BMJ Reviews

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Review of breaking my journey by Cynthia Rowe (Australia)

Australian author, Cynthia Rowe, has written a review of breaking my journey by Gregory Piko. The full review is available here and on the Australian Haiku Society website. In part, Cynthia says:

With alternately one or two haiku per page, interspersed with the occasional black and white sketch of One Tree to refer to the cover art, this is an impressive book. The poet’s gentle wisdom and acute eye for detail trigger a variety of emotions and responses. Gregory Piko’s poems are deftly crafted and make for a powerful body of work.

I had pleasure in reviewing, and can highly recommend, breaking my journey.

Review of breaking my journey by Sandra Simpson (New Zealand)

New Zealand author, Sandra Simpson, posted a review of my book, breaking my journey on her website. You can read all Sandra’s comments here. The following is an extract:

breaking my journey is the first solo collection from award-winning Australian poet Gregory Piko, and a volume I’m glad to have added to my bookcase.

For me, Greg is a poet on whom I can rely – if I see his name on a haiku, I know it will be worth reading and that a moment of beauty (whether sad, joyous or wistful) will be added to my day.

Haiku are sensual poems and poems of observation and Greg has a deft touch with the telling detail and with choosing the right word.

Kokako reviews breaking my journey (New Zealand)

Patricia Prime is co-editor of the New Zealand journal, Kokako. Issue 35 (2021) of Kokako included a review by Patricia Prime of my book, breaking my journey. Here is some of what Patricia said:

These poems are compelling – bright, colourful and addictive. They have their own heightened reality and identity. Over the years, Piko’s work has become more brightly coloured and individualistic. breaking my journey is more than an attractive haiku book. It is a tribute to Piko’s achievement as a poet who is intimate with the natural world in a format that compliments his ideas.

Presence reviews breaking my journey (United Kingdom)

The respected British journal Presence (#71, November 2021) included a review written by English poet, Julie Mellor. In part, Julie said:

One of the most important themes seems to be that of a writer moving towards old age. In the face of death, there is a need to pause, to take stock:

my journey
this pine

snowy owl
I’ll leave this world

The collection intersperses a couple of haibun and haiku sequences, but for me it’s the individual haiku, particularly the ones that convey a sense of time passing, which have the deepest resonance:

grandpa’s window
we touch raindrops
from the other side

a crow at dusk
ink sinks deeper
into the page

Ultimately, it was these poems that stayed with me long after I had finished the book.

Modern Haiku reviews breaking my journey (USA)

Established in 1969, Modern Haiku is one of the world’s longest running, most well regarded, English-language haiku journals. Reviewer, Michele Root-Bernstein, had this to say about breaking my journey in Volume 52.2 (Summer 2021) of Modern Haiku:

Gregory Piko presents some one hundred haiku that radiate with sensual appreciation for the prime of life. There are joys here, as well as shadows, and still so much remains to be fully lived. With Piko as our guide we feel again how imperative it is to “learn again to be a child”, “warm to a stranger”, “straighten the Southern Cross”, make love, make poems, dwell.

Each finely observed moment has us remembering our own “butterfly, still safe / under his steel pin”.

Frogpond reviews breaking my journey (USA)

Frogpond is the journal of the Haiku Society of America. Volume 44.2 (2021) included a review by Laurie D. Morrissey of breaking my journey. Among other things, Laurie noted:

The collection is enhanced by Piko’s use of the honkadori technique. Haiku Commentary Online’s Haikai Glossary defines honkadori as “…a poem alluding to another poem. They are commonly written out of respect and are nods to carrying on a tradition of themes.” Piko’s haibun “Near a Station of the Metro” refers to Ezra Pound’s famous one-image poem. In his end notes, Piko explains that one haiku relates to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and others relate to poems by Matsuo Bashō, William Carlos Williams, and Cor van den Heuvel.