Writer – H. O. Tanager
This book of poems by H. O. Tanager delivers on its promise of ascending profanity, while doing little to prevent the dip in quality at each stage. The book is divided into five stages: Cradle, Maiden, Lady, Crone and Holy One, which seem to bare little relationship with the subject matter of the poems.
What makes the later sections boring is less the use of crass words for ejaculate, but the fact that several of the earlier Haiku’s in the cradle section are actually quite clever and evoke more of the imagery, mood and juxtaposition that good Haiku achieves.
Take this example from cradle:
did the infinitesimal point
sigh, wonder why we’d gone?
or this one:
How many times do I
have to tell you not to
lick people’s food?
Both are clever in their own way. The first is probably a more classic example of what everyone expects Haiku to be. The second is funny less because of the subject matter, and more because that phrase becomes a Haiku with a little rearranging.
And then we have this (probably one of the cleaner things I can share from crone):
What to say when she
catches you on a porn website.
You’re just in time.
I guess we do get a bit of a switch in the last line, so this is better than some. But I don’t know if it’s funny. Let me clear that I’m actually not against bawdy poetry (I am the owner of a book of 100 limericks by Isaac Asimov). But if it’s going to be Haiku, then it needs to surprise, and probably amuse. There are many examples in this book that fail to do either, and a few might even manage to offend.
The illustrations seem fairly disconnected from the subject matter, and are in different styles in each section. The author is talented at image manipulation, if not manipulating words into images.
Honestly, the best part of the book is the about the author. The author apparently has a background in engineering, technical writing, performance art, psychology, non-profit arts organizing and parenting. More overlap than I would have expected, though a bit of a hodge-podge.
You wanna read good Haiku? Check out Brian’s Haiku 365 project. It’s free and more likely to amuse or enlighten.
(2 stars | Maybe a couple of OK bits, but probably not worth reading the rest)