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Book of the Week: River


Phyllis Walsh was an early advocate of viewing haiku in the context of other forms of short poetry, and this charming chapbook from 1993 (Hummingbird Press) is one of the few published haiku sequences in English.

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.

river draindown— cries of killdeer killdeer over the drying marsh
gray skies pour down daughter’s lentils boil over and over
the river]s power sweeps along brush and trees to clog the footbridge
beyond his iv drip I see the lake
bringing more rosebuds rainstorms that scattered wild rose petals
rings from dripping birch widen to intersect— the river's stillness

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Here is the reference for the second book I mentioned in my previous comment:

    Lorine Niedecker: The Solitary Plover, by Phyllis Walsh (1992, Juniper Press; Richland Center, Wisconsin).

    I posted a short review for this book on Amazon in 2011 and updated this year. My comment here this week repeats some of my summary there.

    Also quoted what Phyllis Walsh said in her book, about Lorine Niedecker:

    “Her genius lies in the clarity of vision she brings to the most common objects and experiences.”

    * * *

    Interesting to track connections. I found Modern Haiku through a Poet’s Market book in the early 1990s; the journal in turn introduced me to books by vincent tripi, who told me about Hummingbird, since I also am from Wisconsin.

    * * *

  2. Wonderful to see and read River, by Phyllis Walsh, again – poet, editor, and publisher from Wisconsin USA. As Jim Kacian says in this post, she viewed haiku in the context of other short forms of poetry.

    Phyllis Walsh founded Hummingbird, Magazine of the Short Poem in 1990. I had heard of Lorine Niedecker, also from Wisconsin, but only a little. Then I read Niedecker’s short poems in Hummingbird, and Phyllis also wrote a book about her many years ago.

    CX Dillhunt is now the Editor of Hummingbird (from Madison, Wisconsin), and there are others on their staff. David Kopitzke continues as the Art Editor.

    To write this comment, I found the two anthology issues of Hummingbird (June and December 2013), to add some dates:

    Phyllis Anne Vosburg Walsh was born on November 4, 1928 in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, and she died on September 4, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Thanks to THF for this Monday feature and many posts and programs. Ellen

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