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Volume 35.1
Spring 2004


book review:

Lost Heian
by Stephen Henry Gill & Hisashi Miyazaki


reviewed by Lee Gurga

Lost Heian, edited by Stephen Henry Gill and Hisashi Miyazaki (Kansai, Japan: Hailstone Haiku Circle, 2003). 104 unnumbered pages; 13 cm x 18 cm; perfectbound. ISBN 4-9900822-1-4. $10.00 postpaid from Hisashi Miyazaki, 54-16 Hamuro-cho, Takatsuki-shi, Osaka 569-1147, Japan.

Lost Heian presents haiku and haiku-like poems by forty-four members of the Kyoto- and Osaka-based Hailstone Haiku Circle. It also contains a foreword by Gill, a note on translation by Miyazaki, an afterword by Robert MacLean, and a renga composed by several of the poets. The work of many talented poets, Japanese and Western, is presented here.

For those who don’t read Japanese, Lost Heian provides an interesting view into the Japanese master system. Many of the poets here have been influenced by Gill and his haiqua (four-line form) that he has been, as he says, “actively promoting as a teacher.” Of the form, Gill writes,

“the four lines of a haiku quatrain allow for slightly more imagery, a slower delivery of information, more scope for kireji-like cutting, and bring haiku one step closer to other forms of poetry.”

One of Gill’s, writing as Tito:

Weeping with the long rain
As before, old cherry,
Even now come galaxy
Of pink stars

To this reader, a poem such as this with its twenty-two syllables, nostalgic mood, and metaphor for the cherry blossoms is closer to tanka than to haiku. Compare it with the following, also by Gill:

A lorry-load of camels
With disdain peering into
The modern world

How refreshing this camel ride is after Old Man Cherry! In spite of Gill’s emphasis on haiqua, there is a wide variety of form and poetic sensibility here. Two pond haiku:

To a small pond
borne by the evening breeze . . .
fragrance of acacia

Akito Mori

from the old pond
a frog jumps out—
covered with duckweed

Michio Sano

I for one will look forward to seeing more work from these talented poets.



©2004 Modern Haiku • PO Box 68 • Lincoln, IL 62656