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This post consists of a listing that will eventually include all the issues of Haiku Canada Review in my collection, most recent at the top. For a post that describes a particular issue, please see my review of issue 2:1. Links to other individual issues will be added to the table as they appear in the blog.

Bill

Issue Number Date Notes
2:1 February 2008 Includes name and address listing of some 200 members, plus Haiku Canada Sheet by Naomi Beth Wakan. Reviewed.
1:2 October 2007 Includes Haiku Canada Sheets by Marianne Bluger and members of Haiku Deer Park.
Issue Number Date Notes
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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):

city cab—
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:

première neige
une mouette s’envole
dans le gris du ciel

Hélène Leclerc (14)

Tout chaud, enrobé
Les cristaux nous effleurant
Barbe à glaçons
Czeply, okryt
Krysztaly nas muskaja
Broda z lisieta

Robert Bilinski (17)

Soir d’Avril
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/.

Bill

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Aurora Antonovič, Editor-in-Chief.

With thanks to the editors/publishers.

This first issue of what promises to be a semiannual journal contains an interview with recent-past U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky (held office 1997–2000); a brief review of Pinsky’s most recent poetry collection by Antonovič; six pages of poems headed “Free Verse and Form” (22 poems); ten pages of short stories, including a “Special Feature” (5 stories); two pages of haiku and senryu (15) and three of tanka (18); a brief essay on writing; and four pages of contributors’ bios. A table of contents at the front is followed by a brief letter from Antonovič that speaks of the magazine’s beginnings and its related web site, and submission guidelines take up the final page.

The covers, outside and inside, feature the same single photograph, a striking snowscape from Mont Blanc, and the 8.5×11″ format allows for ample room on the pages for the content. One could wish that the designer understood how to number pages—the first numbered page, called “1”, is actually page 2, making for confusion as odd numbers appear on left-hand pages—but that is a small gaff for the first issue of a seriously intended journal that begins as the child of a web site, an environment where one doesn’t have to worry about page numbers.

A few poems, more or less at random:

Mission to Schleswig-Holstein

by Taylor Graham

“The Schleswig-Holstein question is so complicated only three men in Europe have ever understood it. One was Prince Albert, who is dead. The second was a German professor who became mad. I am the third, and I have forgotten all about it.” Lord Palmerston.

Politics is always local. These two duchies—stuck
between Germany and Denmark, North Sea and Baltic—
share a history that could drive anyone crazy.

It’s 1850, after two years of uprising, border skirmishes,
unsatisfactory truces, and beyond, real powers
with their arguable legitimacies, positioned to take

sides. And you, Mr. Burritt, delegate from the
World Peace Congress, think to make reason of it all?
Show the Danish Minister tha[t] an American can grasp

the intentions of Bismarck and even more distant Austria?
Slow-train diplomacy, Copenhagen to Kiel, and back
again, then on to Hamburg. After months of this,

at night in your hotel room, does Schleswig-Holstein
slip into an easy sleep? Or do you dream battle cries
in dialects you can’t quite understand?

In a deadened night, do you wake to quick boots
marching below your window? By the glare of dawn
on helmets, do you see that all your diplomacy

is as lost as Lord Palmerston’s memory
and the good professor’s mind?

I selected this from among a number of contenders, not because it is typical—I’d be hard pressed to identify a “typical” poetic mode in this issue’s non-Japanese-related poems—but both this poem’s subject and treatment interest me. (I’m a bit of a history buff, though European history is far from my strong suit.) The short stories, also, provide a range of approach to what makes a story.

snow in the city
nobody home
in the cardboard box

Bill Kenney

from the top
of the Space Needle
he phones me
the connection
still clear, after years

Janet Lynn Davis

These two, a haiku and a tanka, respectively, are by writers new to me, but among many names very recognizable in the English-language haiku and tanka communities, such as An’ya, Curtis Dunlap, Peggy Willis Lyles, John Barlow, Cathy Drinkwater Better, Sanford Goldstein, etc.

The intent to produce a cleanly designed magazine of quality writing clearly emerges from these 32 (not 31) pages, and as the magazine progresses I’m sure we’ll see improvements in detail, like losing the unneeded word “by” in front of an author’s name—a carryover from journalistic style that’s not needed in a lit. mag. (I wonder why they didn’t treat all poems the same, with authorship indicated at the ends of poems, as they did with haiku/senryu and tanka. And I hope they’ll study up on the proper presentation of dashes, etc.) The relative freedom of the large page-size and modest type (10 point) has been put to good use, allowing for two columns or more on the poetry pages and accommodating long-line poems as well as those with more typical short lines as above, while still allowing for enough white space to make reading pleasant.

