BUB Reviews

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Review of Blowing Up Balloons by Lyn Reeves (Australia)

Australian poet, Lyn Reeves, has written a review of Blowing Up Balloons by Vanessa Proctor and Gregory Piko which is available on the Australian Haiku Society website. In part, Lyn says:

Blowing up Balloons is, according to its subtitle, intended for parents. In fact, it deserves a wider audience, being the work of two highly proficient and much-acclaimed poets. Those new to writing haiku can learn a lot from studying the way these poems are crafted to achieve impact, creating worlds of meaning with minimum words. It is an elegantly presented collection, easy to hold and to read, with bright primary colours on the cover and delicate, whimsical abstracts of balloons interspersed throughout.

Kokako Reviews BUB (New Zealand)

Kokako 27

Issue 27 of the respected New Zealand journal, Kokako, included an extended review of Blowing Up Balloons (BUB) by Vanessa Proctor and Gregory Piko. The review was written by widely published poet from Auckland, Tony Beyer. Here is some of what Tony said about BUB:

Neither the title nor the subtitle (with its sly pun) of this entertaining book should persuade readers to dismiss it as a charming compendium of cuteness.

While at times it seems obvious from its content which poet has written a particular poem, I applaud the authors’ decision not to make this explicit. In a similar joint enterprise, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry (Copper Canyon Press, 2003), Ted Kooser and the late Jim Harrison maintained an equal dual anonymity. One of them wrote “Everyone gets tired of this continuing cult of the personality . . . This book is an assertion in favour of poetry and against credentials.” (A comparison between these two works is disrespectful to neither). Here also joint responsibility adds a dimension of both honesty and human integrity. While this is not consistent with Japanese linked-verse traditions, it’s something for practitioners to think about.

Aside from her words, Vanessa Proctor has considerably enhanced the appearance of Blowing Up Balloons with her beautiful colour-wash art work, abstract yet definitely appropriate. If you know someone setting out for the first time, or any time, on the adventure of parenthood, this book with its equal proportions of realism, reassurance, and humour would make an excellent gift. For Japanese short-form enthusiasts, blessed or otherwise with offspring, it is an opportunity to admire two accomplished maestros at the top of their game in a prestigious international publication.

Sandra Simpson Reviews BUB (New Zealand)

New Zealand poet, Sandra Simpson, has posted a review of Blowing Up Balloons (BUB) on her site, Breath. Sandra’s site always has items of interest, so head over to Breath, check out the full review of BUB and see what else Sandra has posted about the world of haiku. Among other things, Sandra said of BUB:

Both authors are accomplished, award-winning haiku poets and together have produced a collection that will be hard to beat. Blowing Up Balloons is that rare thing, a book firmly rooted in reality that is nonetheless filled with love and is a joy from beginning to end.

Modern Haiku Reviews BUB (USA)

Modern Haiku 48.2

Established in 1969, Modern Haiku is one of the world’s longest running, most well regarded, English-language haiku journals. Volume 48.2 (Summer 2017) of Modern Haiku had this to say about Blowing Up Balloons:

A collection of poems on parenthood by two accomplished haikuists. From the first pangs of pregnancy, through infancy, to early years, the poets find meaning in the smallest of events, as well as in the obviously important ones. We were delighted at the breadth of the poems. This collection would make an excellent gift for anyone who has children or is about to embark on that journey.

Frogpond Reviews BUB (USA)

Frogpond 40.2

Frogpond, the highly regarded Journal of the Haiku Society of America is in it’s fortieth year. The 2017 Spring/Summer edition (Volume 40:2) included a brief review by Randy Brooks of Blowing Up Balloons. Randy’s review commented:

Blowing Up Balloons: baby poems for parents is a collection of parenting haiku by Australian haiku writers Vanessa Proctor and Gregory Piko. The haiku are presented one per page, without designation of the author, so the reader has plenty of room to enter into the imaginary space and let each expand in his or her own mind. I enjoyed the playful haiku, breakfast / throwing up / baby names, which is both about morning sickness and the fun of rejecting possible names for the coming baby.