breaking my journey (Red Moon Press, 87 pages) is the first solo collection from award-winning Australian poet Gregory Piko, and a volume I’m glad to have added to my bookcase.
For me, Greg is a poet on whom I can rely – if I see his name on a haiku, I know it will be worth reading and that a moment of beauty (whether sad, joyous or wistful) will be added to my day.
he drops his marshmallow
into her hot chocolate
pregnant at last
The ambition of a haiku poet is to capture moments of meaning, which can come in many different guises, and which somehow help us grope towards an understanding of life, ours and all those that surround us. In the ordinariness of daily life we try and find the extraordinary.
after my confession
even the galahs
Haiku are sensual poems and poems of observation and Greg has a deft touch with the telling detail and with choosing the right word – novice writers are advised to stay away from adverbs and adjectives but consider how much poorer the following respective haiku would be without ‘softly’ and ‘deeper’.
her cotton skirt
falls softly to the ground
a crow at dusk
ink seeps deeper
into the page
Understanding the ‘rules’ of haiku, mastering them and then breaking them to good effect is a sure sign of a poet at the top of his game.
What we ‘see and ‘hear’ in the following haiku adds up to a sunny cheerfulness. But also measure what has been unwritten and we begin to see the strengths that Greg has brought to this collection.
she skips a little
on cresting the hill
beep of a Vespa
He exhibits the same playfulness in referencing other works, which he does with the lightest of touches. The following haiku tips its hat to William Carlos Williams and his 1938 poem, ‘This is Just to Say’.
I take another plum
from the fridge
The haibun ‘Near a Station of the Metro (after Ezra Pound)’ anchors us in the present, and a common dilemma for tourists remember them?), but is rich with the echoes of Pound’s 1913 poem ‘In a Station of the Metro’, which some argue may be the first haiku in English.
breaking my journey comprises 98 haiku, two haibun, and two linked verses. The book, produced to the usual high standard of Red Moon Press, can be purchased there or, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, direct from the author .
Note: This book was purchased.