Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Winter 2006, vol 4 no 4

In Borrowed Shoes
by Fay Aoyagi
A Review by Robert D. Wilson


Fay Aoyagi's haiku is easy to relate to, and accessible to the human psyche. She writes about the who, what, when, where, and why of everyday life, compacting her observations and perceptions into three lined poems with limited syllables. To do this successfully takes skill, experience, study, and talent.

Take, for instance, the first haiku in Aoyagi's new book, In Borrowed Shoes:

first dandelions . . .
a boy insists
he is invisible

The juxtaposition between first dandelions and the boy insisting he is invisible appeals to my inner child. Imagine, for a moment, a young boy sneaking up behind the dandelion, pretending it to be a dragon. The dragon doesn't hear his approach. Like Don Quixote, the slayer of windmills, the lad draws his sword.

Hiroshima Day . . .
is my shadow
still attached to me?

A lot of haiku and senryu have been written about the infamous day in August 1945, when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima by the United States, killing and maiming thousands of innocent civilians. Aoyagi's senryu is one of the best I have read. It dives below the surface of mere description, shaking the cerebral cortex, evoking emotions that linger.

More excerpts:

tiny sour oranges ---
a kabuki actor
with bleached hair

winter roses ---
I am tired of reading
between the lines

Halloween ---
I dress as the self
I left somewhere

The layout of Aoyagi's book is simple, appealing, and uncluttered, featuring one haiku or senryu per page. This allows the reader to focus on a single haiku without distraction.

Says Aoyagi:

"For me, haiku is the most suitable poetry format to express who I am, how I live, how I see and how I feel."

In Borrowed Shoes
by Fay Aoyagi
Blue Willow Press