Posts Tagged ‘Shirley Brooks’

Edited by Randy and Shirley Brooks.

Thanks to Brooks Books.

Published twice yearly, Mayfly typically has 16 numbered pages, one haiku each except for pages 1 and 2. As the highest-paying market explicitly for single haiku that I know of in English, it certainly gets my attention, and I have to say that over the years, pound for pound, Mayfly is the top haiku magazine around in English.

For delicate nuance and utter (apparent) simplicity it’s hard to beat the haiku that opens this issue:

sunlit pond—
the echo
of each tadpole

Stanford M. Forrester (3)

It’s one of the more amusing facts of our present haiku community in North America that this poet also edits a very, very different sort of haiku magazine, Bottle Rockets, which will soon be written up in one of these posts. (Somehow, I seriously doubt that the Brooks’s took Forrester’s editorial work into consideration when selecting this haiku to open their issue. The poem has plenty of legs to stand on by itself, no pun intended, much!)

As with all haiku magazines, there are occasional poems in Mayfly that I don’t “get”—in this particular issue there is one:

helping her to clear
our daughter’s party—
stay for tea, she says

John Kinory (9)

I suppose this may speak about a divorced couple, but the grammatical confusion trumps my willingness to prolong a visit with this poem. I have to believe that the poet does not intend “she” as the subject of the verb “helping”—but I cannot help hearing it that way, which reduces the poem to nonsense. Or does the poet refer in the opening line to an unnamed fourth party, as either the “helping” person (otherwise invisible) or the one being helped? Maybe the implied “I” of “our” is the one “helping”?—this is what suggests a divorced couple to me—a solution to the puzzle I might not have thought of had I not experienced what may have been a similar situation myself, many years ago. But, grammatically speaking, I can’t tell, and give up. Ambiguity in haiku may be useful, but this kind of grammatical confusion is usually not.

Anyway, there are more really good, unconfusing haiku here, as in every issue of Mayfly I’ve perused. Try this one:

at the beauty shop
snip, snip

Del Todey Turner (11)

Hard to beat for economy of language and sharpness of wit. (A senryu, not a haiku, of course, but that’s another story.)

Each poet in Mayfly is identified as to home city and state or country, a feature I’ve omitted here, but the reader soon discovers that poets from a wide geography get into its pages, which invariably contain work by people whose names are new to me.

At my age, the issues of Mayfly seem to come up pretty quickly one after another. But even so, I eagerly await the next, to see what crème de la crème of our haiku world the Brooks’s have found in their mailbox over the preceding several months. As with any magazine, I do not suggest sending submissions without reading an issue, and certainly following the submission guidelines they publish there.

If you’d like to get a complete issue—two of them, actually—subscribe:

“One year subscription is $8 [US].”

Brooks Books
3720 N. Woodridge Dr.
Decatur, IL 62526

More on their web site: http://brooksbookshaiku.com/.



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