A book with and about haiku
Author Isabella Mori takes us on a slow, iterative meandering through the landscape of images, feelings and thoughts that lends itself well to the deliberate nature of haiku. In Part 1 she reflexts and lightly touches on the topics of haiku and imperfection, with a selection of her own haiku. In Part 2 she delves deeper into these ideas, linking to the work of present and past haiku poets and scholars.
From a review:
Isabella has created something really wonderful here.
What I was expecting: A book of 87 haiku. Most likely an insightful introduction at the beginning. Perhaps some end notes.
What I found instead: A book of haiku. And a book about haiku. And a book of meta-haiku. A history of haiku. A collection of other great haiku. A playful, “Peter and the Wolf”-like narration that unselfconsciously in and around and through the poetry, like a gentle Aeneas leading Dante through the levels of the afterlife, joyful “Tao of Pooh”-like reflections on what makes the poetry work and not work, and even Lewis Carroll sorts of moments of layers and layers of puzzles and reflection and reinterpretation. And then a whole second half that’s a deeper reflection on the original reflection.
It’s easy to forget that the poetry and prose are both Isabella’s, because the poetry seems like the natural scenery in the land where the prose is the tour guide, the celebrity chef, and the travel writer. And that suits the poetry well, because, in a sense, haiku work best when spontaneous, surprising, charming, and natural.
The book was a joy to read, and I’m sure I’ll go back to it many times.