Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Autumn 2007, vol 5 no 3

Called Home
by paul m.
A Review by Johnye Strickland


If the title of this collection of haiku by paul m. (Paul Miller in real time) doesn't persuade you to read this book, the author's Introduction should. It contains perhaps the most cogent description of the essence of haiku I have found:

Because of their focus on the moment, and a spatial requirement for only the most relevant information, haiku are a telling record of our daily participation with the world. Yet these little poems are more than mere calendar entries, because it is their emphasis on daily details—details that have no inherent meaning except that which we give them—that tell of our truest interior emotions.

This small book, 4 " x 6 ", fits easily in the pocket or the hand, and invites reentry at the slightest pause in one's itinerary. And whether you invest a penny or a pound of attention, the purchase should be rewarding.

Called Home is the record of a journey—the move from California, where the author spent the first forty years of his life, back to New England, where his family's roots are, and where he hopes to spend the next forty years. Both book and journey begin with a scene-setting poem

fog on the bridge
this small truck
for all our belongings

and end with another

veiled moon
after eight generations
I return to these woods

encapsulating between them both the exterior and interior journeys of the poet, and very likely of the reader as well.

Along the way, the author looks both forward and backward, sharing such philosophical musings and sensory observations as these:

migrating whales
all our footprints
wash away
meeting the neighbors
the shapes of things
hidden by snow

The book is aesthetically pleasing, with the image of a 1933 painting entitled Campbell Country Hill Farm by Harlan Hubbard (oil on canvas, 22" x 27.125", used by permission of owner Anne Ogden) on front and back covers. The poems are attractively displayed on eggshell colored paper, one on the left and two on the right of facing pages, encouraging a slow pace and engagement not only with the individual poems but also with the groupings. Cover to cover, a good read. (I even read it backwards—from back to front, right to left. Still a good read.) And a good example of what a skillful poet and editor can do with the ordinary encounters on life's journey.

Called Home
Haiku by paul m. (Miller)
Soft Cover, Perfect Bound
84 pages (2006) $12 + shipping
ISBN 1-893959-59-7
Red Moon Press
PO Box 2461
Winchester, VA 22604-1661 USA