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Book of the Week: Heaton Farm Haiku


Today’s Book of the Week, Heaton Farm Haiku, by Jerry Kilbride, is an interesting piece of regional literature about Whiteside County, Illinois, where Kilbride’s grandparents farmed. Poems about rural life, presented in two sections, with haiku first, then tanka. In the haiku section, Kilbride introduces twelve kigo based on Sauk Indian names for the moon in different months, calling them “truly authentic season words of this continent”. For the tanka section, he invokes the name of Edgar Lee Masters, a famous Illinoisan, and author of The Spoon River Anthology, as a literary model for his tanka. The Anthology was a book of poems masked as fictitious epitaphs of small town people. In its day, it was famous and highly influential on a wide range of American writers for its revolt against genteel, Eastern literary traditions.


crow moon:
in the fruit cellar’s darkness
empty shelves


long light moon:
pines glistening with snow
at Heaton Cemetery


instant coffee jar
holds floribunda roses
for great grandma
farmhands remembered for years
her table at threshing time


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

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Haiku featured in the Book of the Week Archive are selected by THF Digital Librarian Garry Eaton, and are used with permission

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