Friday, October 31, 2008

Review: Acorn #21

Acorn is a small cardstock-covered journal of English-language haiku, published biannually in April and October. Editor Carolyn Hall has collected an impressive array of poems for the current issue, #21.

Like a haiku, Acorn's format is simple and unassuming. A sketched acorn adorns the front cover, drawn with an Eastern use of white space and lines. The haiku are presented one or two to a page, leaving each poem plenty of room to stretch. This format works especially well for haiku, which (like the line-drawn acorn) rely as much on what they don’t say (the white space) as on what they do.

The list of contributors for this issue of Acorn includes many names familiar to haiku enthusiasts: Bruce Ross, John Barlow, Stanford M. Forrester, John Stevenson, Gary Hotham, Billie Wilson, George Swede.... The list goes on and on.

And now onto the poems themselves. Below are some of my favorites.

William Cullen Jr. treats us to a view of not only a job, but a whole way of life that is slowly vanishing:

steam whistle
coal miners disappear
into the dusk

Rich Heller takes us back (or forward) to spring:

March thaw
children swoop
at the ends of kite strings

Elliott Nicely reveals the uglier side of things, but does it lyrically:

the promise
it won't happen again
black-eyed susans

The magazine contains over one hundred haiku in all -- poems about all four seasons, plenty of one-line haiku, and even a couple of humorous poems, like this gently comic one by Jennifer G. Popolis:

summer solstice—
the drinking fountain
overshoots its rim

Individual issues of Acorn are available for $6 each (for U.S. residents) or $12 for a two-issue subscription. Poem submissions are accepted by mail or email – no previously published poems or simultaneous submissions. See Acorn's website for more information.


Charles Gramlich said...

I was published in a magazine called The Acorn years ago, but it was a children's magazine so it's probably a different one.

Greg Schwartz said...

Charles, I never pictured you as a children's writer. Tell me it wasn't an excerpt from Cold in the Light!

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