First published in Woodnotes #20, Spring 1994, pages 37.
Border Crossing: Haiku and Related Poetry by Jean Jorgensen. Four Seasons Corner, 1993, 112 pages, paperback, 5¼ by 8¼ inches. $8.00 Canadian or $9.00 in U.S. funds from Four Seasons Corner, 9633-68A Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6B 1V3 [address no longer correct]. A first edition limited to 110 numbered copies makes Jean Jorgensen’s new haiku book a collector’s item. It begins with nine “parallel poems” written in the spirit of vincent tripi’s recent Parallels book. The parallel poem experiment is essentially two lines of poetry identical in length, presenting two simultaneously occurring events that are also internally parallel. Jean’s attempts, however, do not seem to grasp the internally parallel concept (the lines are simply the same length visually, or the similar images are too obvious). The remainder of the book rises to a higher standard, however. The next section presents 83 haiku, followed by a twelve- and then eight-poem sequence, and then 63 more assorted haiku. The book concludes with three 36-stanza renga written with Beverly Wladyka, Jane Reichhold, and Joe Nutt. In all, 283 poems appear usually one to three per page, and several are listed as having won awards. The book also includes a color photograph of the author at the end. As for the content of this volume, you will surely recognize many of the poems, which are often very fine. And a quick scan of the 47 publications listed in the acknowledgments will convince you that Jean is indeed widely and tirelessly published. If you have enjoyed Jean’s work in the various journals and books (and 47 is not an easy number to amount!), do write for a copy of her new book. Two favourites:
nudge of the unborn child
youngest son watches the sun set
through a Lifesaver