Wind Over Water – Reviewed by Patricia Prime

Wind over Water: an anthology of haiku and tanka by delegates of the Fourth Haiku Pacific Rim Conference.  Edited by Dawn Bruce and Greg Piko.  2009.  63 pp.  Available from Beverley George, P. O. Box 37, Pearl Beach, N.S.W. 2256, Australia.  For one copy: Within Australia: AUD$10 plus $1.65 post; New Zealand and Japan: AUD$10 plus $4.35 post; USA, UK and Canada: AUD$10 plus $6.30 post.  If paying by cheque or money order payment must be in Australian dollars. www.eucalypt.info

Reviewed by Patricia Prime

This 63 page collection of haiku and tanka by the delegates of the Fourth Haiku Pacific Rim Conference is a glossy little masterpiece.  The poems are beautifully printed and set out two or three per page.  Each poet has his or her own page and the poet’s names are listed in alphabetical order which makes it easier for the reader to select a poet’s work.  Biographical notes and publication credits are given at the end of the book.

Human emotion balanced against close observation of nature may characterize the most enduring examples of haiku.  In a number of haiku, the poets consistently achieve the interplay between their perceptions of human nature and observations of landscape and nature.

Many of the poets’ names will be well-known to readers of haiku: Janice Bostok, Beverley George, Ron Moss, Martin Lucas, Stuart Quine and Quendryth Young – to name a few.  Other writers may be less familiar.  However, all the poets are represented by a strong and pleasing choice of work.

 so small and so blue
 tiny flowers with no name
 rise from the cinders

  Jerry Ball

 night breeze
 the closeness
 of an unseen flower

  Dawn Bruce

 no name
 for its colour
 tea-table rose

  Cyril Childs

The haiku range from the competent to the richly evocative, several bordering on the exceptional.  Here are four which may give a feel for the volume.

 lightning strike
 the uncertainty
 of everything

  Beverley George

 the violence of the pheasant shoot echoes over the valley

  Martin Lucas

 charred cedars
 how cold the white
 of early snow

  Ron Moss

 spring dawn
 my cup
 full of river

  Graham Nunn

The approach to the tanka is pleasantly varied.  The emotive and associative material brought to a human context give rise to moving suggestions, without recourse to narrative.  An awareness of how vulnerable human beings are – how susceptible to mood and emotion, are conveyed with sympathy.  The images remain vividly before us.

 high-heeled sandals
 on their way to church
 pass my joggers
 the sinner’s morning walk
 much more urgent than mine

  Helen Davison

 icicles hung
 from the Eiffel Tower
 at dusk
 lusting after the heat
 of our hotel room

  Amelia Fielden

 news of my father’s death
 my hands
 holding the phone
 like his
 like my son’s

  Katherine Samuelowicz

 boarding call
 arms around your neck
 I inhale deeply –
 in your childhood room
 the old t-shirt I won’t wash

  Pam Smith

Overall I enjoyed this generous and wonderful collection very much.  Quiet and diligent observation mixed with fully engaged emotions of sympathy, joy, wonder and playfulness.

 used car yard
 my son loves the red balloons
 whose shadows
 cross our sandalled feet
 like drifting lollipops

  Sharon Dean

 enthusiasm
 bounces through the phone line
 it’s your year, she says –
 how can she know I’m a cow
 and it’s the year of the ox?

  Beatrice Yell

 coming from the subway,
 a grain of sand lodges
 in my eye,
 the town clock becomes
 a Dali painting

  Aya Yuhki

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