Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Winter 2009, vol 7 no 4

a gate left open
by Alice Frampton
A Review by Michael Rehling


I love books. The concept excites me, and this collection of haiku by Alice Frampton is one that I highly recommend you put in your pocket, and not on your bookshelf. It is the size of a good sized postcard, and 71 pages long, perfect to keep with you for a few weeks to read over and over. I first became aware of her work several years ago, and look for her haiku in publications and on the Internet. I am a fan! Just wanted to get that out of the way, and if someone wants to accuse me of shilling for this book, I plead guilty as charged.

Let me explain the obvious, that haiku is difficult to craft; a form that I know from experience is built to frustrate the poet. Now I know that Alice must work hard to get these poems "just right", but the fact is that when she puts her work out there for us to read they seem so "effortless". That is the mark of someone tuned into the process of communicating with the reader. When you read these works you will find no extra words, no hint of phoniness, and I always feel the surety that comes only from actual experience. Alice takes me to her place and time, and "shares" it with me.

                  at my age
            a snow angel

In this poem you have the penalty of age and the joy of a childlike sprit merged into a wonderful moment. Just a beginner's mind inspiration for anyone of any age, and a poem I can share with my granddaughter. Aren't we lucky that no matter your chronological age, you can still do a snow angel? Like the MasterCard commercial says: "Priceless".

In 2006 I was a judge in the Henderson Haiku Award, and one of Alice's poems received an honorable mention. From a stack of over 600 entries this one intrigued me.

                  mallard pair
            he rocks
            on her wake

Is this just about a pair of ducks, or about relationships in general, I thought. That is a feature of the works in this book, that they allow you to think, but don't force you to a particular conclusion. Just a scene on a pond is all, but you can add to that if you wish.

Buy this book. Put it in your pocket. Live with it awhile. You will be better for having done so, and you will learn about haiku as a craft, from someone who has allowed these brief parts of her life to be shared with you, openly, as a true friend would.


a gate left open
by Alice Frampton
Red Moon Press $12
c. Alice Frampton 2009
ISBN 978 893 85 9