The Signature Haiku Anthology: Including Senryu and Tanka was published earlier this year by Middle Island Press.
Editor, Robert Epstein, describes a signature poem as ‘a unique and authentic expression of one’s haiku spirit or sensibility’. Acknowledging that many of a writer’s poems reflect their poetic spirit, he argues a poet will often have one particular poem that is most close to their heart, a poem by which they would wish to be remembered, a poem that best depicts their poetic voice.
Each poet was asked to select their own signature poem and was also invited, if they wished, to contribute a short commentary providing background on the poem. In the event, many writers did provide commentary and many simply allowed the poem to stand alone. This balance actually resulted in a very readable book containing many interesting ‘back stories’, but without overpowering the poetry.
Some writers selected their most awarded and anthologised poem, while others chose a poem that best captured their poetic style, or portrayed a place or event of deep personal importance. Whether an individual poem is sad, funny or thoughtful, you can feel the importance of the poem to the writer, which makes each poem that much more meaningful to the reader.
Here are several haiku from the collection. Together, these poems reflect a delicate appreciation of the natural world and the impermanence of life in all its forms:
a deep gorge . . .
some of the silence
a deceased friend
taps me on the shoulder – –
plum blossoms falling
I’ll leave this world
I am here or not
At 255 pages, The Signature Haiku Anthology offers a sizable collection of good poems in a very readable format. You can get a copy from Amazon.