Eucalypt #7 – reviewed by Patricia Prime

Eucalypt 7, edited by Beverley George, PO Box 37, Pearl Beach 2256, NSW, Australia. 44pp. 2009. ISSN: 1833-8186.  Subscription only: $30 (within Australia) AUD$35 or US$24 (Japan and NZ) and AUD$40 or US$30 (US, UK, Canada & Europe).  Information from editor@eucalypt.info or www.eucalypt.info  Reviewed by Patricia Prime

The tanka in Eucalypt 7 are of the usual high standard.  The collection delivers 118 tanka in a variety of styles from poets around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Ghana, Japan, China, England and South Africa.  These thirty-eight pages of tanka, one to four per page, pulse with passion.  No dry work here, sensuous and sensual experiences either grab our attention or lead us gently by the hand.

Different images are presented to the reader: Max Ryan’s workman taking his lunch on the beach; Joseph Kleponis’ wondering whether there is meaning in an “abandoned bird’s nest”; Kozue Uzawa’s jet lag.  There are quirky images – Owen Bullock’s children fussing about eating onions; David Terelinck recalling childhood days when he was “always third” in the bath; Carmel Summers’ “dream of a prince’s kiss.”

Here’s a pacy, perceptive tanka by Elaine Riddell:

 you moved in
 as one family –
 today
 two removal trucks
 separate your belongings

Most immediately affecting are the following tanka:

 as a child
 I wanted to touch the sky
 never dreaming
 that to touch another’s heart
 would be the greater challenge

  Irene Golas

 strolling
 darkened streets
 afraid
 of what I might see
 through broken blinds

  Bob Lucky

 her bald head
 sprouting soft new hair
 has she been remade?
 exotic crystal ear-rings
 swirling silken scarves

  Paula Stevenson

Some tanka can be situationally funny yet still touching, as seen in these tanka:

 most days
 I believe in God
 other days
 I’m certain he’s this tiny man
 behind the curtain

  Kathy Lippard Cobb

 after five days,
 bagpipes and haggis aplenty,
 I’m going to flee
 old Scotland, the same as
 my bandit fathers before me

  Michael McClintock

Many of the tanka give us personal moments that are easily recognizable as classic tanka:

 across the pond
 sunset explodes in bronze
 and green fir spires –
 we stand hands together
 free from the weight of words

  John Martell

 on this autumn night
 of deep apple scented sleep
 no troubled dreams
 of lilac and lavender
 can invade this moment’s peace

  Joseph Kleponis

Appreciating the simple is one of tanka’s delights and the tanka that appears in this journal typify Western thoughts.  There is much to recommend Eucalypt as it presents the writers’ viewpoints with sensitivity.  The tanka here help form a growing body of work, especially among Southern Hemisphere poets and one can only admire Beverley George’s commitment to the form and her ongoing support of tanka poets.  Here one finds poems that are sincere, observant and sometimes enlightening.

The volume is attractively presented with design and layout by Matthew George, illustrations by Pim Sarti and cover photograph by Beverley George.

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