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 Table of Contents
XV:2, June, 2000
LYNX  
A Journal for Linking Poets    
 
   
  In this issue of Lynx you will find book reviews or mentions of:

AN-KON-KA Requiem by Choko Ishigaki. To obtain this book contact the author: seiwaemi@osk3.
3web.ne.jp or visit her website: http://www4.osk.3web.
ne.jp/~seiwaemi

coda by annie mckay. Windchimes Press:2000.  Order from anne mckay, studio b, 1506 Victoria Drive, Vancouver, BC V5L-2Y9, Canada.

Cold Waves: A life of Tanka by Anna Holley, translated into the Japanese by Aya Yuhki. Ashi Press:2000.  Ashi Press, 6162 Lakeshore, Dallas, TX 75214 or from Aya Kuhki, 2-9-4 Fujimi, Sayama-shi T3055-1306, Japan.

In Due Season: A discussion of the role of kigo in English-language haiku. Edited by A. C. Missias. redfox press, pob 186, Philadelphia, PA 19105.

Other Rens by Kris Kondo, Marlene Mountain, and Francine Porad. Vandina Press, 6944 SE 33rd, Mercer Island, WA 98040-3324.

The Love Way of Life by Dan Pugh. Hub Editions, Longholm, East Bank, Wingland, Sutton Bridge, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE12 9YS, England.

Across the Windharp: Collected and New Haiku by Elizabeth Searle Lamb. Order from Elizabeth Searle Lamb, 970 Acequia Madre, Santa Fe, NM 87501.

A Scarecrow in the Snow by Alexksander Pavic. English and Serbian. Can be ordered from Aleksander Pavic, Sutjesks 66, 21432 Gajdobrs, Yugoslavia. You can contact the author: spiroska@ptt.yu

Family Farm: Haiku for a Place of Moons by Carol Purington. Illustrations by Shirley L. Horn. Orders can be sent to Carol Purington, 152 Wilson Hill Road, Colrain, MA, 01340; or to Winfred Press, 364 Wilson Hill Road, Colrain, MA, 01340.

The Art of Haiku 2000 edited by Gerald England. New Hope International, 20 Werneth Ave., Gee Cross, Hyde, SK14 5NL, England.

 

 

 

    BOOK REVIEWS
Jane  & Werner Reichhold

AN-KON-KA Requiem by Choko Ishigaki. Bilingual Japanese and English. Hard cover with dust jacket. 338 pages, 8 x 6 inches. To obtain this book contact the author: seiwaemi@osk3.3web.ne.jp or visit her website: http://www4.osk.3web.ne.jp/~seiwaemi

Imagine, if you can, in 1930 a young Chinese student comes to Japan to study agriculture and falls in love with the precious daughter of a talented Japanese couple. Pregnant with their love child, the Japanese girl follows her student-lover back to northeast China, in Shenyang, his homeland where he is already married and the father of two children.

Visualize, then, this young man, adept at languages, is conscripted by Japanese fighting with Chinese in what is now called the Lukouchiao Incident. On a peace mission hoping to negotiate a truce, the young student translator is shot under a bridge with the attending Japanese when the mediations fail. The Chinese man's body is returned to his family and the Japanese woman returns to Japan where her child is registered as the child of her parents. As this child grows up, with the name Emiko Hannah Ishigaki, the mother steadfastly refuses to discuss anything about the missing father. Though the mother burned all the photographs of the father, the diligent child finds three which she carefully hoards as evidence that she had a good and handsome father. When Emiko prepares to marry, the mother, now demands the return of the photos which she promptly burns. Emiko follows her mother's talents (she was a school teacher for over 40 years) becoming the Dean of Graduate School, Seiwa College, Professor of Early Childhood Education.

Imagine this woman at fifty years of age, now divorced after 29 years of marriage, determined to find and reclaim her long lost father. Her search leads her to the Tokyo University Faculty of Agriculture where she actually finds on file the 128 page dissertation written in her father's own hand . Locating this remnant of her life, the brave woman sets out to find his family in China which she does with varying results. As she soon learns, the man who refused the truce, and therefore ordered the shooting of her father is now a famous hero in China! Accidentally she visits China on the fiftieth anniversary year of this incident which has the effect of making the average Chinese person more anti-Japanese than normal. As she searches for her father, people spit on her for seeming to be Japanese - unaware that half of her ancestors are Chinese like themselves.

