NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
JANICE BOSTOK: AMONGST THE GRAFFITI
Post Pressed
324/50 Macquarie St,
Teneriffe,
Qld, 4005
Australia
ISBN 1 876682 46 9

JANICE BOSTOK: SONGS ONCE SUNG
Post Pressed
ISBN 1 876682 67 1

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This page last updated: 11th December 2007.
JANICE BOSTOK: AMONGST THE GRAFFITI

This collection of Haiku carries introductions by William J. Higginson and Alan Summers. Such high-powered commendation is justified.

On the first page of haiku we find

	sleeping horse
	angled bones lean
	into sunset

	the stillborn's photo 
	in my day they refused
		to let me see

	   in a particular place
	in the house i can sense
	   my dead father
There are a lot of excellent single-line haiku as well as conventional tercets and some are visually arranged to enhance the impact of individual pieces. Haiga, ranging from simple brush strokes to more elaborate images are dotted about the pages but not in an intrusive way. Opposite an image of what might be four identical dolphins, we find
	no money for the busker i try not to listen
In a postscript the author tells the story of her haiku journey a fascinating insight into how she became acquainted with the genre and was welcomed back into the world of haiku after abandoning it for a decade.

There must by six hundred or more haiku in this book I haven't counted them so you need to keep picking it up and flick though, reading a few at a time. I found that many resonated and thus it is a collection that will reward the reader with treasure-trove for years.

reviewer: Gerald England.
JANICE BOSTOCK: SONGS ONCE SUNG

These are Collected Tanka Poems 1972-2003. Spanning thirty years it is an uneven collection. Many of the poems read like extended haiku rather than tanka:

	in old age
	i'm becoming childlike
	once more unable
	to stay within the lines
	when colouring in memories
and this is particularly evident in the collection of impressions of Fiji and some of the other pieces based on travel or just watching the news on TV.

But there are some fine real tanka pieces too:

	my eyes beg
	for the touch of your hand
	which remains idly
	stroking the lightly tanned skin
	of your own beautiful body

		we walk
		your arm about my shoulders
		each step our hip bones
		needing to pass by each other
		reminds me that we aren't joined

	easter day
	when you departed this world
	a deep loneliness
	odours my distant childhood
	with honest farmer's sweat
In an AFTERWORD, the author admits that her first notions about tanka were flawed and that they are
much more than a haiku with emotion
Even so, this is a remarkable collection of poems, with lots to like and some touching humour:
	taking down
	a phone message
	in darkness
	surprised to find it
	legible in daylight

		at the bird gardens
		a raised sulphur crest:
		'hello darling'
		a voice from home mimics
		her European accent

reviewer: Mandy Smith.