Posts Tagged ‘quatrains’

New York: a hoopoebird book, 2007 (Kishlev 5768).

With thanks to the author.

Penny and I get to meet some pretty interesting and often endearing people in this haiku business. One of our recent acquaintances, through the New York group of the Haiku Society of America, is Miriam Chaikin. Miriam comes to some of the New York area meetings we also try to attend, and often we enjoy a bit of conversation, a poem she shares, and so on, as we do with many folks there. So I was pleased when she offered us a copy of her recently published small collection, and knew I’d find some poems of interest in it.

This is a modest chapbook of only 25+ unnumbered pages, with an assortment of haiku, tanka, and a number of very haiku-like poems–I’d call them haiku as well, many of them–in four lines, two to a page, so 50+ poems altogether. (Miriam may not be aware of a couple of British poets who favor a four-line mode for their haiku, but she, like them, has some very effective poems in that mode.)

What I didn’t know was what a fine poet Miriam can be in the tanka mode. Several of her tanka remind me very much of the intimate, and often deeply moving, tanka of Sanford Goldstein and Michael McClintock. Some of her poems immediately reminded me of Michael’s Man with No Face, in particular. Here are a couple from Miriam’s present collection for your enjoyment:

i would have been
better off
as someone else
but here I am
as me

it’s not so much
that i loved him
it’s that
i liked myself more
when i did

This is a modest, unassuming collection by a modest, unassuming poet. If you’d like a copy of this booklet, comment here and I’ll find out if she still has any. Though I believe she’s offering them for free, I’d plan to pay $1 or so to cover stamp and envelope.



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