Full Canoe, by Rosa Clement
Reviewed by Robert Wilson
The Amazon River region
in South America is a tropical rain forest famous for exotic animals,
piranhas, primitive tribes, and lush greenery. The area produces much
of the Earth's oxygen. Many of the world's medicines are derived from
the region's flora. If I added haiku to the list, you'd say, "huh?" Welcome
to the haiku poetry of Rosa Clement..
Rosa Clement was born in Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil. The Amazon River region
is her home. It is an integral part of who she is. In her chapbook, The
Full Canoe, Clement takes us for a walk into her world. We see it through
her eyes. A region far removed from what most of us have experienced. Reading
Clement's haiku, I am reminded of Matsuo Basho. Not that her haiku emulates
Basho, but because Basho too took readers for a walk into a world shaped
Take, for instance,
on the branches
Most of us think of
parakeets as cute avian pets living in bird cages. In Clement's world,
parakeets and other exotic birds live in the wild, far from pet stores
and bird cages. They are abundant. She brings home the point in her juxtaposition
between leafless trees and the scattering of parakeets from the branches.
Her world is a world populated by feral animals, a zoo without cages.
and the dog's barks
the full moon
Nightfall in the jungle
is not something to take for granted. Unblemished by urban lights, it
is a dark place, lit up only by the moon and the stars. Wild animals roam
the jungle, including jaguars, boa constrictors, monkeys, caiman, and
poisonous frogs. When a person's dog barks, most likely it is barking
at an intruder. Knowing an intruder is nearby, coupled with the stark
darkness of the jungle, is reason
enough for fear. The jungle is not a place to take solo walks at night..
The Amazon River region Clement writes about is populated by indigenous
tribes and modern man. Hundreds of years ago, the Portuguese visited the
area, bringing with them Catholicism and other things synonymous with Europe.
Today, the influence of the Portuguese is evident.
sunflowers by the church
bend their heads
The Amazon rainforest is in danger of extinction. Trees are being cut down
at an alarming rate. Animals are being captured by collectors and sold for
profit. The air quality is gradually diminishing. The divider between modern
man and the rainforest becomes thinner by the day.
the little monkey
chooses banana cake
Reading Rosa Clement's chapbook reminds me of the beauty and majesty of
her part of the world. I see and experience it through her eyes. And I want
that world to be there for my children and their children as well.
sun on the back
of the pink dolphin
Black River lightens
The Full Canoe
by Rosa Clement
Clement learned to know Amazonia as she grew up in Manaus, a city at
the juncture of the two major tributaries of the great Amazon River.
Some of her vacations were spent at her mother's home in the interior,
and it was there that she got acquainted with the river and the forest.
has practiced the form since 1992 and now is a member of the Grêmio
Sumaúma de Haicai, established in Manaus, AM.
published Canoa Cheia (Full
2002, but as she becomes more involved with haiku she hopes to publish
second haiku book.
has published renga with Zane Parks in the Parnassus Magazine and with
Jeanne Cassler in Lynx, and haiku in the International Edition
May/2001, and in The Heron's Nest.
and some of her previously published haiku can be found in Simply
Haiku, vol. 2 no. 5.