The Wonder Code by Scott Mason

Scott Mason is a widely published haiku poet from the United States who has won many haiku awards over the past 15 years. Since 2010 Scott has also volunteered as an editor with the popular haiku journal, The Heron’s Nest. Scott’s new book, published by Girasole Press, is titled The Wonder Code.

The Wonder Code offers a series of essays by Scott, each of which is supported and amplified by a substantial selection of haiku drawn from issues of The Heron’s Nest.

Wonder Code

Scott’s contention in The Wonder Code is that ‘wonder abounds’ in this world and that viewing life through ‘haiku eyes’ provides a way for us to notice and appreciate that wonder more often, and more intimately.

Each of the five essays in The Wonder Code is relatively short, inviting us to: consider the small things in life, experience each of our senses, feel the moment, prepare for surprise and marvel at the way all things are connected. If you are new to haiku, you are sure to find inspiration in each of these themes. If you are already familiar with haiku, you might be thinking: these are themes I’ve read about before. But the magic of The Wonder Code is the way Scott’s treatment of these topics inspires a poet to want to write better haiku, while also providing the reader with tools to achieve that goal. After reading The Wonder Code you will want to write haiku that better capture and share the wonder that we experience (through all of our senses) every day.

Scott’s discussion of a world view based on the connections (rather than separation) between things is especially helpful. Being open to the connections between all things provides a basis for portraying small moments in a particularly sensitive and engaging way. To take two examples from the book:

animal skull
the child fingers
her eye

(Tom Painting)

black spider
clutching her egg sac
night wraps around the moon

(Natasha Adams)

I was proud to have a couple of my own haiku appear in The Wonder Code, including one of my earliest published haiku that appeared in The Heron’s Nest in 2003. This haiku appears in the section on ‘surprise’ but, equally, could perhaps have appeared in the section on ‘connectedness’:

time pauses
for a cloud

(Gregory Piko)

Congratulations to Scott Mason on producing a book that will be of interest to novice and experienced haiku practitioners alike, as well as to anyone who enjoys reading haiku. Copies of the book can be purchased from The Wonder Code website.