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Book of the Week: To Make a World: One Hundred Haiku and One Waka by James Liguri

A native of Long Island, James Luguri (1947-1985) left home at the age of thirteen to enter a Carmelite community. After ten years he left the order and completed his education in Berkeley, California, receiving advanced degrees at the Graduate Theological Union and the University of California. His principal forms of expression were haiku and aphorism, although he also wrote many longer poems and translated several works of Rainer Maria Rilke.

To become detached,
only consider the tiny
green caterpillar
grown content to make a world
of one swaying grassblade.

Not asking their names,
not trying to remember:

Morning street:
birds know a neighborhood
mostly by the trees.

Chopping down the tree,
I watch it still itself
each time I pause.

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 2016 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.

To Make a World

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Thanks Keith for reading his poetry, I wanted to feature his book as a way to honor James’s life, he definitely took the road less travelled to follow his calling in life.

  2. Interesting in several ways. The haiku seem almost from an older period than just forty years ago. Statements, aphorisms, personification, and ego all instanced. Some of these sound rather clunky. Luguri exercises many tropes and memes:

    Further into them
    and still further into them:
    spring woods.

    Honkadori, or shameless borrowing from Santoka? …

    Wake-itte mo wake-itte mo aoi yama

    Going further into them,-
    And further into them,
    Still more green mountains.
    Santoka tr. Blyth

    I think you’ve picked the best ones. I noticed also:

    All Souls’ Day
    helping up my mother
    from her mother’s grave

    Thanks, Dan, for giving us such a wide range of material from your shelves.

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