NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
ELIZABETH HAZEN: BACK ROADS WITH A WHITE CANE
Saki Press
1021 Gregory
Normal
IL 61761
USA
ISBN 1 893823 13 X
$4.50
[+ postage, 57c USA; 76c Canada; $2.55 RoW]
cheques payable to "Lenore Hutton"

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This page last updated: 13th October 2008.
ELIZABETH HAZEN: BACK ROADS WITH A WHITE CANE

There are many delights in this little chapbook, not least of which is its very first haiku:

   so much sparrow song
   in the shape of a bush
   falling snow
I imagine that Elizabeth Hazen wrote this during the period when she was blind (she was without sight for three years). It's an intriguing poem the swelling song taking perhaps a remembered shape, against the background tactility of falling snow.

There are many such poems in this collection; some, as in the faintly sinister

   breathless heat
   a cloud of cigar smoke
   on the empty road
make a powerful and intense olfactory impression. Ms Hazen's language is always uncomplicated, and if there are poems I don't appreciate fully, it is because her locations and creatures are sometimes alien to me as in
  bluebird song
  the smell of torn grass
  and lanolin
This lovely, delicate poem with its especial combination of bluebird, grass and lanolin doesn't mean as much to me as it should. Yes, 'the smell of torn grass' but 'bluebird song', 'and lanolin' ... mea culpa! I should at least know what the oil at the base of sheep's wool smells like.

Ms Hazen, in her introduction, invites the reader to wander with her 'on the back roads'

  the sway of a tree
  against my shoulder
  long evening
a walk that will enchant all lovers of haiku.

reviewer: Michael Bangerter.