So, an interesting and well-conceived debut. See their web site, http://www.magnapoets.com, for more information on the magazine as well as the many other activities of the Magnapoets, essentially a poetry publishing cooperative.

Bill

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Vol. 3, issue 1 (Spring/Summer 2007). Edited by An’ya.

With thanks to Carole MacRury.

The front page of this tabloid-newsprint publication lists the creators of “Over 300 Verses and Works of Art in this Issue!”–along with countries of origin. These are mostly people from the USA, but there is a good number of Canadians and Europeans, with the Balkans well represented, and a smattering of folks from Japan, Australia, and South Africa.

Personally, I’m not fond of newsprint, even for newspapers, but this issue of moonset has some things to recommend it. For one, a feature of haiku and tanka on cats. Pick of the litter, to my taste:

a feral cat slithers
out of the storm drain–
spring thaw

Ruth Holzer, USA

Another interesting section contains “signature haiku”–“being the poem that you have written which is your own personal favorite and/or has been published the most, or one that you consider best represents you and your writing style”–so says An’ya. In two pages, some 60 or so verses, my pick:

apple blossoms
my grandfather snaps
his suspenders

Andrew Riutta, USA

Tanka is less numerously represented than haiku, but holds up its end very well, nonetheless. My favorite of the issue is this translation by Amelia Fielden and Kozue Uzawa (names in Western order, given name first):

in a country
where fog coldly descends
like the darkness
of the Middle Ages
I cross a street-corner

Watanabe Koichi
(name in Japanese order, surname first)

This from the translators’ book Ferris Wheel: 101 Modern and Contemporary Tanka, from Cheng and Tsui, 2006 (available on Amazon.com). About 30 of the poems from Ferris Wheel are included here, along with a useful essay by Fielden about translating Japanese poems into English.

Another striking mood-piece of tanka, from the “Signature Tanka” section:

something
has been set free . . .
a gull
lazes past my window
bright white in the sun

Melissa Dixon, Canada

Given An’ya’s own high interest in tanka, we might expect it to advance in percentage-contents in future issues of moonset.

A single, excellent, nijuin (20-stanza) renku, “Adrift with Her Dreams” reads at least as well as, if not better than, the pages and pages of other verses here. Hortensia Anderson piloted this ship with Carole MacRury, Adelaide B. Shaw, Heather Madrone, and Bette Norcross Wappner in the crew.

Two book reviews and a bunch of contest information round out the issue. The paper is also full of illustrations, of varying quality, from quick sketches in pencil or pen to (deliberately) grainy photographs, many of these combined with hand-written poems into haiga.

Published twice a year. More information is available on their web site: http://moonsetnewspaper.blogspot.com/.

Bill

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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.

Bill

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St Martin de Castillon: Koyama Press, 2006.

Gift of Giselle Maya, [editor and] publisher, to whom much thanks.

This handsomely produced booklet of 36 unnumbered pages comes sewn inside a stiff hand-made paper cover, the insides nicely printed on high-quality book paper, all in pleasing earth-tones. (The production values suggest letter-press, though that does not seem to be the printing process.)

The poems, which span the range indicated above, are by an’ya, Ion Codrescu, Christopher Herold, Kirsty Karkow, Mari Konno, Elizabeth Searle Lamb, Angela Leuck, Giselle Maya, June Moreau, Pamela Miller Ness, and Jane Reichhold, so those familiar with the haiku-and-related scene in North America will find work by many writers whom they already know. The renga, a kasen (i.e., 36 stanzas) between the editor and Jane Reichhold and a six-verse piece by the editor and Ion Codrescu, are both presented as if they were series of tan-renga, or two-person tanka. Otherwise, the poems are all in the contemporary mode of free-verse or organic-form haiku and tanka, in three or five lines, respectively, with some attention to the usual short-long rhythmical patterns characteristic of these kinds of poems. As the title suggests, “peace” is either an obvious theme or at least an undercurrent through the work. One of the many attractive tanka is this light-hearted, positive-affect piece by June Moreau:

at last the foal
is able to stand
I think
it got a little help
from the robin’s song

A very pleasant addition to anyone’s haiku/tanka/renga collection.

Copies may be purchased from the publisher:

Giselle Maya
Koyama Press
84750 St. Martin de Castillon
France

Inquire price via e-mail to Giselle Maya.

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