Shining Moments

First published in Woodnotes #18, Autumn 1993, page 33. +

Shining Moments by Neal Henry Lawrence. AHA Books, 1993, 116 pages, hardback, 5¾ by 8¾ inches. $12.00 postpaid from AHA Books, P.O. Box 767, Gualala, California, 95445 [address no longer correct]. Contains 218 “traditional” tanka, with prefatory material by Edward Seidensticker, Atsuo Nakagawa, Marie Philoméne, and Toshimi Horiuchi. The poems in this beautifully printed collection, like those in Lawrence’s previous book, Rushing Amid Tears, unfortunately lack fresh images, and are typically troubled by tired rhetoric and didactic observations that fall short of poetry. This book cannot be recommended for its tanka, in spite of the fact that Lawrence must be praised for his groundbreaking and tireless promotion of English-language tanka around the world.