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Book of the Week: Prelude to Life: Prelude a la Vie



Today’s Book of the Week is Prélude à la Vie (Prelude to Life), by French poet Georges Friedenkraft, published by Pecadilles in 1997.

In his professional life, Friedenkraft (a pseudonym) is the emeritus director of research at The French National Center of Scientific Research. As poet, Friedenkraft has published widely in various Japanese short forms and has won several major prizes, including the Prix Blaise Cendrars, awarded him in 2002 by the Society of French Poets.

In this book of haiku, written in French, and translated into English by Brian Fergusson, he follows the three line, 5-7-5 format strictly. Despite the tendency toward verbose, over-packed haiku that often results from this, his haiku generally offer us a combination of closely observed natural detail and lush, French sensuality that is refreshing.

Striving to construe
the hidden language of flowers
I have lost my way


Through the grassy sward
the rock basks in April sun
just like your hip bone


Sated and drunk on
the bitter grapes of autumn
lost in reverie

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

Do you have a chapbook published 2010 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 THF Digital Librarian Garry Eaton, and are used with permission.


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