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Volume 33.1
Winter Spring

book review

Senryu Magazine
by Alan Pizzarelli


reviewed by Jeffrey Winke

Senryu Magazine by Alan Pizzarelli, River Willow Publications, 118 Schley St., Garfield, NJ 07026; 2001, 52 pp., paper, $10


Alan Pizzarelli is a coyote—a gifted trickster.

By all outside appearances, Senryu Magazine looks like a small press periodical. There is a table of contents, numerous authors, award winners, sequences, haibun, translations, book reviews, and a list of books received. The form and format look like a magazine, that is, until reading:

Surgeon General’s Warning:

Senryu Magazine Causes An Interior Convulsion, Producing A Distortion Of The Features And Accompanied By Inarticulate Noises. It Is Infectious And, Though Intermittent, Incurable.

The tongue remains firmly in cheek throughout the whole book. There are senryu by Orin Snurd, Sydell Oglethorpe, Tula Mushnick, Dag Applecore, and Redmond Rosehip. There are the H.R. Blight Memorial Senryu Contest winners. The translated “Battle of Kyushi” sequence by Akira Kazuke which includes:

charging into battle
how annoying
the clatter of swords

There is a small collection of translated Eskimo Hokum by Yuk Patoo. And there is much more, including parodies of some of the “masters” of English-language haiku. It’s not until the acknowledgments on the last page when it is clearly stated that Pizzarelli is responsible for all content within.

Pizzarelli’s book is really quite impressive on a number of fronts. It is fun to read and masterfully produced. The tone is consistent throughout. The senryu range from pure buffoonery to exquisitely executed; but they all seem to work and contribute to the enjoyment of the book. Considering how easy it would be to fail at what Pizzarelli has attempted, it makes it all the more commendable that he succeeds.
A few from my many favorites:

at the animal hospital
a dog-eared copy
of a pet care book


Wearing her
“Worlds Best Mom” T-shirt,
She wallops the whining kid.


on the road
a possum
not playing possum


“Dance, snail dance!
Or you’re escargot!
Shouts the chef




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