Practice, by Tom Painting (Wethersfield, Conn.:
Bottle Rockets Press, 2004). 39 pages; 4½ x 5.75
½; paperback, saddle-stapled; $6.00 postpaid (USA)
from the publisher at PO Box 290691, Wethersfield,
if Tom Paintings name did not regularly appear
in our most popular haiku journals, most of us feel
we know him because of his years of service to the
haiku community, particularly through the Haiku
Society of America. I feel I know him better because
of this new collection. He writes the sort of haiku
and senryu that immediately resonate on so many
levels with so many readers.
the moment I opened this little chapbook, it took
on a life of its own. On the inside cover, a hymnal
version of Ode to Joy fairly insists
on being propped on the piano and played as a sort
of audio fanfare for the enjoyable contents to come.
The 35 poems that follow, one per page, are pure
Painting. It was a pleasure to encounter many favorites,
particularly those gathered in several editions
of the Red Moon Anthology and in a New Resonance
2: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku.
were only a few selections I thought were a bit
weak, lacking the strong juxtaposition found in
most of Paintings work. For example:
though, this is a solid collection. There is poignancy,
wonder, sad-ness, moving glimpses into a fellow
poets life journey, and so much more.
are wonderful plays on meaning that lend several
liberally sprinkled throughout, there are abundant
opportunities to smile in appreciation, and
with shared amusement.