First published in the “Briefly Reviewed” section of Frogpond 39:3, Autumn 2016, page 117.
American Gothic by Steven Carter (2015, Alba Publishing, Uxbridge, England). 48 pages, 5¾×8¼ inches, perfectbound. ISBN 978-1910185-20-9. $10.00 or £7.00 from Alba Publishing.
Steven Carter (not to be confused with Steven D. Carter, translator of waka and other Japanese literature) has been so prolific with his haibun that it is sometimes hard to distinguish one book from another. But this book, with the title’s invocation of Grant Wood’s famous painting, is a clearly defined collection of family stories, dedicated to the parents of Carter’s wife. Memories and aging—and nursing homes—fill these loving and sometimes touching haibun. On a personal note, I find myself feeling distracted by the stair-stepped indentation of all poems and having each line start with a capital—neither choice seems to accomplish anything. Nevertheless, you’ll enjoy these haibun revelations.