January 1, 2015
Autumn Moon, Editor
Rusty Barbedwire, Assistant Editor
© 2015 ISSN (pending)
Speed Bump is published four times a year, on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.
From the Editor
A hearty thanks to all who have helped and encouraged our little project, and I do mean little. My aim is to provide a small, quiet, little place to house a few worthy haiku and senryu. We will also do a limited number of book reviews. With permission from our authors, we may also use some of the poems published in Speed Bump as promotional items, such as bookmarks and booklets, to be distributed for free, at public libraries, to raise awareness of haiku and senryu as art.
The New Year is barely here, and already we are mourning the very recent sorrows of the past year. How is it possible to have a “Happy New Year”, with airplanes falling out of the sky, tornadoes wrecking whole communities, and massive public distrust of those in authority? How was it ever possible to have a Happy New Year? Is the world really worse, or do we just know more than we used to? I would have to say no, and yes. This is where art, and especially poetry, becomes essential to the survival of humanity. Most of us have some basic knowledge of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We may be reaching an Age where we need to think about turning the triangle upside down. I will admit that I can’t go long without oxygen, or even water, but I could probably go longer without food than without good poetry. Certainly I speak from a position of profound fortune and privilege. People die every day from a lack of basic physiological needs. My hope for the future is that we as humans can get beyond this kind of suffering, and create a world where poetry is as important as food. I know that I am not likely to see this in my lifetime, but I find that when I stop hoping for good things, I start to lack motivation to do good things.
I hope that some of you will take the time to introduce just one person to the centering practice that is haiku. Maybe this person will be a complete stranger, or someone you know very well. You will know when the time is right.
Ram Looking Foward to 2015, A.M.
Haiku and Senryu A Simple Guide for All © Charlotte Digregorio 2014
I read a few reviews of this book before I was asked to do a review. I was ready to purchase a copy before the review copy was kindly offered to me by Charlotte. What luck! This useful book lives up to the promise of its title. It is an example of what can happen when we embrace the concept of “beginner’s mind”. As Shunryu Suzuki said in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, ” In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” This book is geared toward the beginning or mid-level haiku practitioner, but I would venture to say that anyone could benefit from the simple, clear advice.
If you are very new to haiku and senryu, it is easy to fall into writing habits and concepts that are outdated or incorrect. Many “learned” teachers have not updated their haiku scholarship, and they continue to dole out globs of petrified advice. Digregorio offers time-tested, yet fresh and flexible pedagogy. This is especially appreciable in chapter six, in which she offers actual leson plans for those who may wish to teach haiku themselves. There is also a very helpful chapter for the beginner who may be unsure how to go about submitting work for the first time.
Intermediate and advanced practitioners will benefit from reminders of simple concepts perhaps long forgotten, or in some cases, never learned. We are given new ways to think about the poetry we read. This leads to an opening of the mind and a fresh perspective for those of us who sometimes experience a dulling of our poetic palate. Digregorio encourages us to eat the sorbet between courses.
The author is very clear that she does not intend this to be a book of haiku history. She does offers a bibliography of scholarly works, journals, and various other media which may contain some surprises, even for experienced writers.
The appendices contain numerous examples of Digregorio’s own work, such as:
second time around . . .
carrying my trousseau
in cardboard boxes
leaving the bank
with six figures
on the odometer
To order an autographed copy, send $19.95 plus $4.00 USPS Media Rate Shipping and Handling per book. Make checks payable to Artful Communicators Press.
Artful Communicators Press, P.O. Box 25, Winnetka, IL 60093-0025, USA Phone: 847-881-2664
firstname.lastname@example.org ISBN: 978-0-9912139-0-0