Haiku, the short poem which originates in Japan, has probably never been more relevant than it is today. Haiku subject matter, with its emphasis on humanity’s place in the natural world, is the stuff of today’s headlines.
Indeed, in the words of one great English-language haijin, the late American Jack Stamm, haiku are headlines. By this he meant that in no more than 17 syllables, haiku cast bright spotlights on nature.
Haiku demand that we look, that we see, beyond our own minds at the world around us.
These micro poems demand of us consideration for a setting where our planet’s welfare is our own.
Sand Between the Toes, a collection of haiku in print and with music on CD, could not have come at a better time.
The haiku poet’s great advantage is that the very brevity of his or her art may just ensure that he or she gets heard in today’s world of sound bites and micro moments.
This is beautifully demonstrated in just ten words by Janice Bostok.
the click of a dragonfly
turning in flight
Little wonder that Bostok, one of ten poets featured in Sand Between the Toes, is regarded as one of the world’s greatest haiku exponents.
Haiku are brief. They appear deceptively simple. In their simplicity they can also be extremely effective – as in Nathalie Buckland’s
the farmer casts
a long shadow
It should come as no surprise that Sand Between the Toes should be a product of Byron Bay. The CD uses the spoken word, organic sound and music from flautist Kevin James’ shakuhachi to create a gentle sound journey through rainforest and hinterland to the sea which is unobtrusive and remarkably relaxing.
In a world that is too often alien to our understanding and senses, Sand Between the Toes stands out.
Not just for the originality, beauty and depth of compassion in its poetry or the elegance of its production. But also for the bold step which it has taken as an audio-visual production for haiku in Australia.
The combination of sound CD and printed word makes Sand Between the Toes a new, unusual and rewarding experience.
Sand Between the Toes: a haiku journey through byron bay and beyond edited by Laura Shore, Shana Michelle and Bev Sweeney (Dangerously Poetic Press, 2007). Jacqui Murray is a writer, historian, poet and international haiku judge.