cattails
September 2014
Book Reviews

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Last Bite
HAIKU by Robert Moyer
ART by Guntram Porps & Mona Wu
http://rosenberrybooks.com/hand-bound-editions/haiku/last-bite/
Last Bite — Fine Edition — 9x12 in. hand-bound softcover
English Somerset & Japanese Echizen Washi cover, Echizen Washi flyleaves, archival, 2013.
Price: $26.95

 

This is a book that truly qualifies as a ‘one of a kind’ for your bookshelf. It is a true creation by Rosenberry Books. Each copy is built for you and hand made. The type is clear and wonderfully placed on each page. Just touching this book will make you a better person, or so it seems! This entire effort began as an exposition the poet and two artists did for the Inter-Section Gallery in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We are blessed that they chose to allow their entire exhibit to be placed into this volume.

First, there is the haiku of Robert Moyer. A long time haiku poet, his technique is well honed, and his haiku are enough to bring the moment portrayed to the front of your cerebellum. He is that good! Here are few for you to savour and ponder:

early morning
a crow parks its caw
outside my window

You can hardly think of a better way to share this image. Sometimes you don’t need to see a crow to be fully immersed in it’s presence. I smiled through this one.

10 years later
in your voice on the phone
salt air

Sometimes a moment becomes inextricably tied to a smell or a taste. You have to determine for yourself what that ‘salt air’ means, but the poet has recalled it even over the phone.

a thumb and finger
slip into her mouth
the last bite

What a potent image, and again fraught with meanings for the reader and the poet. Last bite of the fruit, or is this something else? There is a clear ambiguity, if you get my drift.

The next thing you will notice is that each poem has an image, and some have two, by the two artists who have contributed to this work. This is the hard part of this review. How do I tell you that Guntram Porps and Mona Wu have given Bob’s haiku a run for the money! The images in the book are the best I have seen in any book on haiku or calligraphy ever. The attention to the reproduction of their fine art work makes you reach out and touch it to see if it is an ‘original’. It isn’t, but it could be, they are that faithful to the work of the artist. The poems are reproduced in ink and brush on the images by Robert and the artists themselves in a way that makes this volume truly unique. For some ‘hints’, and that is all a computer screen can do, go to the link at Rosenberry Books above and you will see for yourself, but when you actually see the work in the finished book you will be further astounded. It is truly something you have to experience. Again, I am stuck with words, and they are failing, but this is a one of a kind book. I will treasure this volume, and take care of it. It won’t be on my bookshelf, it will be on my desk. Anyone who wants to see some of the best haiku, presented with images that would make Buson’s chest swell with pride, should own this book. I am still stunned by the simple beauty of this work. Thanks to all, and for Rosenberry Books for bringing this to us. This one is a keeper.

 

UHTS Book Reviewer Mike Rehling, USA        
 

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