NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
MAEVE O'SULLIVAN & KIM RICHARDSON: DOUBLE RAINBOW
Alba Publishing
PO Box 266
Uxbridge
UB9 5NX
UK
ISBN 0 9551254 0 5
6 [10; US$12]

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MAEVE O'SULLIVAN & KIM RICHARDSON: DOUBLE RAINBOW

DOUBLE RAINBOW is a collection of 92 haiku and senryu by Maeve O'Sullivan and Kim Richardson. In the Preface, the poets tell us the book is

shaped into thirteen themed sections in which the work of both poets appears together. An index of first lines offers the reader the opportunity to see whose work is whose.
I am confident that DOUBLE RAINBOW will be enthusiastically welcomed. The haiku have appeared previously in haiku magazines and to have them between the covers is an important event. One thing that struck me on my initial reading of the book was how fully connected the poets are to the world presented in the haiku and how readily readers are able to enter this world. Freshness of insight and perception abound, as is evident in the two following haiku (one by each poet):
	at the Chalice well
	emptying water bottles
	filling them again

	Kim Richardson
  
		below the cardiograph
		on the bedside table                                            
		a completed crossword

		Maeve O'Sullivan
- These poems are evidence that the poets have learned effectively about which images truly honour their sensibilities.

Several of the haiku focus on the senses and several are celebratory. They are often personal but in a way that generously invites the reader to share a world of intense feeling whether it be for nature, characters or the minutiae of daily life. Readers will find that their senses are entwined when they read these luminous haiku.

The book opens with the title haiku by Maeve O'Sullivan:

	double rainbow
	trying to photograph it
	he curses of the wind
and, fittingly, the collection ends with another poem by Maeve O'Sullivan on the subject of rainbows:
	eyes down
	on O'Connell Street 
	double rainbow
The opening section ON BEARA is solely by Kim Richardson. This is a place where, as we are told in the Preface, the two poets
met by chance at a writer's retreat on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork, Ireland.
The haiku in this section focus on the natural elements, e.g.
	by the stone circle
	chuffed at the sound
	of raven's wings.
Several of the haiku have an Irish flavour, with the eye and the spirit of an earlier Ireland struggling through today's blanket of orthodoxy. This feeling flows inconspicuously through much of the book.

The next theme is EARTH where the surfacing of gardening images provides some memorable moments, such as Maeve's,

	rose garden
	with no blooms
	now the closing bell
Poets of Ireland first and foremost then but these poets also bring their unique sensibilities to music, wood, air, the turning of the year, fathers, spirit fire, on the weir, on the edge, in the dark and water.

There are abundant haiku of enormous variety, sometimes enriched by the variation in syllable count or number of lines, as in the following haiku by Kim Richardson:

	opening
	in this stone circle
	gorse flowers
Elsewhere, Kim Richardson's haiku,
	suddenly a flute
	next door
	longing
is an exhilarating haiku about the way in which a sound half-heard can inspire various feelings in the listener. It is but one example of the command of the poetic line as the rhythm of the haiku gathers pace and the longer line concedes to rapid short ones.

These are not only haiku of significant accomplishment but also of considerable diversity and which often display a natural yearning for the refreshment of the soul. This is in evidence in the following two haiku:

	my new dress swirling
	across the ballroom dance floor
	waltzing with father
 
	Maeve O'Sullivan
 
		day of the funeral
		waning crescent
		just before sunrise 

		Kim Richardson
DOUBLE RAINBOW is a book that you'll want to return to often. It offers so many essential insights into our relationship with each other and with a natural world from which we are so often alienated. Some haiku display powerful emotion and others, tenderness and vulnerability. These are all combined in the haiku in the sections entitled FATHERS and IN THE DARK where the authors, accepting the nature of things —' transience and vulnerability in a world of mighty forces imply that these are the very conditions which provide a source for beauty and wonder. The following haiku are from two separate sections (one by each poet) on the subject of FATHERS:
	late night taxi rank
	a row developing
	 I grip father's arm

	Maeve O'Sullivan

		Christmas present
		from my late father
		next year's diary

		Kim Richardson
This collection leaves the impression of two people working in close collaboration with one another: they have the same insights, careful voices, and colour. The resultant tone is one of experience, imagination and skilful crafting of the haiku form.

reviewer: Patricia Prime