Saturday, November 2, 2013

apology moon: Cherie Hunter Day - Small Press Friday (the Saturday Edition)

Reading is, in a sense, a communion with self.

Cherie Hunter Day is a fine tanka and haiku poet whose work I always enjoy reading precisely because I find myself going inward to search out both completion and meaning: completion of the work at hand, as some of the finest haiku let a reader's experience temper the direction of the work, and meaning, in the looking inward sense, where a spark is set off by the friction of haiku's traditionally disparate elements.  

Her new collection, apology moon, from red moon press, is contemplative in the best senses of the word, as in searching, understanding, and revealing.

The first poem is a moment perfectly realized, grammatically
looking up
rules of punctuation —
green hills

and otherwise. This is truly a poem the reader completes. At first, it seems as though it might be a glib, throwaway image, but the longer one thinks, the deeper one goes.

There are other rules beyond grammar.

two parts doubt
one part moon

We've all had this experience, at least those who have a conscience, and perhaps even those who don't. Though the phrasing is so precise as to be almost aphoristic, ultimately what emanates from these lines is truth, truth and nature.

azaleas as afterthought as afterword

What might this be about, eh? Again, there is almost a glibness here. In addition, I had to go back and read the last word more than once because I found myself saying in my mind "afterwards." The persistence of this mistake is, I think, significant, adding a possible 6th word to a 5 word poem that has something of a short story quality about it.

And something more.

cranial sutures
the continents no longer
fit together

Telescoping is one of the most effective techniques the purveyor of the brief form can use - from the particular to the universal, 3/5ths of a mile in 10 seconds. There is an ominous quality on both levels, or threads, of this ku, and, in a sense, a soothing one, too.

before us the wind inside milkweed

Before can mean so many things, can it not? And, yes, there might be another touch of telescoping here because, with the wind and the milkweed, there might just be a sort of chicken and the egg conundrum.

And then there is the literal - what the wind does with seed pods.  

middle age I believe the azaleas pink lies

Might this not be chapter two, or part two, of the "short story" noted above? I can imagine that, somewhere between afterthought and afterword (and right around afterwards), is the middle age revelation of deceit. 

But surely this is a reader bringing her interpretation? What has this to do with these poems? 

Completion, perhaps.

red woods —
the tour bus
waits for us

Time has put its stamp all over this poem - take away for the tourist is revelation ... if you want it.

hot flash
all of the lily pads

If you've never had a hot flash, boyfriend, certainly you could pass on this. But if you have, you know truth.

salt wind ripples on an inner lake

Here is dovetailing or telescoping or whatever you want to label it, used to perfection to illustrate, among other things (i.e. like its point), the relevance and power of the monostitch as an important contemporary form.

my son's cello —
red leaves in the wind 

There are so many possibilities in this particular ku I'll leave it to you, reader, to finish it as you will.

red moon press continues to put out some of the most outstanding volumes of haiku being published today. Grab a copy of apology moon, a little small press gem. It will light up your autumn evening sky.


 Artwork by Kōrin Ogata

spring rain--
thatched with azaleas
the doghouse 
translated by David G. Lanoue


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Patrick Sweeney said...

My hands trembled reading these perfect this is how good the form can be...


Cherie Hunter Day said...


Thank you. Your praise is indeed an honor, Sir.

I'm a big fan of your haiku.


Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Hats off to you, both ... Don