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Book of the Week: A Selection by H. F. Noyes of his Favorite Haiku, Volume 2

In the Living Haiku Anthology, we learn that poet, editor, and psychotherapist H.F. “Tom” Noyes was born in 1918 on a farm in Oregon to which he attributes his love of nature and that he wrote prolifically until his death in April 2010.

In the Introduction HF Noyes writes “we can learn from the haiku selected for this second book of favorites that two great secrets of haiku are: 1) “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity”—the advice that Thoreau gave to would-be writers1; and 2) rather than attempting—with our inherent duality and bias toward “the significant”—to choose the haiku moment, let the moment choose you. Links to other books in this series include: Volume 1; Volume 3; Volume 4; and Volume 5. All five books have now been gathered into a single volume, available from Red Moon Press.

two leaves
touch in the pond
and separate
– Alexis K. Rotella

how many times
did i tell him to be quiet—
child in coffin
– Charles D. Nethaway, Jr.

Rod Willmot, reviewing Rotella’s On a White Bud, writes: “It takes strength to be vulnerable.” I think of these words when I read this beautiful haiku of hers, and am reminded of Nethaway’s haiku moment — the most vulnerable and most defenseless that I can remember.

Shortening the line
at the soup kitchen—
the first fall rain
– Tom Tico

Christmas Eve . . .
at the lot, the trees
not chosen
– Tom Tico

Here is a poet whose haiku strike chords of deep sympathy, yet also at times convey the detachment of a wandering monk. For over seven years Tom Tico lived among the homeless. Out of literally dozens of examples of his sensitivity to the sabi aspect of things and life, I offer here just two special favorites.

You can read the entire book in the THF Digital Library and please share your favorite poem from the book with us.

Do you have a chapbook published in 2016 or earlier that you would like featured as a Book of the Week? Contact us for details. Haiku featured in the Book of the Week Archive are selected by THF Digital Librarian Dan Campbell and are used with permission.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Tom was as great an encourager as I’ve ever known, and his Favorite Haiku columns and books wonderful.

  2. Thank you, Dan. How marvellous! Noyes could surely pick ’em. They are all terrific.
    I was particularly struck by:

    Canada Geese
    suddenly in the heart
    the field takes wing
    — James Tipton

    “…violates the rule against incorporating the beauty and metaphor of western poetry into our haiku. We need to balance this rule with Anita Virgil’s admonition: “To think of haiku as other than poetry is to accede to mediocrity.”

    I cheered.

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