Happy Wake Up

First published in the “Briefly Reviewed” section of Frogpond 39:3, Autumn 2016, pages 114–115.

Happy Wake Up by Milenko D. Ćirović Ljutički (2014, Megraf, Belgrade, Serbia). Afterword by Zoran Raonić. 72 pages, 5×8 inches, perfectbound. ISBN 978-86-84813-18-5. Price and ordering information not supplied.

A set of 54 Serbian haiku with English translations by Sasa Vazic. Most poems seem unseasonal, marginally related, or even contrary to the seasonal sections (spring 9 poems, summer 33, autumn 5, winter 7) they appear in, such as “river canyon— / through the echoing thunder / scared bird” in the spring section, “wine gurgles / with the warmth of summer rain / and the sun’s gold” in winter, or “ripe wheat— / bristled spikes sting / the moonlight” in summer. Even after discounting “moon” as a traditional autumn reference in the latter poem, I take “ripe wheat” to be autumn. If we overlook the seasons to which most poems are assigned, occasionally fine moments emerge, such as “hospital window— / my view split / into four parts.” The author has served as president of the Haiku Association of Serbia and Montenegro.