Waveforms: Bull Island Haiku

First published in the “Briefly Reviewed” section of Frogpond 39:3, Autumn 2016, pages 115–116.

Waveforms: Bull Island Haiku by Pat Boran (2015, Orange Crate Books, Dublin, Ireland). 120 pages, 4×6˝, perfectbound. ISBN 979-0-9931726-0-1. $11.50 or €10.00 from Dedalus Press.

This is a beautifully designed and well-meaning collection of place-centered poems, but all appear in a (mostly) rhymed 5-7-5 syllabic format that has distracted the author from understanding the more important targets for haiku as literature—even though the afterword talks about “kigo” (season words) and “kiru” (cutting). Common haiku techniques and aesthetics seem to reveal themselves only slightly and only occasionally (perhaps by accident), as in “All alone at last— / the crab in the pool beside / the pool full of crabs.” Or (mostly, it seems) the author has chosen to ignore them, as in “Jesus, he might be, / that long-haired kite-surfer dude / walking on the sea.” Nevertheless, this Irish author is a widely published award-winning poet and editor in longer forms, and one hopes that this foray into haiku will lead to a deeper understanding. His photographs in the book are excellent.