Reviews: Reeves & Cooper

field of stars is the second collection from Tasmanian poet Lyn Reeves, the former longtime associate editor of Famous Reporter, and now editor of the online journal of Australian haiku, Echidna Tracks.

Having previously stated that she’s interested in ‘writing about place’, Lyn has put together a collection that is at once personal, loving and quietly observant of the world around her. Some of the poems are, naturally, those of Australia and its unique flora and fauna, but just as many are universal.

in sparse scrub
the honeyeater’s wing
flashes yellow

overcast sky
the light
from a single dandelion

field of stars doesn’t have any chapter separations, yet there is a gentle narrative flow that makes turning the pages easy. The poems include a selection from collaborations Lyn has had with two visual artists, Luke Wagner and Megan Walch, although these aren’t separately identified.

I very much like the layout of the book with the haiku getting plenty of room to breathe – alternating pages contain two poems or a single haiku – which also gives the reader space to ponder and let the poems settle in.

on the lawn
four striped deck chairs
taking the sun

wildlife park
the echidna
paces its cage

This collection contains examples, and adroit ones at that, of haiku mined from both the smallest of ‘indoor’ habits set against what is at times a more ‘masculine’ outdoors.

in the boiling kettle
a rumble
of distant waves

red sunrise
the bulldozer’s engine
revs up

Lyn has a perceptive eye and is to be congratulated for bringing to fruition such a solid set of haiku that will be enjoyed around the world.

winter creek
a rumour
of platypus

Fellow Tasmanian haiku poet Ron C Moss writes on the back cover: “This is a collection to be kept close and cherished for the many celebrations of what it is to be a part of nature.”

field of stars is available from publisher Walleah Press, or via online book outlets. My copy was supplied to me by the author. ISBN 978-1-877010-91-0

moon music is Bill Cooper’s sixth collection of haiku published through Red Moon Press and is a typical example of Red Moon’s smaller-size books. My disclaimer with this book is that I was asked to provide a blurb for the back cover and did so.

Bill has divided his collection into ‘nodding terms’, ‘slow carousel’, ‘trombone smile, ‘entering Bogalusa’ and ‘a looping strand’.His poems are a mixture of haiku and senryu, set out as in the book above, and some of them very sharply observed indeed.

clouds the tug of a mating horseshoe crab

 

dawn fog
an egret sharpens her beak
on a rock

His sense of humour is never far from the surface, sometimes hearty, sometimes wry.

steam room
thinking less and less
about less

mid-gargle
a shift in pitch
breaking news

Bill is an emeritus professor and has published books and articles on cognitive science, international relations and higher education. When it comes to his haiku and senryu he wears his learning lightly and the poems are all the better for it.

after neurology
comparing thin slices
of strawberry

slow river
a mallard circles the rim
of a cooling tower

One of the other contributors to the back cover is Ce Rosenow: “Through … an unflinching commitment to write what is and not what we wish could be, Bill Cooper reminds us of haiku’s emotional power.”

ISBN 978-1-947271-45-6.

D, E, F of Haiku

Hope you’re enjoying this ride through the haiku alphabet – if you feel inspired to make your own alphabet, please share the link in the Comments section.

D

初夢や金も拾はず死にもせず
hatsu-yume ya kane mo hirowazu shini mo sezu

first dream of the year
not finding money on the road
not dying either

Natsume Soseki  (1867-1916), tr Susumu Takiguchi

 

debate night
one dog barks
then another

Bill Cooper, A Hundred Gourds 5.2, 2016

 

E

the everywhere
of wild carrot
wayside moon

Michele Root-Bernstein, The Heron’s Nest 19.1, 2017

carrot

 

glowing embers
I start my story
from the end

Debbi Antebi, Presence 60, 2018

 

F

forsythia –
misspelled twice in the poet’s
yellowed notes

Ron Evans, Haiku Odyssey blog, 2014

 

clearing storm
a ewe flicks a fly
from her ear

Pamela Brown, Presence 52, 2015