Edited by LeRoy Gorman.
Comes with membership in Haiku Canada (details below).
Well, thing pile up while you’re distracted, as I have been for the past several months, with work (that brings in the wherewithal to keep going) doing one of the things I most enjoy, working with students and teachers to improve their writing and teaching of writing. Some details about that on Penny’s and my “Events” web site: http://www.2hweb.net/events/.
One of the things piling up is haikai periodicals, of which there are now more than a score to report on—that’s a score of different titles, a lot more than a score of individual issues. So, I’ll take up the most recent issue in a minireview, and create lists of additional issues, so that we can get—I can get—an overview of what’s happening as quickly as possible.
In this context, it’s a delight to report on one of the latest entries in the haiku magazine business, Haiku Canada Review. Not entirely new, HCR is a follow-on from the Haiku Canada Newsletter, which has been issued in pamphlet form for many years. However, last year (2007), editor LeRoy Gorman noted that the newsletter had been going in the direction of becoming a magazine, a “review” (that is, a magazine with not only literary content, i.e., poems, but includes reviews and articles on topics related to its literary content). He asked if he could not move it all the way over into the review style of publication it was becoming, and the Haiku Canada membership agreed at last May’s HC Weekend in Ottawa. At the same time, Marco Fraticelli became the editor of an e-mailed HC newsletter, which goes out to members as he accumulates things to report, which has turned out to be every few weeks. Marco’s done a great job with the newly dubbed Haiku Canada Newsflash, turning it into one of the best ways to stay abreast of developments in English- and French-language haiku worldwide. (Hint, hint, you might find it useful to be a member of Haiku Canada just for this e-mail newsletter! Check out the Haiku Canada web site, here: http://www.haikucanada.org/.)
So, to the matter at hand: Haiku Canada Review, 2:1, contains a great mix of poems, mainly haiku/senryu and tanka, haibun, and linked verse, along with a note from the editor on current developments in Haiku Canada, a couple of fine essays (more on them below), pithy book and magazine reviews, and other commentary. (E.g., here again is one of Tom Noyes’s essays on “Two Favorite Haiku”.)
The short poems in English, offered under the heading “Haiku Plus . . .”, include the following, almost at random (I usually strive to include authors’ whose names I’m less familiar with in these quick compilations):
at each intersection
the full moon
izak bouwer (p. 3)
Li Po’s moon
I go to the window
to see for myself
Renée Luria Leopold (6)
back from Paris
at the suitcase rollers
leaves from the boulevard
retour de Paris
aux roulettes de la valise
feuilles du boulevard
Klaus-Dieter Wirth (10)
This last forms a neat segue into the section of haïku en français, under the heading Haïkus du fleuve, réunis par Micheline Beaudry. Some samples:
une mouette s’envole
dans le gris du ciel
Hélène Leclerc (14)
Tout chaud, enrobé
Les cristaux nous effleurant
Barbe à glaçons
Krysztaly nas muskaja
Broda z lisieta
Robert Bilinski (17)
derrière la haie
des rires d’enfants
Martine Hautot (18 )
The second poem above illustrates the fact that while English and French may be the dominant languages of global haiku, many other languages are also involved, and I salute HCR and its editors for sharing poems in several languages with its readers. (Another illustration of the fact that, for all its internal political difficulties, Canada may be more truly welcoming of cosmopolitan influences than some other countries we could name.)
Between the sections of short poems in English and French, we have three quite fine haibun, each with a light touch, though two of them deal with quite serious matters.
And, what makes this a “review” rather than just another haiku magazine: following the poems, a major article by Janick Belleau, translated into English by Dorothy Howard. (The article first appeared in the magazine Haïkaï, in French, December 2006.) In English the title reads “Canadian Haiku Women Pioneers from Sea to Sea (1928–1985)”. The article provides its own overview in the first paragraph, noting that it concludes its survey concurrently with the landmark book Haïku: Anthologie canadienne/Canadian Haiku Anthology, edited by Dorothy Howard and André Duhaime, published in 1985. (I’ll note here my gratitude to the editors for sharing proofs with me as I was putting the finishing touches on my Haiku Handbook, published the same year.) Belleau continues:
We shall see among these women, women who have devoted a good part of their creativity to the writing and publication of haiku, and women who spent great creative energy in haiku promotion through critical studies, journal publications, mentoring and leadership in haiku associations. (20)
The article goes on to feature:
- a poet who published haiku in an award-winning poems in French, including haiku in 1928 (Simone Routier)
- “the first author in English Canada to put out a collection of haiku”, in 1965, a book I remember well for its striking wood-engraving illustrations (Claire Pratt)
- a “haiku theorist” who published The Haiku Form in 1974 (Joan Giroux)
- three poets from Saskatchewan (Catherine M. Buckaway, Mildred A. Rose, and L. Pearl Schuck)
- and poet, essayist, illustrator, and co-founder of the Haiku Society of Canada—now Haiku Canada (Betty Drevniok)
Toward the end of her article, Belleau mentions a number of women whose major activity and influence reach far beyond 1985, right up to a couple of living folks that I might liken to “national treasures” of Canadian haiku, Anna Vakar and Dorothy Howard. For each of these and others unnamed here, Belleau provides brief biographical info and a synopsis of their contributions to the haiku community, in many cases embellished with poems.
As elsewhere today, haiku in Canada is neither a women’s nor a men’s world, but a world richly intertwining the work of both. Perhaps someone else will undertake a similarly instructive survey of men’s contributions to the genre in Canada, but in the meantime, it is very good to be reminded of these leading ladies and their contributions.
But the feast of this issue of HCR does not end here. Next up is an article by Angela Leuck, part II of her essay “Approaching Beauty: Writing Haiku About Flowers”—begun in the previous issue. This piece, subtitled “The Human Connection”, includes examples of her poems making that connection, as here:
watering the daylilies
a woman like my mother—
summer dusk (31)
How gesture, form in motion, can bring us back to the memory-artifacts of our personal history. (Angela’s article is based on a talk she gave at the Haiku Canada Weekend, Ottawa, May 2007. You can read my review of that event here: http://haikai.home.att.net/haiku/haikucanada07/.)
The issue moves forward with three linked poems in a variety of forms, one a solo piece we might call “cut prose”, another classically moving kasen in 36 stanzas, and a rengay, the latter in an experimental format that I’ll leave for HCR readers to discover.
After H. F. Noyes’s brief “Two Favorite Haiku” the issue draws toward a close with book and magazine reviews. After one by yours truly (perhaps to appear here later), we have a review of Abigail Friedman’s The Haiku Apprentice: Memoirs of Writing Poetry in Japan, written by Angela Leuck; she likes it. And, finally, a section titled “Books in Brief”, which actually covers as many magazines as books, and gives a good thumbnail sketch of its subjects. Each provides full physical descriptions and ordering info, then a very brief synopsis. Here’s what the editor—we must assume, these are unsigned—has to say about Roberta Beary’s The Unworn Necklace:
These are haiku of the heart that quietly catch and draw the reader in. It is no surprise, after reading the credits, to learn many of the poems are award winners.
Haiku Canada Review frequently comes with extras. With this issue we have a Haiku Canada Sheet (a simple trifold brochure) with poems by Naomi Beth Wakan, a long-time poet and advocate for haiku, plus a list of the organization’s 200 or so members. If you’re not one of them, click on the “Join Haiku Canada” link on Haiku Canada’s home page, and find out more of what’s going on in the world of haiku, northern perspective: http://www.haikucanada.org/.