Impressions of Morning: Haiku by World Children

First published in the “Briefly Reviewed” section of Frogpond 40:1, Winter 2017, page 109. The text here is slightly longer than the original Frogpond review, which omitted the sample poems by Chiu Shao-Yu and Emilija Dorelyté.       +

Impressions of Morning: Haiku by World Children, edited by the JAL Foundation (2016, JAL Foundation / Bronze Publishing, Tokyo, Japan). 120 pages, 8 ×8˝, perfectbound. ISBN 978-4-89309-624-1. ¥1,600 (about $14.00) from the JAL Foundation (where you can also order numerous other editions).

This is the 14th volume of the JAL Foundation’s sumptuous full-colour anthologies commemorating its biennial world children’s haiku contests. The most recent contest attracted more than 26,000 entries from 36 countries and regions around the world. All poems, focusing on the theme of morning, appear in their native language as well as Japanese and English translations (full disclosure: I helped with many of the English translations). The children’s illustrations are especially vibrant and energizing. The book is highly encouraging to every selected poet, and shows widely varying skill levels with haiku, as these five almost random selections demonstrate: “Morning sound / The world’s dream / Happy people” —Hugo Trindade, age 15, Portugal; “A bird is singing / On the tree branch / A cloudless morning” —Pecea Ion, age 13, Romania; “White-eyes in the cherry tree / The elf slightly opens the shiny curtain / And the chirps of birds
 travel for miles” —Chiu Shao-Yu, age 12, Taiwan; “I wonder . . . / In the morning sky / Still the moon” —Hiyori Tokiwa, age 7, Japan; “Falling on the grass / An early apple / Startles the morning” —Emilija Dorelyté, age 11, Lithuania.