Greetings, Poetry Lovers!
First today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my amazing older brother, he of the pictures above. Not to give away his age or anything, but NEXT year one of us will no longer be in our 50s? ;0)
Mike doesn't hear it from me nearly enough, but he's one of my heroes. As a young boy he had some leg surgery, and our folks were told he might have difficulty walking, might not ever run. Well, he just tells people the big ol' scars on his lower legs are shark bites as he makes his way from triathlon finish lines to the winners' podiums. Yep, while he was taking home hardware for First Place in his age group this past August, yours truly was hobbling around with that broken ankle, since my athletic coordination is challenged at the "walking and conversing simultaneously" level.
And while Mike is quite the reader, writer, insights-wrangler, and cultural connoisseur, he also designs computer chips or something that is so far beyond my skill set I don't even quite know how to describe it. For decades he's worked as an electrical engineer, after heading off to Vandy at age 16 to double major in math and electrical engineering.
He's heard me, perhaps, mention the name "Sheldon" in conversations about him (haven't you, Mike?)... but he's also figured out how to be quite the social butterfly after navigating school years while two years younger than his peers, but way past them in the math & science books.... Of course, Scott helps. He's the other handsome devil pictured above, and I'm so very thankful to have him as my brother-in-law.
So, you've gathered Mike is a very YOUNG (and fit) 59! Still, I've already gotten a Christmas present for him - a hot-off-the-press copy of Robert Epstein's newest anthology, ALL THE WAY HOME: AGING IN HAIKU (Middle Island Press). Robert has edited many anthologies and written his own collections. On this subject of aging, he recently published a book of his own work: TURNING THE PAGE TO OLD: HAIKU & SENRYU.
I've just started reading my copy of ALL THE WAY HOME, and it's chock-full of tender, profound, heartbreaking and hilarious poems that will have all kinds of readers of a certain age nodding here and there, or thinking of someone they know. As usual, Robert has provided a thoughtful introduction (after sharing many wonderful quotations on the topic). In addition to haiku, there are some tanka and haiga as well.
Here is a taste of just a few poems.
First, for Mike, looking forward to the next year...
sixtieth summer --
I fold the dryer's heat
into the towel
©Lenard D. Moore, originally published in Modern Haiku, 50.1, 2019. Posted with permission.
(I remember being struck by the gorgeousness of that poem the first time I read it in Modern Haiku.)
Lenard D. Moore is a rock star in the haiku world, and I was honored to meet him a few years ago at a conference. He's a past president of the Haiku Society of America, an award-winning writer across many genres, from poetry to criticism, an encourager and nurturer, a college professor, and recipient of the 2014 North Carolina Literature Award. Seek out his work in the journals and anthologies; you will be rewarded! Or enjoy some jazzy creative and collaborative presentation, if you ever get the chance.
Second, after recently returning from our 35th Furman University reunion (Jeff and I married two weeks after our graduation there in 1984!) , I particularly enjoyed this poem:
©Charlotte Degregorio, first published in Haiku & Senryu: A Simple Guide for All, 2014. Posted with permission.
And, if you don't know Charlotte Degregorio and her work, you are in for more enjoyment and enlightenment! She is the author of several books and writes, and teaches writing, across multiple genres. She has served as an officer in the Haiku Society for America and currently maintains a wonderful blog for writers featuring "Daily Haiku" - just scroll through the many treasures she selects to share if you want to read lots of wonderful haiku from around the world. She has also been recognized by her state, Illinois, with a Commendation from former Governor Bruce Rauner for her achievements in literary arts and education.
Lastly, below are three of the five poems I have in the anthology. As you can imagine, I'm honored to share pages with poets such as these! I'm enjoying reading haiku by friends and names I know, as well as new-to-me poets, among the hundreds of poems.
the fine print
smaller each year
©Robyn Hood Black, first published in Chrysanthemum, 11, 2012
today she misplaced
©Robyn Hood Black, first published in Frogpond, 42:1, 2019
my Achilles heel
still just that
©Robyn Hood Black, first published in bottle rockets, #37, 2017
Click here to read more about or purchase your own copy of ALL THE WAY HOME on Amazon. It's nice to have company on the journey. Warmest thanks to Lenard and Charolotte for allowing me to share these fine sample poems from the book.
And for more company on the Poetry Friday journey, join our ever-young and talented Irene at Live Your Poem for this week's Roundup!