In this discouragement, Emiko meets her half-sister, Lui Yuging, who was born only three months after her own birth. The family trait of outstanding language abilities inherited from their common father smoothes the path between these sisters who have never met. They converse in English! because the Chinese sister is a Professor of English at the Institute of Medicine and Pharmacy, Beijing Comprehensive University. As if to wipe away the racial slurs of the others, the two sisters share an instant liking for one another. Together they find their father's grave tumulus, actually touch the old cameras he had collected and visit the site on the river where he was shot.

Through all of this, Emiko, as Choko Ishigaki is writing out her heart in tanka. Brave and determined as wounded children must be, she decides to publish these poems in Japanese and Chinese as a way of healing for her father, herself and the people of these two countries. An unbelievable amount of hindrance is thrown onto her path. Finally, beaten down, but still determined to care for and share her tanka, she translates them into English, leaving for now, the Chinese version until the painful things she speaks about can be given Chinese words.

This is her book. An-kon-ka Requiem. Bilingual. Many hearted. Healing. Difficult. A lamp and guide for every person seeking to heal a damaged childhood. This is a how-to book for survivors. Honest. Heart-wrenchingly painful with determination, brightness and love - all in tanka.

my half-sister
with no knowledge
of living or visiting abroad
all her good will I accept
and bear all the way

Excellent Foreword by Choko Ishigaki's tanka teacher and mentor - Fumi Aoi written with deep understanding, sympathy and insight adding another element of understanding to the poems. Sanford Goldstein's Epilogue attempts to categorize the tanka by comparing her work to his own. However, he does salute her anthology of her tanka as being of "high excitement and profound fellowship".

coda by annie mckay. Windchimes Press:2000. Saddle-stapled, 4 x 7 inches, 60 pp., $5.00. Order from anne mckay, studio b, 1506 Victoria Drive, Vancouver, BC V5L-2Y9, Canada.

Anne McKay has written and published so many books of her poetry that she has graduated to the ranks of those who must seek new ways of making their poetry connected to the existing world literature. Since one cannot connect to all those points at once, (the physical plane has its drawbacks), one can do as Anne McKay did. She searched through the books of her reading, lifting out those gemstones of enlightenment that spoke directly to her. What a treasure house she has assembled from such favorite authors as Rilke, Loraine Neidecker, John Steinbeck, Leonard Cohen and Theodore Roethke as well as many names new to me. To each of these quotations, McKay has added a line or two of her own poetry in the best linking techniques. Sometime her line seems to answer or complete the question or quote and at other times she makes a leap, pulling her reader into a new awareness of the dimensions of the quoted original lines. Strong and sure of her practiced voice, McKay is capable of holding her own in this bouquet of various and varied best-of-the-best picks. The undercurrent of her strength and vision binds the wide ranging excerpts into a homogenous book bound by the earthy-colored paper and brown-toned inks. Not every one can pull off such a feat of placing their own work next to that of the 'greats' of a culture, but McKay does it and does it so beautifully one feels it was very easy. See?

i knew a woman
lovely in her bones . . . Theodore Roethke

morning face evening face different with shadow - Anne McKay

Cold Waves: A life of Tanka by Anna Holley, translated into the Japanese by Aya Yuhki. Ashi Press:2000. Perfect bound, 94 pp., 8 x 5 inches, $10.00 + $2.00 s&h from Ashi Press, 6162 Lakeshore, Dallas, TX 75214 or from Aya Kuhki, 2-9-4 Fujimi, Sayama-shi T3055-1306, Japan.

Anna Holley deserves more credit for her work in tanka. She was one of the earliest women in America writing and publishing her tanka in English. Yes, for this she should be honored but also for much more. There is the astounding quality of her tanka. I can easily say that none of us writing in this form are as accomplished as Anna Holley.

None. Her haiku, in her book White Crow Haiku, was never hailed as the carrier of unworldly perfected ku that they are. Anna Holley understands and uses linkage as no other writer. She never gets carried away by her desire to say 'something' to the point that she ignores the tanka (and haiku) techniques which seem to be second nature to her. Each of her ku are carefully constructed, polished down to the last and final word, in her own inimitable way.

