An independent small press poetry review

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Katsura Press
PO Box 275
Lake Oswego
OR 97034
ISBN 0 9638551 2 3

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This page last updated: 11th December 2007.

A substantial and well-presented A5 haiku book. Perfect bound with over 80 pages of haiku poetry, some pages with one haiku and others containing two or three.

It is ten years since the publication of Margaret Chula's first book. An American poet, she spent her childhood in Massachusetts. Here, she was able to immerse herself in rural sights, sounds, and smells as she explored her grandmother's farm. Later, she travelled extensively and spent twelve years living and working in Kyoto. She now lives in Oregon.

Margaret Chula is an accomplished haiku poet and this book is a testimony to the fact. The book is a journey into keen and sympathetic observations and insights:

	New Year's Day
	my overalls stained
	with last year's garden
In the haiku above, we are given the passing of a year. Here is a new dawn, yet carried along into the New Year is last year's memories. We cannot escape the past. We have to learn and develop, yet at the same time we still have the opportunity to begin again. Also, New Year's Day is a winter occurrence, yet even here we can carry the summer with us. And again
	summer morning
	the tiger lilies open
	to the hummingbird
This haiku draws on all the senses in simple, yet deep observation.

The haiku are not arranged according to season, and the layout works well. There are a few sequences, and rengay interspersed along the way as birds, seasons, and topics come and go. Here is the hummingbird again:

	in the flutter
	of a hummingbird's wing
	last night's dream
This is a sensual book, as the title indicates. Sabi is a term that is often used but difficult to explain. It draws on the sadness of a person who is aware of the cycle of life. There is a contemplative nature and respect for the passage of time. The original meaning is rust and thereby the book honours traditional roots. Margaret Chula is a fine poet. Captivating work. SMELL OF RUST is a recommended haiku book.

reviewer: Doreen King.