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Book of the Week: mosquitos and moonlight


Robert Gilliland still publishes the occasional haiku in the best journals, but he was most active in the mid- to late 90s, when this volume, his strongest, was released by Polliwog Press (1999).

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

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.

hunter's moon— i jingle his old collar at the sky
crisp spring morning spade sound stirring dormant earth
late afternoon light— in the clover two bees trade places
pelting summer rain . . . a lizard clasps the dry side of the leaning elm
patch of winter sun— the mangy cat  grooming his coat
raindrops releasing summer from the sidewalk
lingering heat— trickle of a sewer pipe  feeding the creek
tuft of spear grass that the mowers missed . . . dragonfly
sudden shower— a tin roof steams into the summer sky
autumn wind— a brown bag still holding the bottle's shape
potter's field— the scattered crosses bound by bluebonnets
pale summer sky— an oak tree's shadow fills with cows
a jay's shriek— and stillness reclaims  the fallen oak
a cypress parts the creek . . . the sheen of smooth pebbles on the sunlit bar
the summer stream . . . each dry stone with its dragonfly
fern-lined ledge— white of the water tumbling to the pool below
trail's end— breeze off the Pedernales creaks in the tall pecans
winding path . . . deeper into the woods into the windsound
harvest festival— in the field a bumper crop of old pickup trucks
the branch where the mockingbird sang —still swaying
from the heart of a deadfall limb . . . violets

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Ron, Robert was also my editor for The Heron’s Nest. He also helped me flesh out a long free-verse poem a number of years back. I love his poetry and used a number of haiku from _mosquitoes and moonlight_ when I was involved in The Electronic Poetry Network. I have many favorites from this book, but I suppose my top fave is:

    lingering heat—
    trickle of a sewer pipe
    feeding the creek

    Also, I voted for this poem as my top choice in Jan. 2005 for The Heron’s Nest “Readers’ Choices” Awards:

    Valentine’s Day—
    a cyclist signals
    with a long-stem rose

  2. Some of my favorites of the haiku posted above from mosquitoes and moonlight( by fellow Texan Robert Gilliland) are the following: ” lingering heat—”,” late afternoon light”, ” trail’s end—”, ” winding path”, and the poignant ” potter’s field.” I am glad that
    some of Robert’s work was represented in Haiku In English: The First Hundred Years.
    And this book was listed in the credits.

  3. winding path . . .
    deeper into the woods
    into the windsound

    harvest festival –
    in the field a bumper crop
    of old pickup trucks

    By Robert Gilliland

    I enjoyed reading this post and plan to reread Robert’s book – happy to see it again.

    Some of his poems express so much here in Wisconsin too, where the soybean fields are now gold.

    Thank you,

  4. Wonderful collection of haiku with many fine moments of observation. I also would like to see more of Robert’s work. Robert was my editor at Heron’s Nest and I miss our conversations about Texas and Tasmania.

    This one stays with me for the very different visuals that work so well together…

    autumn wind—
    a brown bag still holding
    the bottle’s shape

  5. I for one have greatly missed Robert’s presences on the haiku scene.

    This is a terrific book, with lovely sketches from his wife. It’s an utter delight to read, and lose yourself into a world that is real, but only real as a haiku writer can do this.

    One of my favorites, amongst an incredible ‘many’:

    frosty moon–
    silver of a possum’s back
    parting the ivy


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