August 11: A wonderful review of breath by Matthew Paul appears in Presence 46, a UK-based print journal. Read it here.
July 28: The Bay of Plenty Times, my local daily paper, has published a brief review on its “Book Club” page in the Saturday magazine (aimed at a female readership). The reviewer is Katherine Hoby.
“Divided into four seasonal sections, this is a lovely slim volume of haiku by local poet Sandra Simpson.
“There’s a gorgeous use of language here, and I love that the haiku conjure images easily and with beautiful simplicity.”
July 26: A “briefly noted” review appears in the Frogpond 35.2, the journal of the Haiku Society of America. The reviewer is Michele Root-Bernstein.
“In this first collection the New Zealand poet Sandra Simpson offers us the best of her work from the past decade. Disarmingly simple and quotidian, Simpson’s haiku walk us through the countryside and across town, pause with us before war memorials and Maori meeting houses, introduce us to family in its seasons. The result is a sensitive immersion in a particular, if largely domesticated world, punctuated by the poet’s own photographs of the nature right outside her door. fat spatters of rain / the pulse / in a sparrow’s throat; hot night / songs of love / from the petrol station; talking as though he / will die first— / magnolia petals. ~MRB”
June 26: What with the Haiku Festival Aotearoa (June 15-17, went very well, thanks for asking), the wash-up of that event and now a rampant head cold, I have neglected to add notice of a short review in the august publication Modern Haiku. Editor Charles Trumball kindly sent me a copy of the page, realising I wasn’t a subscriber.The one-paragraph review leads off the Briefly Noted section:
“This is a fine collection by a well regarded New Zealand haikuist. The thin book contains many fine to excellent haiku accompanied by Simpson’s own eye-popping four-colour nature photos imprisoned in covers that are so stiff it’s hard to open the book at all. Simpson is especially adept at haiku of restraint or presenting the unexpected side of the haiku moment, e.g., first kiss – / the cosmos daisies move / hardly at all ”
– Modern Haiku 43.2, summer 2012 (US)
Not enough footnotes (Shamrock), too many footnotes (LYNX) and now stiff covers! I’m taking the criticisims in good part, no problems there. I will say to this one that one of my bugbears about haiku books is that they often have covers that show the wear after being handled twice. I chose the cover card hoping it would be more durable and stay looking good.
June 4: Happy Birthday to Queen Elizabeth II (it’s a public holiday here in New Zealand) … and breath is reviewed in the latest edition of the online journal, A Hundred Gourds. John McManus likes it! Read the review here.
May 15: breath is reviewed in the new posting of online journal LYNX. The reviewer, Dennis M Holmes, is generally positive but would have preferred no footnotes! It really is hard to please all of the people all of the time. Read the review here (scroll down to find it).
April 30: Kirsten Cliff has chosen breath as her pick for US Poetry Month! Her blog, Swimming in Lines of Haiku, features a large post about the book (and me) today. Read it here. Thanks to Kirsten for her support.
March 14: Kokako 16, New Zealand’s only dedicated haiku journal, has been mailed today and contains a review of breath by Patricia Prime.
March 5: A review appears in Shamrock, the journal of the Irish Haiku Society. Editor Anatoly Kudryavitsky has his criticisms (no page numbers!) but overall it’s a positive review. Read it here (scroll to the bottom of the page).
Silly me, not footnoting “nashi” – a fruit also sometimes known as “Asian pear” that is something of a cross between an apple and pear. Funny what others don’t know and what we take for granted. Anatoly says that after inquiries from readers, he has now footnoted his review to explain nashi.
February 1: A glowing review by John Carley of England appears on Haiku NewZ. Read it here. This is the first review to appear in a haiku journal, others are to follow throughout the year.