The Whole Body Singing: Review by Graham Nunn

The Whole Body Singing is Quendryth Young’s first book of English-language haiku, containing more than one hundred haiku, six haiku sequences and one haibun. Since the publication of her first collection of free verse and traditional poems, Naked in Sepia (2004), Quendryth has devoted much of her life to the haiku way. She co-ordinates the haiku group cloudcatchers, edits the haiku section of the literary magazine, FreeXpresSion, and is a participant with John Bird and Nathalie Buckland in the Wollumbin Haiku Workshop.

Many of the haiku in The Whole Body Singing, capture the sub-tropical mix of rainforest, farmland and long sandy beaches of the Far North Coast of New South Wales. The collection is broken up into nine sections: Seascape, Landscape, Flora, Fauna, Insects and Other Creatures, Birds, People, Haiku Sequences and Haibun.

The Whole Body Singing is a book of universal beauty. I sat down immediately when my copy arrived and read it through and have continued to revist the work consistently. Familiarity with many of the poems has only added to the pleasure.

There is a spiritual nature to her work, that touches the deepest chords of humanity. Her images are never heavy-handed or forced. In fact, they have a surprising lightness.
sunrise
crab holes
pop open
Young’s work captures the beauty in the everyday moments that pass many of us by:

wash day
raindrops hanging
on the line
day moon
a dandelion sheds
its seedhead
She listens.

new year fireworks
lorikeets burst
from the pine
She sees.

sick neighbour
the bare branches
of her magnolia
She feels.

long after
the sandfly
its bite
The poems in The Whole Body Singing speak to me and allow me to see life through another human’s eyes. Eyes that examine the depth of life and our surroundings. Young’s haiku are multi-layered and have something to say. A book to be enjoyed repeatedly.