Haiku: One Breath Poetry

First published in Woodnotes #19, Winter 1993, page 47.

Haiku: One Breath Poetry written and illustrated by Naomi Wakan. Pacific-Rim Publishers, 1993, 72 pages, paperback, 6 by 9 inches. $14.95 at bookstores, or write to the publisher at Box 5204, Station B, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, V8R 6N4 [address no longer correct]. Dedicated to the memory of Leon Zolbrod, this new and refreshing Canadian introduction to haiku is aimed at an audience of young readers. This book is also a good review of haiku basics for older or more experienced readers. It offers four main sections introducing and discussing Japanese and English haiku and its history, including many free-form and “traditional” examples of haiku. This breezy book is enticing for its balanced viewpoints. Consider this excerpt on senryu: “It is hard to tell the difference between a haiku and a senryu, but people seem to waste a lot of time trying to decide whether a verse is one or the other. You could say that senryu make you laugh at human foolishness, and haiku make you ponder or wonder.” Recommended for anyone wishing to learn about haiku or wanting a brief book on haiku to use for instructional purposes.