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Book of the Week: Dance of Light


Elizabeth St Jacques was a familiar figure to those poets who first cultivated their interest in haiku on the internet. This volume, her longest and strongest collection, dates from 1995 (maplebud press, artwork by Ruby Spriggs).

You can read the entire book in the THF Digital Library.

The Haiku Foundation does not have a hard copy of this volume, and would welcome a donation if you are able.

Do you have a chapbook published 2009 or earlier you would like featured as a Book of the Week? Contact us for details.

All haiku in the Book of the Week Archive are selected by Tom Clausen, and are used with permission.

break of dawn . . . sparrow at the small puddle
 sipping pale pink light

wedge of sound 
rests my broom 
geese heading north

 into the night
rain drops on a pail

again and again 
the white butterfly . . . 
thoughts of an unwell friend

little finch
 in my hand the slow slow weight 
of its april death

crowding in
 around the waterfall

dance of light 
in the frog-filled pond
 . . . blue heron

woodshaving curl
 in winter light
 grandfather's violin

high wooden fence
 around the old convent 
the knot-hole

carefully washing
 around my mouth. . . . first kiss

full moon . . . after the school wrestling match 
everyone in pairs

in deep new snow 
beneath the apple tree 
a perfect hole

through the late night camp
 a gentle lullaby
 horse hooves heading home

 the cold earth floor—
 the knife-grinder's wheel

the circle of the winging hawk
 tightens to a dot

this autumn night 
the small moth's touch— 
shiver of the moon

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Alan Summers made some good choices, and I’ll add one more that fascinated me.

    woodshaving curl
    in winter light
    grandfather’s violin

  2. I miss Elizabeth and her wonderful poetry…she is also an exceptional sijo poet.
    She influenced me greatly in the beginnings of my haiku and sijo writing…

  3. Some wonderful work here, and a reminder that so many names like Elizabeth St Jacque, and Liz Fenn (see back cover blurb) are sorely missed.

    break of dawn . . .
    sparrow at the small puddle

    sipping pale pink light

    little finch

    in my hand the slow slow weight
of its april death

    This author broke the rules of what we now consider contemporary haiku, but gosh, breaking or bending them with such finesse. These haiku are meant to be out aloud, in private to yourself, or to an audience, but mainly to enjoy in greater depth, the sheer lyricism that can preside in a para-narratives.

    There are other styles including a minimalist approach, which adds to the reader’s delight of variety over formulaic practice.

    Amazing work, and the book itself, far from being disparate haiku pulled between book covers, creates an overall poem that’ll make you walk on air.

    warm regards,


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