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Volume 33.2
Summer 2002

book review

Khaïkou: "ta filla sto dentro ksana"—Pagkosmia Anthologia
Haiku: "the leaves are back on the tree"—International Anthology

edited by Zoe Savina


reviewed by Charles Trumbull

Khaïkou: "ta filla sto dentro ksana"—Pagkosmia Anthologia / Haiku: "the leaves are back on the tree"—International Anthology, general direction by Zoe Savina (Athens: no publisher given, 2002). 468 pages, paper, perfectbound, 6.25 x 9.25. No ISBN. No price given; inquire of Zoe Savina, Hydras 17, Pallini, 153 44 Attikis, Greece.


Zoe Savina’s 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 Higginson’s Haiku World and comparable only to André Duhaime’s 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:

beautiful sounds!
walking beside me
you and the rain

Zoe Savina


I shall depart
but the olive trees I planted
will remain

Argiros Khionis

Unfortunately, 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 Uchida’s from 1993) are translated into Greek—fine. 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 Portuguese—in random fashion—with 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 Harter’s 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 typos—a 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.



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