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Book of the Week: parnassus flowers

mainonecover

Robert Mainone has argued for the traditional approach to haiku—formal structure, nature content, and a sense of the ineffable—for 6 decades, and never more compellingly than in this beautiful self-published chapbook (1965), featuring charming b&w photographs by Larry West.

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.

Haiku featured in the Book of the Week Archive are selected by Jim Kacian, following a concept first explored by Tom Clausen, and are used with permission.

Again and again
the lightning’s light reminds me
of such earthly things.

Endless August night . . .
outside my window crickets
singing ancient songs.

Forests of my youth,
as one with sun and earth and
there I wander still.

The paths of stars—
something remembered vaguely in
recesses of the mind.

By my fireplace
for my companions: nightwind, stars,
and this full moon.

Lost aspirations,
the dead spruce statues—bleached bones
still reaching for stars.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. There is a lot to unpack here. I am sure Mainone worked very hard to make these poems sing, despite the effortless flow readers enjoy. I think we all benefit from the study of this work, even if we don’t write this way. The book design in beautiful. It is not surprising that this little chapbook enjoyed three printings!

  2. There is a high skill to do any haiku well, and to create haiku in English within a 5-7-5 syllabic count and not lose the poetry in the poem is quite a daunting feat.

    *

    Too often 5-7-5 English syllable haiku are over-wordy despite the few words involved, often contain terrible line breaks, and a verbosity that defeats the point of haiku.

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    Robert Mainone creates beauty in his 575 haiku maintaining the poetry often sacrificed in other attempts, and melding brevity and timelessness.

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    Unforgettable–
    that dream of autumn color
    where I used to live

    *

    So dark tonight,
    even mosquitoes must be
    bumping into things.

    *

    After the rainstorm
    only one bird is crying
    somewhere far away.

    *

    warm regards,

    Alan

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