This "her way" is what makes this book possible. Because from the beginning of her haiku writing Anna Holley has exemplified in English, the closest approximation of ku written in Japanese without consideration for syllable count. Let me explain. Most English tanka writers (and I include myself in this sad group), when given the 'extra' two lines of tanka, as compared to haiku, seemed to take this freedom to extend their poems using up to (and occasionally beyond) 31 English syllables. We all know this method makes a poem which is 'overfilled' with images and events when compared to the amount of information within a Japanese tanka. Therefore, it is extremely hard to translate English tanka into Japanese simply because they are fat, overburdened and lacking the spare beauty the Japanese admire in their own work.

By making her tanka so close to the Japanese example (I believe this happened 'naturally' only because Anna is the person she is) her tanka are translatable. Able Aya Kuhki, who has also recently had a book of her translations of Father Neal Henry Lawrence's published was the ideal person to collaborate with Anna Holley. A hard worker, Aya Kuhki lent her considerable talents and in record time had translated the 90 tanka into romaji and kanji. Each page contains a poem in these three versions. The poems are presented according to seasons. The book is beautifully made - completely professional - worthy of being sold from any bookstore.

Anna Holley's voice, from her poems, often seems burdened with intense longing, pain and disappointment. It is as if her unhappiness has etched each of her poems on her very being. Nothing is light, humorous, or frivolous as she questions every part of her existence.

what sorrow
has left its mark
on the sky?
white as a scar
the moon of today

ikanaran
kanashimi ga shirushi
tsuketaru ya
hiruzuki shiroku
kizu no yoonaru

What an accomplishment this book is! Congratulations to both of these women!

In Due Season: A discussion of the role of kigo in English-language haiku. Edited by A. C. Missias. redfox press, pob 186, Philadelphia, PA 19105. Published in connection with Acorn No. 4; spring, 2000. Staple-spine, 7 x 4, 68 pp., supplemental volumes = $6.00 each. Yearly subscription to Acorn = $9.50.

As an enriching supplement to her haiku magazine, Acorn, A. C. Missias invited five persons (Charles Trumbull, Dhugal Lindsay, Michael Dylan Welch, Jim Kacian and Jane Reichhold) to write essays on the subject of the use, importance, place of and future of the Japanese haiku practice of the kigo word - or in English - the season word. Because most groups teaching haiku in English failed to comprehend or pass along the importance of anchoring a haiku in nature - or even how to do this properly - a great many English three-liners that we call 'haiku' would be deemed by Japanese to be non-haiku. As the globalization of haiku continues, more and more people are seeing that a grave error has been made. The problem is how to correct it, or maybe "should it be corrected?" and if so, how. Also in haiku's English past, the kigo has been used as a stick whacking the uninitiated and flicking aside the unworthy haiku attempt. Because these season words are arbitrarily picked by a culture foreign to us, we cannot depend on our own native intelligence about which animal or flower is related to which season, but are required to learn the lists of seasonal words which have evolved out of 400 years of haiku writing centralized in Tokyo, Japan.

This gave rise to a group who 'knew' the correct words for each season (those who knew Japanese and could read their saijiki (dictionaries of season words) and all the rest of us idiots goofing up this fine genre. Beginning in the late 1970s the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society rigorously followed the use of season words as derived from their translated lists. In 1990, the influence widened with Koko Kato's first International Season Word Book, my own A Dictionary of Haiku, and then William J. Higginson's Haiku Almanac. From these books English writers now have a basis to begin to determine season words. Fortunately none of these 'experts' agree so there is still enough space for each writer to form his or her own list (a danger akin to bungee-jumping). The end result is more English-language haiku writers are gaining an appreciation for season words and slowly, but hopefully - surely, incorporating them into the new work.

A. C. Missias recognized that no one person was an expert on the subject, so she wisely invited these five authors to explore the new terrortory (sic) - each from their own perspective. It is a pretty interesting book, if I may say so, myself. I learned a lot from reading it and think you might also. A. C. not only kept peace and appreciation among some very opinionated authors, she made a beautiful book that fits perfectly into your hand that is full of wisdom.

Other Rens by Kris Kondo, Marlene Mountain, and Francine Porad. Vandina Press:2000. Flat-spined, 5.5  x 5.5 inches, 88 pp., full-color illustrations by each author/artist. $15.95. Order from Vandina Press, 6944 SE 33rd, Mercer Island, WA 98040-3324.

