Savinas anthology is a remarkable project. Biblical
in scope, size, and heft, the volume contains haiku by 186
poets from 50 countries, typically 10 by each, totaling
about twice as many as in William Higginsons Haiku
World and comparable only to André Duhaimes
Haïku sans frontières among international
compendia. Savina says that it took her four years to assemble
the book. It is particularly welcome to have a sampling
from Greek haikuists (22 from Greece and 4 more from Cyprus)
who, except for the editor herself, were unknown to us.
Most of the Greek verses presented here display a close
kinship to Western poetics in their lavish use of tropes
mostly avoided by English-language haiku poets these days.
Two of the better ones:
walking beside me
you and the rain
but the olive trees I planted
there are two problems with the book, which together may
be near fatal for American and British consumers. First,
all poems and other materials (including an essay of Sonô
Uchidas from 1993) are translated into Greekfine.
But Savina apparently relies on intermediate sources for
her contents, all of which appear in either English, French,
Spanish, Italian, or (occasionally) German, Polish, and
Portuguesein random fashionwith sometimes comical,
sometimes very non-PC results. Eight poets represent the
United States: Lee Gurga, Penny Harter, Higginson, Lenard
D. Moore, David Elliott, and Elizabeth Searle Lamb, plus
two others, Eugenio Florit and José M. Oxholm, who
write in Spanish. All poems of Florit, Oxholm, Lamb, and
Higginson and three of Harters are presented in Spanish.
Of the eight German-language poets included, the "original"
haiku of four are in French and three others in English.
All the Flemish Belgians are represented by French texts.
Poets from Croatia, Japan, Romania, "F.Y.R.O.M."
(the Greek term for Macedonia), Finland, Brittany, etc.
are deprived of their tongues. The second problem is that
the English in the book is a tangle of typosa common
enough problem in books from Eastern Europe but out of control
here. One wishes that Savina and her team had taken one
more year to track down haiku in their original languages
and to have a bit of proofreading done.