Early Evening Pieces is the eighth book by Canadian
poet Marianne Bluger in a writing career that spans over
two decades. She is known also as an award-winning tanka
poet and imagist lyric poet, and her new title features
a selection of 211 of her new and previously published haiku.
is a lovely book to look at with its glossy full-color cover,
the reserved and elegant typefaces and creamy paper in the
books interior. The haiku are divided into nine sections
with section headings such as Snowblind and
Sweetgrass. At four haiku per page there is
generous white space for each haiku to breathe. High production
values set the stage.
The title Early Evening Pieces reflects Blugers
sensitivity to the measure of light and darkness at the
close of day, for example:
last ember dies
a chill takes the house
soft breezes shifting
in this unraveling mist
in the trees
tonight by one bare bulb
I pack the shadows
qualify as haiku, written with a deft and delicate hand,
and they reinforce the titled reference to early evening.
There are other examples that detract from the mood, however,
such as: on black ice/the ridiculous dance/before my ass
lands or the remains/under roadside pines/of someones
Mclunch. Subtle humor certainly has its place in haiku,
but arguably these are senryu.
there could be some debate with regards to the inclusion
of the following mini-narratives and declarative sentences
that are written haiku-like in three lines:
where I found that rare moth
they are moving the earth
beside the black waters
where dragonflies hover
poems is part and parcel of being a poet. The following
poems appeared in The Herons Nest in 2001,
but weaker versions made their way into Early Evening
along a sand path winding
Evening Pieces (16)
a sand path winding
Herons Nest 3:4
into the gorge where a boxcar rusts
Evening Pieces (34)
a leaf floats in the gorge
where a boxcar rusts
Herons Nest 3:5
will delight in Blugers specificity. A veteran birder,
she depends on her readers familiarity with eiders,
gannets, bitterns, and kingfishers to elicit a knowing response.
This is evidence of a mature trust the poet has in her audience.
This trust extends to other subject matter as well. Consider
the following haiku.
as I dust the piano
Blugers confidence and connection to her surroundings
make reading Early Evening Pieces a rewarding journey.