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The Program of a Tanka Concert. Mutsuo Shukuya. Folded, 7 x 10", 18 pp. Available from Mutsuo Shukuya, 5-15-11 Matsugaoka, Funabashi, Chiba, Japan.

On July 19th, 1997, an evening of musical interpretation was presented at the American Embassy Residence of Mr. and Mrs. Russ Deming in Tokyo, Japan. Mrs. Kristen Deming has been active in haiku and tanka through her employment as feature writer specializing in poetry and culture for the Japan Times. For this evening various composers set to music the tanka poems of Hojo Nakajima, Father Lawrence, Kristen Deming and tanka written by three other popular writers – Bokusui Wakayama, Shihoko Kitami, and Takuboku Ishikawa. The musicians were: Teruko Ohtaki, soprano; Shuji Abe, tenor; Kei Harada, baritone; Kunio Saura, Bass-baritone; Yuh Ui, piano and Tomoko Warabi, piano. James Kirkup has translated the Japanese tanka into English. Included in the program notes is the welcome by Kristen Deming, remarks by Hojo Nakajima, Father Lawrence (in which he kindly mentions Lynx), James Kirkup and Mutsuo Shukuya.

can I get there by candle (triptych) by anne mckay. wind chimes press. Saddle-stapled, 80 pp., 7 x 4 inches, $6.50. Please order from the author at: studio B, 1506 Victoria Dr., Vancouver, BC V5L-2Y9, CANADA.

This book is pure and precious anne mckay haiku at its best. A treasure you will want to own.

The Light Comes Slowly - Short poems from Kyoto by Edith Shiffert. Illustrations by Kohka Saito. Katsura Press: 1997. Trade paperback, 5.5 x 8.5 inches, 100 pp., $14.95. Katsura Press, POB 275, Lake Oswego, OR 97034.

This is the 15th book by the 82 year old Edith Shiffert, an American living in Kyoto. Maggie Chula and John Hall have done a beautiful job in presenting Edith’s fine haiku (all 5-7-5), arranged by the month, with two or three poems to a page. You may remember Edith as the author (with Yuki Sawa) of Haiku Master Buson.

HAIBUN – Words and Pictures by Vladimir Devidé and Nada Ziljak. Galerija Sv. Ivan Zelina:1997. Hard cover, 6.5 x 10.5 inches. Contact Vilko Ziljak, Masarykova 28, Zagreb, Croatia, for ordering information and price.

This is a very special book. Hard cover bound in green with silver embossed lettering, full color illustrations on every other page, of Nada Ziljak’s artwork which is stunning, but the most special of all are Vladimir Devidé’s haibun. Many authors think haibun are simply haiku with prose wedging them apart. Not so. It takes a very specific way of seeing to find the material for haibun and then the author must learn a new way of writing the prose so that it is prose and not poetry but poetry that dances just above prose. There is a very fine line and Devidé has found it.

By learning first to write excellent haiku, he has applied these techniques to his prose which is not prose but really haibun.

In the same way that haibun gives only the "terminals" from which the reader’s thoughts connect, Nada Ziljak’s artwork functions in a similar manner. Full of light and air, the reader can recognize elements that definitely relate to the haibun, but it requires just the right amount of imagination to complete the pictures as the haibun do.



A Work of Love by Tom Clausen, Tiny Poems Press Chapbook Winner 1997.The booklets of the winners of the chapbook contest are 5.5 x 4.25 inches, staple bound, and available for $3.00 ppd each, or $10 for the set of four postpaid. Hint: go for the whole series. They are truly worth every cent. Order from Tiny Poems Press, 170 Elm Street, Enfield, CT 06082.

Here, an existing language has been chosen by Tom Clausen to enlarge and explain certain spiritual spaces in which a privileged reader can participate. There is, like always, a price for such an experience – the reader somehow has to give up conventional linear thinking and instead has to give into physical and psychic areas where Clausen is not only at home but through several years of hard work also developed his own way of composing 5-liners.

Tom Clausen has the advantage to work as a librarian, which means, he enjoys having constant access to world-literature. With this far reaching education he paved his way into the haiku/tanka/haibun-scene. Now, with Lynx also on-line, his work occurs in circles spreading into another body of resonance.

With this latest composition of forty tanka, A Work of Love, Clausen offers new ways to refer to daily life at a level where the poetical language meets and surpasses the demanding situations we all often would like to stay away from.

Well, with his booklet in a small pocket you may sit in a rowboat at dawn. You are on a trip while already having in mind to go diving; the element you'll chose is the fluid one. Preparing yourself, there is some spare time ahead of you to be filled with something important, right? What's available to be read? Perhaps Clausen's tanka? Here are only three of the works of love:


the envelope to me
sealed carefully with tape
on every seam
when opened, reveals
absolutely nothing

for over a decade
we've talked -
still you want our talk
as much as I want
the silences between

tolerably melancholy
to sit here while the kids play
and be lost in myself -
on a path nearby
she walks in the sun


The Farmer Tends his Land by Janice Bostok, Tiny Poems Press Winner 1997.The booklets of the winners of the chapbook contest are 5.5 x 4.25 inches, staple bound, and available for $3.00 ppd each, or $10 for the set of four postpaid. Hint: go for the whole series. They are truly worth every cent. Order from Tiny Poems Press, 170 Elm Street, Enfield, CT 06082.

Janice Bostok, well-know to Lynx readers with her one line haiku and renga, brings a new twist in her work to capture the Tiny Poems Press Chapbook prize. Her poems, arranged as three-line haiku above a two-line response, could be parts of a renga or read as tanka. A very intelligent move. The mix adds new vitality to the telling of the unique situations in her marriage. She begins with the loss of a stillborn, then a child is born who is retarded and after a long trying period is admitted to an institution. As result, Janice and her husband become estranged. She returns to him after he fails to commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest. All of this has served as her material for her poetry in the past.

However, these new tanka-like poems, with their marvelously generous leaps, march the twice-told tale along at a brisk pace that holds the reader’s interest right to the end of today. She has revisited old hurts with another clarity through the use of a unique genre that displays her old skills. And she has done it well.

tiny coffin
the long winter
is passing
he said it was white
light as he carried it

ending with:


after remarriage
the standing family joke
becomes funny again
home from the institution
our son has grown tall

Books Reviews Copyright © Jane Reichhold 1997.

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