39 Haiku

First published in the “Briefly Reviewed” section of Frogpond 39:3, Autumn 2016, pages 118–119.

39 Haiku by Robert Kania (2015, Wydawnctwo Kontekst, Poznan, Poland). Afterword by Agnieszka Zulawska-Umeda. 56 pages, 4¾×7¾˝, perfectbound. ISBN 978-83-6256-94-1. Price and ordering information not supplied.

This book, designed by Lidia Rozmus, presents 39 poems in Polish and English. In “lightning / on a hedgehog spikes / raindrops,” the syntax is puzzling (could “a” be dropped?), and the moment is so amazing and delicate that perhaps it’s too amazing—readers may wonder if it’s believable and authentic, or purely imagined. Other poems feel more grounded, as in “brewing tea / red leaves are falling / outside the window” or “melting snow / another hope / to fall in love,” but a few translation hiccups distract, as in “flew away / [a?] long time ago,” “homeless [man, woman, person?] raises a toast,” and “in [a?] white veil.”