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Showing posts from 2016

Haiku Rebellion Studio

I'll be running the following online course in October 2016 with The Poetry School, suitable for UK and international students.  
Book here.

Three lines, syllable counting, nature, Zen. Now we’ve got those crusty preconceptions and outdated rules out of the way we can take a fresh look at English language haiku in the light of contemporary Western practice. On this intensive 3 week writing course we will re-visit the most misunderstood of all the poetic forms – the haiku – looking at work by experienced practitioners in the UK and USA. We will then practice some techniques that contribute towards making the ordinary extraordinary, writing our own small epiphanies, tiny elegies and snapshots from our daily lives that are charged with clarity, emotion and humour. We will also be setting both our pens and as well as our bodies in motion, as we follow in the footsteps of Basho and compose our haiku while walking, taking advantage of the dramatic changes of the autumn season.
all the time…

What Feeds Us: a review of Harriot West's 'Into the Light'

Harriot West, Into the Light, Mountains & Rivers Press, 2014, 48 pages, 5-1/2 x 8-1/2, perfect bound, $15.00

Let’s start with ‘scrapple, cornmeal mush with … sausage’, follow it with Thanksgiving turkey with ‘cranberry jelly and the sweetness of honey-flavoured yams’, then ‘raspberries … with clotted cream’. Except these dishes fail in their intrinsic capability to feed or nourish, laced as they are with conflict, anger and grief in the early haibun of Harriot West’s collection Into the Light.
The ‘scrapple’ becomes a battleground for a child’s love in 'Empty Spaces'. The turkey cannot mask an almost unbearable despair in ‘Abundant Blessings’. The raspberries, ‘the seeds cracking’, foreshadow the death of a grandmother and the failure of adults in a child’s life to explain and comfort (‘The Day Grandma Died’).
Into the Light is divided into three sections. The 17 haibun in ‘Sepia Shadows’ explore, in a compressed chronology, the narrator’s childhood, youth and adulthood up t…