Vol. 12, No 20, Summer 2015
Vol. 11, No. 19, Winter 2014
Vol. 11, No. 18, Spring 2014
Vol. 10, No. 17, Summer 2013
Vol. 9, No. 16, Summer 2013
Vol. 8, No. 15, Winter 2011
Vol. 8, No. 14, Summer 2011
Guy Simser, Canada
Published by the author, Raffael de Gruttola
Natick, Mass., USA, 2014
139 pages, perfect bound, glossy art cover, with B/W & six haiga included.
This Japanese poetry form book is chock-a-block full with a wide variety of Japanese poetic form poetry. In addition to de Gruttola’s multi-form poems (Haiku, Concrete, Tanka, Renga, Tan Renga, Junicho Renga and Haiga) the book includes an Introduction by Karen Klein (poet and former secretary of HSA), a Note from the Poet (Why Haiku), an Afterword by Judson Evans, and finally a list of Other Works by the author. Consequently, this book has the air of Gruttola’s “life’s work” about it. For this short review, I will select something from Karen Klein’s introduction and the Afterword by Judson Evans. Then follow with two selections of my choice to give some idea of the contents.
Karen Klein draws attention to the wide ranging subject matter in Gruttola’s poems and the fact that his work bridges both the classic and “modern” haiku style and content. Given the many years of writing haiku, this should not be a surprise. Poets of Grutolla’s age grew up initially with the Basho/Buson/Issa phase of haiku writing in North America. Here is one poem Klein selects in the “modern” haiku genre: computer window / the face of down time. Judson Evans refers to Gruttola’s work in this book as “His sophisticated haiku wear their knowledge of the modernist and post-modern tradition lightly while negotiating a unique stance between sensory immediacy and philosophical savvy.”
As for Gruttola’s poems: My selection of the most notable haiku follows:
in the chapel
lost in the stained glass
It was chosen for the following reasons 1) seasonal 2) action based 3) rhythm 4) dreaming room (ambiguity of “who” is lost) 5) inference of “we’re all God’s creatures.” This haiku was written as a tribute to Nick Virgilio. I believe he would be pleased.
My second selection follows:
the music box ballerina stops
First publication: Haiku Canada Review , 9:2, October 2015.
Republished by the author’s permission.