Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Book review: Ten Favorite Haiku for 2011, selected by Harvey Teres
Ten Favorite Haiku for 2011 is a tiny booklet, 17 pages long and smaller than most people's hands. It consists of 10 poems that were gathered as part of the Syracuse Poster Project. These 10 were Professor Harvey Teres' favorite haiku from all the poems he screened.
All of the haiku in this booklet were written in the 5-7-5 format. That's not to necessarily say that none of them were good haiku, but this form is very limiting, and often prevents the poet from creating a true haiku moment. Too much focus is spent on syllable count and not enough on the poem itself.
There is one haiku in this booklet that stands out from the rest, written by Megan Reed (page 6). It shows the common pigeon from another perspective, and it's worth reading.
Some of the poems in this booklet stay so true to syllable count that it throws off the poem's flow, it's internal rhythm. The middle line of Bruce Smith's haiku on page 8 -- "Car drives by blastin' music" -- falls in this category, and it immediately draws you out of the poem.
The poems are presented nicely, one to a page with plenty of white space. At the end of the booklet you'll find some brief guidelines for writing haiku, as well as a couple of empty, lined pages for your own poems or notes. When the booklet is shipped, it even comes with a piece of heavy paper stuck between each of the covers, to prevent bleeding.
$3 is not a hefty investment, so if you think you may like this booklet, or if you just want to support local Syracuse poetry, you should buy a copy. The booklet ships right away and you'll get an email confirmation of your order. You can purchase a copy on the poster project's Shop page, and there is a $2.95 shipping fee.
But for true haiku fans I would recommend checking out one of the haiku chapbooks in the Modest Proposal series instead, especially either of the two Basho Haiku Challenge chapbooks or one of Gary Hotham's collections. Each of these chapbooks sells for the same $3 cover price, but they contain some excellent examples of haiku.