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Book of the Week: The Cottage of Wild Plum

spiess_thecottageofwildplumcoverRobert Spiess is, of course, one of the most revered figures in English-language haiku. He was a surprisingly varied stylist, and this volume (Modern Haiku Press, 1991) shows him at his most inventive.

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.


forebearing to take a branch in flower, i bring you songs of wild plum
an unspoken love — i envy the oriole that sings that sings
buddha icon stolen iris
[saith the weasel] ‘My instinct to kill more chickens than i can eat — O Lord, such a thrill!’
learning its name the thief stretches forth his hand jewelweed!
prayed-for rains arrive — but what other places, Lord, did you thus deprive?

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I enjoyed reading this book again this morning. Rereading a book years later is a blessing, and a good book stays new. I discovered Modern Haiku, when Robert Spiess was editor, in the early 1990s, through Poet’s Market. I think I must have subscribed at first, because he published from Madison, Wisconsin (where I lived once upon a time for four years). I was growing a new chapter in life and searching for connections, the old to the new.

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    There are many connections in The Cottage of Wild Plum, as along with his varied poems, as Jim Kacian observed, Bob Spiess quotes from other sources in literature. I also enjoyed seeing paintings by John R. Reynolds again.

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    It has been wonderful to see how new editors, poets, and artists have continued with Modern Haiku all these years. Varied styles here too, yet the same journal in many ways, with Bob’s legacy always honored. I’m sure others could add much more to this comment; I write here simply as a reader of the journal.

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    Thank you

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