6 Haiku Poets in Blithe Spirit

6 Haiku Poets in Blithe Spirit

Blithe Spirit is that most estimable of things, the unpretentious poetry magazine that has quietly served its small readership year after year with poems, articles and discussions. Blithe Spirit is the Journal of the British Haiku Society, but with haiku are included senryu, tanka, haibun and renku.  The Journal first appeared in 1991 and is now 64 page publication with a circulation around 300.

I am not sure haiku, or any of the condensed eastern forms, really works in English, or – to put matters another way – convinced that the syllable restriction is a sufficient basis for poetry of any substance. Other verse techniques – rhythm, sound pattering, rhyme – would seem equally important,  but its devotees obviously see matters differently. The poems are too short to select lines from, and to showcase the work I have had to infringe copyright restrictions, for which apologies. (If aggrieved parties email me I will of course remove any offending work.) All pieces are taken from the June 2006 edition of Blithe Spirit, placed online by the South Bank (London) Poetry Library, and all are titled ‘Spring’.

The first is John Mcdonald and can be read at: http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=18089

                        a monk on his knees
                        scrubs out the confessional

John Kinory’s piece (http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=18091) also has a good tactile sense to it:

                     first day of spring
                     short sleeves

Charles Christian’s ‘Spring’ at
http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=18092 has neatly linked the thrust of daffodil trumpets to resetting the clocks.

                    a late spring
                    the daffodils do not open
                    till the clocks go forward

And that daffodil is past its best when (as so often happens in England) the spring has yet to properly arrive. (Bill Wyatt at

                      Is it really spring?
                     now, how can I convince
                     that sad daffodil

Leo Lavery at
http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=18094 manages a pun on ‘blue’ with:

                      the cuckoo
                      its one blue note

With Kohjin Sakamoto (http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=18134) we come back to where the haiku originated:

                  knees up
                  above cherry blossoms,
                  boy on a swing

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