The Mown Meadow

First published in Woodnotes #29, Summer 1996, page 53.

The Mown Meadow by Wally Swist. Los Hombres Press, 1996, 80 pages, paperback, 512 by 8½ inches. $9.95 postpaid from Los Hombres Press, P.O. Box 632729, San Diego, California 92163-2729 [address no longer correct] (California residents, add 7.75% tax). The Mown Meadow is a spare yet special kind of haiku book, reprinting almost the complete texts of four previous haiku books by Wally Swist [Chimney Smoke, Unmarked Stones, Sugaring Buckets, and The Gristmills Trough], plus other selected haiku and sequences from 1977 to 1994. The poems, appearing without adornment at two, three, or sometimes four per page, are grouped mostly by previous book title, and conclude with a selection of sequences. Swist has long maintained a fine and consistent voice in American haiku, and this book is a timely representation of his nature-centered work. As but one choice sample, here is the book’s concluding individual haiku:

scraping across snow

the unlocked gate

glazed with ice