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Posts Tagged ‘Snapshot Press’

If you haven’t heard yet, note now that a haiku book, a small haiku book, all things considered, has been named one of two finalists for the extremely prestigious William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.

I won’t go into it all deeply here, except to say that I’ve just sent Roberta and Snapshot Press publisher John Barlow the following message:

Roberta, congrats, congrats, congrats! Obviously, you grabbed [Ron] Silliman’s attention not only with the well-crafted haiku, but with the carefully arranged sequence, their collective portrayal of a genuinely human reality that includes, but is obviously not limited to, what we might call “haiku stuff”. If all haiku books were so carefully crafted, we’d not have to ever make any apologies for our devotion to the genre.

This is obviously the way forward for haiku, in Japan and anywhere else, and your book becomes a guidepost along the way with this notice. Also, a bit of an answer to Paul Muldoon, Billy Collins, and others who would toy with haiku but not really enter what we might call haiku culture.

Brilliant. And brilliant, as Michael [Welch] says, that you took the initiative to enter the book in the PSA contest, for one of the most prestigious prizes in American poetry. Runner-up status here is akin to any ten awards in haiku-land combined, and more, a good deal more.

A low bow,
Bill

Here’s what this year’s PSA judge for the WCW Award has to say about Roberta’s book: http://ronsilliman.blogspot.com/search/label/Roberta Beary.

Glasses raised in a toast to Roberta, John, and Ron Silliman, from the Haikai Pub!

Bill

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Liverpool: Snapshot Press, 2007. Paperback, 80 pages. UK £7.99, US$14, CDN$17.00.
From the press, POBox 132, Waterloo, Liverpool L22 8WZ UK.

With thanks to the author.

Stumbles in Clover is another in the series of very nicely produced haiku collections from Snapshot Press, run by John Barlow. Like others in the series, it features quality design, good paper, a photographic cover, and so on. Straightforwardly, the cover image for Matt Morden’s new book shows a close-up of purple clover, a plant most anyone can related to. I’ll not say here what else is in that cover image.

The 72 poems in Stumbles in Clover, both haiku and senryu, follow one another straight through, one to a page. One of the latter that jumped out at me goes thus:

a colleague’s sigh
arrives before he does
monday morning

As a former government office worker myself, I can relate to this one, a half-wry, half-sympathetic comment on a life shaped, in part, by a co-worker’s sighs.

Morden works the language in some poems in subtle ways that may not immediately reveal their meaning to a casual reader. For example:

death register
nothing fills the silence
as the ink dries

These kinds of unfortunate moments have their own timelessness, and indeed, it is precisely “nothing” that fills such a silence.

Not all the moments captured in Morden’s haiku dwell on such things, however, and some find us in a totally different time-out-of-time, as in this piece:

out of mist
swans glide through
the flooded wood

Sometimes, the language of a particular poem requires a non-global English to appreciate. Here is one that has come into full meaning for me, an American, through some recent involvement with British poetry without which I’d probably have been at a loss, though often cross-referencing a few of the relevant poems in the book will make things clear. (A good dictionary will quickly fix you up, should you need help.) Given that access, I find this one very apt, as well as moving:

winter moon
a pregnant friesian
paces the byre

Morden’s haiku here span a variety of images, situations, and moods. Stumbles in Clover is my idea of a truly fine collection of haiku and senryu.

Bill

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