The weekend before last I attended the British Haiku Society’s Spring Gathering. Had the event been ‘live’ I might not have been able to make it, but because it was on Zoom, I was able to attend both sessions (three hours, Sat a.m. and Sun p.m.). There was an interesting range of topics and I enjoyed being introduced to new books that I wouldn’t have come across otherwise.
Recently, I’ve been trying to thin out my book pile, and I’ve got rid of a few poetry books that, for whatever reason, I don’t think I’ll go back to. I’ve even managed to sell three on eBay for a small profit! Of course, the chances are that whatever space I’ve created on the book shelf will soon be swallowed up. However, one thing I’ve decided to do more of is make use of libraries. I ordered Jack Kerouac’s ‘The Dharma Bums’ last week, and this week got an email saying it was ready to collect. No charge as it was in the area. I’m impressed by the speed of that. No doubt for collections of haiku I’ll have to make a request outside my local area, so the wait will be longer. After all, haiku is a niche area to say the least.
Another great resource is The Haiku Foundation’s digital library. After a presentation at the Spring Gathering, I wanted to read ‘Drifting’ by Marco Fraticelli. Luckily, there it was, in the archive. Not that I’m a big fan of reading on the screen, but the instant availability won me over. Drifting is a collection of diary extracts by a woman called Celesta Taylor (written between 1905 and 1916) compiled by, and coupled with, haiku by Marco Fraticelli. As such, the collection is a haibun narrative, a poignant examination of love and loss set against a backdrop of financial hardship, domestic drudgery and ill health. This might sound too downbeat, but the writing is beautifully pitched and there’s a sense of lightness in the haiku that functions as a counterpoint to the bleak reality of Celeste’s lot. The extract below gives a flavour of the book, and I hope it whets your appetite enough to follow the link and read it for yourselves – Drifting. And because I still like to buy a book or two, I indulged myself and managed to buy a reasonably priced copy of Fraticelli’s ‘Night Coach’ (Guernica Editions, 1983) which I’m looking forward to reading when it arrives.

2 thoughts on “Drifting

  1. For complex reasons, that haibun (which spellcheckers invariably want to change to halibut) may have solved a problem of finding a form for something I’ve tried to write for a long time. Thank you xxx


    • Hi John,
      Hope the haibun is answer!
      I have to say I’ve only tried to write a couple, and although I’ve typed them up, I haven’t gone back to them. I know I should, when I get a minute. Roll on the summer holiday!
      Take care,
      Julie x


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