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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Haiku is a very ancient form of Japanese poetry. It's basically three lines, but it's defined in the number of syllables per line and the nature of its subject. Haiku may look simple, but it's not. Traditionally, it centered around topics of nature, but its underlying message was much deeper than just a three-line verse on nature. The form is highly descriptive through metaphors and insinuated meanings. Just one Haiku poem can be read repeatedly with different meanings and messages being revealed with each reading.
This is the art of poet Terri Deno in Unfolding Life: A Book of Haiku. She specializes in Haiku and translates this ancient art form to convey some pretty profound and deep messages about life and living in the twenty-first century. Her Book of Haiku looks simple enough, just as the Haiku form itself. And yet, hidden within each tiny verse is a clue to humanity and civilization and all that lives around us. For example:
not her reflection
another staring into
a forgotten soul
These lines reveal many considerations of what we see when we look into a mirror, what another person sees when looking into a mirror, what the world sees when looking into a mirror. And the reader is left with thoughtful ponderings on the nature of our very existence, wondering if we are all just another "forgotten soul".
Another one of Terri's Haiku:
they cannot help you
with a problem purely your
own-let fate decide
And the reader is left with multiple thoughts, ponderings and reflections, not just on his/her own life but also on the world all around.
Complete with simple line drawings by K.R. Smith, this little treasure will demand multiple re-reads, as Terri has taken a seemingly simple form of expression in the ancient art of Haiku poetry to reflect on more profound and deeply thought-provoking suggestions of the contemporary world. Fascinating.