Skip to content

Book of the Week – The Anabasis of Man: Parallel Haiku by Michael O’Brien

From The Haiku Foundation’s Poet Profile – Michael O’Brien is the author of numerous collections, the most recent being Silent Age (Alien Buddha Press). His writing has been published widely in print and on the internet and translated into other languages. An extensive list of these publications can be found here. He is also the curator of Weird Laburnum.

Johannes S. H. Bjerg created the parallel haiku form which was inspired by an email exchange with Grant Hackett. The idea was to have more than one dimension/meaning and additional threads of poetry in a single haiku or poem-unit.

Michael states that “Bjerg’s parallel form, I feel, is an attempt to bring the haiku form forward for the modern mind. I feel the urban dwelling person is, psychologically speaking, almost in a warfare-like state. There is a battery of information and emotions coming at us, and the parallel form reflects this to a large degree.”

He also writes: “the anabasis of man is both parallel in form and its themes. You will see humour and the gravest melancholy juxtaposed. The sleight of hand that is Chaplin’s shoe. Absurdity and nature. This is not an attempt to be clever but rather a way to unpack the world that you and I have inherited. There is no singular emotion or mood taking place. The world is happening now and nothing exists in a vacuum or neutrality. It is often confusing and weird but often beautifully strange.”

dead fish – ancestral sin
a low sun reflects – a low sun reflects
off a tv antenna – an infinity mirror

in the child’s – rain
melody – the rubbish
a dead bear – overtakes me

cherry blossom – disused
throwing out – the lion’s handkerchief
the suicide note – full of station masters

deaf worms – summer bugs
a backbone floats – beyond the boats
into maroon – an arcade cabinet

You can read the entire book in the THF Digital Library and please share your favorite poem from the book with us.

Do you have a chapbook published in 2018 or earlier that 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 Dan Campbell and are used with permission.

Back To Top