There's an activity growing since writers decided to try out different kinds of symbiotic work. Other Rens is certainly part of this movement and, as one learns - with great success. Again - and it doesn't seem to be accidentally, experienced women writers are taking the initiative. Here, twenty-three compositions, each containing 6 links written as one-liners, are set into 3 different chapters titled well that's life, true friends and a palette of colors. The titles function as themes, but leaving a wide range of interpretations for the reader. Very positive, in a sense meant more poetically, so that the chapters' single works can stretch out into all kinds of directions, actually one may state without limitations. The seventeen 6-liners together are building a kind of a 'symbiotic sequence'.

The artwork in this very beautifully produced book is done by Marlene Mountain, Kris Kondo and Francine Porad. Each of the paintings are reproduced in color. They represent some of the best works of those artist, they maintain their own quality, are not meant as simply illustrations and with all of their own strength, they fit well into this book

The reader has the pleasure to watch the development of bigger collaborative works. We remember the books of Alexis Rotella / Florence Miller, Alexis Rotella / Carlos Colon, each of the books a composition in itself. If this trend composing several single collaborations into a bigger correlation keeps going on, we can probably attract a growing number of publishers in main stream poetry. Additional developments are appearing on the internet, in case you like to browse related sites.

 

The Love Way of Life by Dan Pugh. Hub Editions, 2000. Flat-spine, 8 x 5 inches, 80 pp., no price listed. Check with Hub Editions, Longholm, East Bank, Wingland, Sutton Bridge, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE12 9YS, England.

As Dan Pugh writes in the Introduction, "The Love Way of Life is a very free adaptation into the tanka form of, the sacred book of those who follow the teachings attributed to an older contemporary of Confucius, whose name is variously rendered in English as Lao-tze, Lao Tsu. . . This work is not a translation of Tao Te Ching. . . "

Having cleared himself of this responsibility, Pugh goes forth to blend what we understand to be ancient Chinese philosophical 'truths' with the greatest and or most questionable 'truths' of Christianity - the power of love. All of this is done in strict syllable count - the only relationship the poems have to tanka. Pugh seems to be carried aloft in his religious fervor losing all sense of poetry and especially an understanding of the tanka genre.

Still one has to have respect for this man of venerable years who is inspired and able to bring his philosophy of the world into the this tiny poetical form.

HAIKU MENTIONS

Across the Windharp: Collected and New Haiku by Elizabeth Searle Lamb. Preface by William J. Higginson, Introduction by Miriam Sagan. La Alameda Press: 2000. Perfect bound, 120 pages, 6 x 8 inches, ISBN: 1-888809-18-3. $12.00 +$2.50 s&h. Order from Elizabeth Searle Lamb, 970 Acequia Madre, Santa Fe, NM 87501.

A collection of haiku gathered from around the world of this haiku-pioneer. Wide-ranging views reduced to the immediacy of three lines.

A Scarecrow in the Snow by Alexksander Pavic. English and Serbian. Stapled, 17 haiku. Can be ordered from Aleksander Pavic, Sutjesks 66, 21432 Gajdobrs, Yugoslavia. You can contact the author: spiroska@ptt.yu

Proof that haiku can accompany poets even into war and retain their basic integrity. Sad, but true.

Family Farm: Haiku for a Place of Moons by Carol Purington. Illustrations by Shirley L. Horn. Winfred Press: 1999. Perfect bound, 100 pp., 30 illustrations, perfect-bound. $12 postpaid. Orders can be sent to Carol Purington, 152 Wilson Hill Road, Colrain, MA, 01340; or to Winfred Press, 364 Wilson Hill Road, Colrain, MA, 01340.

Beautifully crafted haiku each one is a keeper! Be amazed as each ku turns out to be a gem by this very skilled writer. Book production and the illustrations compliment her abilities perfectly.

The Art of Haiku 2000 edited by Gerald England. New Hope International: 2000. Perfect bound, 80 pp., 7.95 (UK): 10(ex-UK). Order from Gerald England, 20 Werneth Ave., Gee Cross, Hyde, SK14 5NL, England.

Articles and examples to act as a guide to the various Oriental genres by Jose Civasaqui, Pamelyn Casto, Steve Sneyd and Elizabeth St. Jacques from an English perspective. This book contains all new material not in the previous The Art of Haiku.

   
   
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  Next Lynx is scheduled for October, 2000.
In-hand deadline is September 1, 2000