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The Fishing Cat Press
ISBN 0 9551071 0 5

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The sheer extent of the recognition afforded to Gilles Fabre's work is impressive, even as evidenced by the selection of remarks appended to this new collection of his haiku. Praise from many of the world's top haiku poets and leaders of haiku organizations is adequate testimony of Fabre's achievement. While Fabre himself is an editor and publisher of haiku, it must be gratifying for him to receive notices praising his work from critics as far afield as Europe, America and Asia.

Certainly BECAUSE OF A SEAGULL is emblematic of Fabre's low-key manner. It is stylishly made, and includes over fifty of his poems, all printed with only one or two per page, separated at intervals by a slightly ironical monochrome sketch of a seagull. And it is this lightness of touch, this whimsical, yet fastidious orderliness which defines the poet's style. He is deep, as can be seen in the minute preface to the poems, where he says writing haiku

brings awareness and respect for the fragile and transient world we live in and may also bring enlightenment and fulfillment to others.
Only a true poet would make these conjunctions, for in few other walks of life does 'awareness' lead naturally to 'respect', or does the communication of 'enlightenment' suggest any hope of 'fulfillment'. Yet for all of this seriousness of purpose, there is nothing solemn or pretentious in the poems. Here is a sample:
	Searching for change
	this old man
	his shirt inside out

		In the sun
		the fishmonger helps to push
		the butcher's van

	After mass
	the priest kneels again
	to lock the church door

		End of the day 
		old barber, shaving
		an old man

	Just when I thought
	today would be forgotten
	ladybird on my guitar

		Mountain sunset 
		among pines
		one red-leafed tree
I am tempted to quote on and on. In poems about nature, but especially in poems about people, I find there is something very personal and very honest inhabiting Fabre's verse. There is no imitating, and no acting here, and many of the poems are arresting in their simplicity, giving away just enough to make the author's experience of a single moment seem unique, and yet perfectly shared.

This is a limited edition publication, but if you are fortunate enough to find one, make it your own through reading, and make it doubly yours by sharing it with others.

reviewer: John Ballam.