland, WA 98033.


Sifting through cedars
moonlight and campfire smoke
story telling time

The essence of senryu can be defined as a type of storytelling time that occurs around a campfire; haiku, on the other hand, is the smoke of the fire and the scent of burning wood. In Vermilion Falling, William Scott Galasso invites the reader (with his haiku and senryu) to listen to his stories while taking in the scent of cedar and campfire smoke; the telling of these stories is laced with humor, sadness, and a heartfelt appreciation of beauty.

We are a captive audience appreciating the quiet eloquence of his poetry:

Watching the geese
the old woman thinks
a long journey

The reader can visualize with immediate attention the portrait Galasso's haiku paints:

Filling my footsteps
a million sun-caught grains
sand washed by waves

Even if some verbs (such as "embroider" and "untethered") seem more metaphorical than necessary, the results are evocative:

Finding their stride
colts embroider the pasture
with unshod hooves

Untethered by wind
vermilion leaves pirouette
the cat's whirling eye

Galasso shows a fine receptivity to his environment. With an economy of words and a depth of image-impressions, the talent of this poet shows through:

First the horse
then the sound of hooves
swallowed by mist

Meteor shower
so many wishes
falling to earth

My wish is that I would have found this collection of haiku and senryu by William Scott Galasso sooner than I did. Why not share its storytelling wealth with a friend?



©2002 Modern Haiku • PO Box 68 • Lincoln, IL 62656