Friday, January 21, 2011

Fifty-Seven Damn Good Haiku

One must start from the beginning and simply say: the anthology Fifty-Seven Damn Good Haiku (by a Bunch of Our Friends) contains no poems about parsnips.

It's important to be clear from the first.

That being said Fifty-Seven, edited by Michael Dylan Welch and Alan Summers, does contain many a damn fine haiku.  Published by Press Here, out of Sammamish, Washington, there are many strong voices here and lots to ponder.

Here's a haiku that slips past you as fast as time itself:

a cloud across the sun
and suddenly
I am old
Helen Russell

A poem about child-rearing, poignant, that manages to be large enough to simultaneously contain a big lie and the biggest truth of all:

and so I agree
not to die before she does—
the sound of crickets
Susan Antolin

Two nifty ku by David Serjeant:

art gallery:
a toddler stoops
to watch a spider
David Serjeant

As truthful as this one is, the next is deeply touching:

autumn sunset
the baby scar
my mother loved
David Serjeant

From this brief selection, a poem that captures the essence of last things:

cottonwood rattle—
the wordlessness
of his final days
Deborah P. Kolodji

Fifty-Seven Damn Good Haiku contains 53 more modern haiku to roll about in the palm of the mind, looking for questions, wondering about answers, and contemplating that ultimate subject of subjects.

Here's my contribution, just in case next time the editors are looking for parsnips ...

A few random hairs
on his bulbous nose -
boiling parsnips

Fifty-Seven Damn Good Haiku (by a Bunch of Our Friends) may be purchased here for $7.00, £6.00, or 7.00 €.

(In his generous extensive comment to this post, co-editor Alan Summers shared some more of his favorite haiku from this collection and appended order info.  Thanks, Alan)


This week's featured poem comes from Lilliput Review #133, an issue which has popped up in blog posts here and here.

walking home
after his death touching
Bruce Roxburgh

the village child
clutching the willow
sound asleep
translated by David G. Lanoue


Go to the LitRock web site for a list of all 86 songs
Hear all 86 at once on the the LitRock Jukebox


womanimal said...

That one about the toddler in the gallery is perfect: sly, poigniant, quiet. Love it.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Hey, né, yes, that one is particularly striking -

I'm always amazed at the library how little kids will focus in so intently on the stuff adults completely ignore ...

That's the focus zen etc. is trying to get back to, at least in part ...

Area 17 said...

Dave Serjeant has another haiku I chose which remains of my favourite anthology poems. I won't spoil the surprise, you'll have to consider ordering the book!

Other favourites are this from Keiko Izawa (Japan):

harvest moon . . .
no regrets over the don’t
I dared to do

And from the other anthologised poets:

Karen Hoy (U.K.)

a new month—
different seeds
on the spaniel’s ears

There's an absolute killer haiku from Karen that women in particular have loved, and bought the haiku as extra-long T-shirts and coffee mugs too, but I just can't spoil the surprise here. ;-)

Helen Russell

fine rain
his careful words
prior to hanging up

Susan Antolin

tomato seedlings—
my young daughter
shows me her muscles

Caleb Mutua (Nairobi, Africa)

waiting room—
a kid sketches a happy face
on his palm

Dejah Léger

reddening apples—
my newborn tries to suckle
the orchard air

Alison Williams (U.K.)

spring dusk—
the neighbour’s vacuum cleaning
ends with a sigh

Deborah P Kolodji

morning tidepools
a hermit crab tries on
the bottle cap

Tanya McDonald

we leave the mistletoe up
a little longer

Timothy Collinson (U.K.)

in the full moonlight
counting laps in stars

Susan Constable

first star
a fishing boat anchored
to the night

You will absolutely fall in love with Dave Serjeant's haiku, and I only wish I had room to squeeze in a couple more. ;-)



Please do visit my blog and make a comment and see what Carmen Sterba did to wish us luck at the U.S. launch! ;-)

Alan's blog:
Fifty-Seven Damn Good Haiku weblink


Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Thanks very much for sharing so many more fine haiku from this collection and the order info. I've noted your comment in the body of the post with order info for those who don't read comments (blogger buries them sometimes, too). Great job on the book, Alan, and thanks for your generosity.


Dave Serjeant said...

Thank you everyone - you're too kind!

I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy.

Area 17 said...

Dave, bear, and myself, we'll all looking forward to seeing the book in print.

Hopefully next month everyone will get their copies. ;-)


Dave Serjeant said...


Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Alan and Dave, thank you again ... for the work and your dedication.