Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Autumn 2005, vol 3 no 3


Buddha's Fingerprint by Stanford M. Forrester
A Review by Robert D. Wilson

Buddha's Fingerprint is a small booklet, what some in the field label a chapbook. Regardless of size, however, it is a worthwhile read; a short jaunt into the poetic mind of Stanford Forrester, the owner and Publisher of bottle rockets Press. Forrester is a haiku poet and devout Buddhist, the traits intermingling to shape poems that are both minimalist and Zen in conceptualization and breath.

Take, for instance, the first poem in the booklet:

buddha's fingerprint
in the sand...
Zen garden

It is a senryu, in that the main emphasis of this poem focuses on the human element. It is not a poem one can understand instantly. Forrester is not one for writing snapshot poetry, the kind that requires little or no thinking. There is an ambiguity to the poem.

On the surface, because of its brevity, it appears simple, but with anything dealing with a Zen plane, there are multiple layers to explore. Nothing simply is. This is what I like about Forrester's style of Japanese short form poetry, be it haiku or senryu, or somewhere in between. There is room to think and to interpret.

The 20 poems in this booklet are gems, each one to be savored, their facets explored. A short booklet? Yes. But one that deserves to be read, studied, and examined, both for form and for message content.
Stanford Forrester, a thinking person's poet.


Buddha's Fingerprint
by Stanford Forrester
Lily Pool Press
NorthField, Massachusetts,

Copyright 2005: Simply Haiku