Eating Blowfish

First published in Woodnotes #28, Spring 1996, page 50.

Eating Blowfish by Frank Higgins. Raindust Press, 1996, 52 pages, paperback, 5½ by 8½ inches. $5.00 from Woods Colt Press, 3607 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, Missouri 64111 [address no longer correct]. With this book Frank Higgins offers 87 haiku and one tanka in assorted sequences and groupings of individual poems. A number of resonant poems pepper this book, and Higgins begins by telling a delightful story about covering his old car with haiku, and how that led to the “grunt” factor he used as his guide in selecting poems (I won’t spoil the story for you). This book is simply printed, but at many tums of the page is a pleasant surprise, despite the prevailing tone of reality’s harshness. A few poems have titles, but are rare among haiku, I think, in gaining something by their use. Take the following as an example, the book’s concluding poem, entitled “On His Way to Be Put To Sleep”: “my old dog struggles / to put his head / out the window.” Here are two more favourites:

left against the shed,

the whipping stick

begins to bud

snagged by the bear,

the salmon’s wound

leaks eggs