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Book of the Week – Haiku: A 1965 Collection of Haiku by Canadian Poet Claire Pratt

From Wikipedia – Mildred Claire Pratt (18 March 1921 – 5 April 1995) was a Canadian artist, poet and editor. She contracted polio at the age of 4 and later developed osteomyelitis, an inflammatory disease of the bone. She received degrees in English and Philosophy and then studied international relations at Columbia University, and art at the Boston Museum of Fine Art among other schools.

Her art consisted largely of woodcuts, and there were exhibitions of her graphic art across North America and in Europe. Claire’s interest in Japanese graphics stimulated her interest in haiku and the University of Toronto has an online collection of her art.

Night, flea-bitten thief,
cast your black self to the moon
and return my sleep.

Earth shakes; the temple
splits everlastingly; and
salt flows without end.

Leap, bright dolphins, break
with showers of joy into the
shrine. Holy art thou.

The dark wet forest,
little night bird twittering
in the gentle rain.

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 2018 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.

Claire Pratt

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Somehow I doubt such verses would be accepted by today’s editors of haiku journals, but heck, I had more pleasure from many of these than from several formulaic chapbooks lately. Poetic pleasure… Yet how haikuists love to call themselves poets!

    A few of the less effusively lyrical that I liked and that might make today’s journals:

    A flash of summer
    lightning…and healthy apples
    glowing in the night.

    A clean, honest hate…
    born of you and the dinner
    of nettles I ate.

    Dim and low and far…
    only a lisping whisper
    on the windswept shore

    Lying on this shoal
    in helpless mucus, lying
    in the absurd: I.

    Screeching power trucks,
    insistent and unwelcome sperms,
    pierce the endless nights.

    Bravo Dan for yet again choosing a rare dish for our sampling.

  2. I enjoyed reading this book! I have many favorites. One from page 11…

    a flash of summer
    lightning…and healthy apples
    glowing in the night

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