five seven five: American Rhyming Haiku
by Barton Johnson
Syzygy Enterprises

"Fun long overdue
Do just what you have to do
Life without value"

In this unique endeavor consisting of one haiku for each day of the year, readers find a devotional experience driven by five-seven-five syllabic rhythms. Divided into twelve sections representing each month of the year, this book offers meditations on the seasons, childhood, adulthood, and the places in between where experience and inexperience merge. Wise anecdotes of personal advice regarding one's private life appear with brief, spiritual reflections questioning humankind's morality and fallibility. In other haikus, good and evil fight for first place, friends become better supports than one's own family, and readers are reminded that the seasons of the natural world parallel the seasons of one's own life.

This collection's power lies in its celebration of the minimalist tradition. Though the haiku offerings in this book maintain the traditional five-seven-five format, the use of careful internal rhyme adds noticeable experimentation to the verses. Some will appreciate the "calendar" the collection offers, which encourages them to use the text as a daily devotional. Many of the poems possess a spiritual, prayerful tone, creating a meditative experience for those seeking a moment of peace in their daily lives. Readers also find positive encouragement for facing the darkest times in life: "Don't ever forget / You must risk life to live it / Required retrofit."

For those interested in haiku, this collection is a perfect match. For beginning poets, this work also offers an easy pathway into one of the most celebrated forms of poetry. For readers seeking a creative way to incorporate moments of spirituality and reflection into their daily lives, this book takes them on a transcendent journey, one the ancient masters would appreciate.

Return to USR Home