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Book details
  • Genre:POETRY
  • SubGenre:Anthologies
  • Language:English
  • Pages:148
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667823430

Falling Awake

by Ginny Hoyle

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Haiku began in Japan some 900 years ago. It was written by scholars, by saki-sipping party animals and by swashbuckling samurai. It's very much alive today, all over the world. Falling Awake is a collection of contemporary American haiku written by a group of Colorado writers who revel in the restraint and freedom of this venerable form that has so many expressions--it can be delicate, meditative, deeply moving, startling, whimsical, laugh-out-loud funny, and sometimes, enigmatic. If you thought you learned all about haiku in 3rd grade, you're in for a happy surprise.
One haiku is a happy accident--something took your breath away and you found a way to put it into words. But writing haiku can become a habit. Gradually, it becomes a practice that leads you down a path of observation and witness. The result is a sharpening of the senses. A deeper appreciation of ordinary things that are suddenly, quietly, extraordinary. Matsuo Basho spent the last years of his life as a literary pilgrim traveling through Japan on foot, pausing to write and teach haiku. Falling Awake is high plains Colorado haiku. It invites you to walk through the seasons of the year as experienced by contemporary Western writers, beginning in the fall as "heavy-headed sunflowers sleepily nod" in September heat and someone makes jam as "grape scent stains kitchen air." While in winter, "silent plains flow into the sky"as "tracks tarnish newly fallen snow recording life and death." Haiku is timeless but also exists within a frame of place and experience. Many of these poems document the experience of the pandemic. "Time sifts--settles on my shoulders. Covid house arrest." And "quarantined...my only visitor a ray of sunshine." And "locked playgrounds empty pools masked runners, despite the heat we are all on thin ice." Soon spring arrives, and a "single green shoot rises from a pile of dead leave--hope is a soldier." And "an ancient blue spruce sighs in the morning breeze" as spring yields to summer heat and by July, "sun-cracked earth" is battered by sporadic monsoon rains. The book concludes with nonseasonal poems that meditate on life and loss and moments of joy. Most haiku are three lines. But you will also find two-line haiku, one-line haiku (monoku) and other variations, including a small selection of haiga ( illustrated haiku) and haibun (prose that features a haiku.)
About the author

The Haiku Workshop is a group of Colorado writers who meet monthly to read, write and study haiku. It began with a six-week haiku class at the Colorado Academy for Lifelong Learning taught by Ginny Hoyle, who soon recruited Art Elser to assist. Year after year, the same great students kept showing up. After 10 years, Ginny decided she had nothing more to share so she retired, and her students formed an independent study group. Art joined right away and, after a welcome sabbatical, Ginny Joined, too. Workshop members come from backgrounds in the arts, in teaching, in counseling and community services, in journalism and technical writing, in student financial aid programs, in corporate communications and other specialized business-to-business services. The group shares a reverence for the haiku way modeled by the Japanese master poets of the Edo Period, a creative process steeped in mindfulness and observation that is both close and fresh. Members work together to help each other strengthen and polish their work through respectful collaboration. Over the years, friendships have been forged that have been deepened in the process of creating this book. Individual bios can be found at the back of the book.

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