April is National Poetry Month, and there is no better way to celebrate than to read Abigail Friedman's The Haiku Apprentice: Memoirs of Writing Poetry in Japan, a June 2006 Book Sense Pick and a recent Finalist for the Kiriyama Prize. Two new reviews highlight different aspects of this remarkable exploration of haiku as a down-to-earth life path:
Imagine picking up yet another learning-to-write-haiku book and quickly discovering it is a page-turner...Friedman keenly felt the contrast between writing haiku and foreignservice dispatches. In haiku she discovered she had to cultivate an awareness of meaning beyond the words...she learned to deal with the personal dimension in haiku.
-Joseph Kirschner in modern HAIKU
The spirit of warmth and common purpose she experiences in that first encounter with the group of 30 or so Japanese men and women immediately engages [Friedman]. The memoir that follows, while not a how-to book in the typical mold, offers so graceful an entry into the pleasures of experiencing haiku it will surely inspire readers interested in trying their own hands at the evocative form.
-Bridget Boylan in the WaterBridge Review
(This issue of the WaterBridge Review features reviews of the2007 Kiriyama Finalist books.)