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The Sheehan World
ISSN 2577-364X Vol. 25, No. 2 Archive Edition 2019 © Media Synergy, Inc.

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Nick Virgilio Writers House publishes
first book of haiku, senryu and tanka

Volume 1 of Nick Virgilio Writers House POETRY The Nick Virgilio Haiku Association has published its first volume of poetry, including two written by the late Nick Virgilio, the "Haiku Poet of Camden, NJ," and three by Sheehan World correspondent Robin Palley.

In addition to haikus rich in emotional responses to nature, the new book includes senryu (similar to haiku but with more of an emphasis on the human condition and topics of the day) and tanka, a 31-syllable poem in a 5-7-5-7-7 pattern.

While haiku is traditionally described in the Western world as three lines of poetry in a 5-7-5 syllable pattern, many of the haikus in the book diverge from that standard structure because the true Japanese art form counts sounds in the Japanese language, not syllables. So the term "syllable" does not truly describe the metrical units of Japanese poetry.

For example, this trio of poems about the moon:

in the new mown field
a scythe beside a daisy
the crescent moon

-Nick Virgilio

apostrophe
between skyscrapers
autumn's crescent moon

-Mary Heron

sinking moon
the weight of all
my outspoken words

-Seren Fargo

The book is edited by Henry Brann, a past president and current vice president of the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association who has published two chapbooks of haiku and senryu.

Palley, secretary of the association, contributed three poems for the anthology.

For Dad

his memory
light
from a long-ago star

high school reunion
apologizing
to the boy next door

spring rain
in bloom on the square
umbrellas

The poems cover both serious and humorous topics, with themes of the seasons, nature and surprises. Many were solicited during the opening of the Nick Virgilio Writers House in April 2018 and others are from the 2018 and 2019 winners of the Haiku Society of America Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku/Senryu Competition.

A selection follows.

Bible-thumpers
at my door
I pray they go away

- Alan Pizzarelli

road sign
by the cemetery gate
No U-Turn

- Jari Thymian

subscription card
littering the beach
'Good Housekeeping'

- Henry Brann


spring fever
back to
the chemo ward

- Vlad-Sergio Ciobica

brushing pink petals
from her long dark hair,
the prostitute

- Unknown

blood moon coming
soon although spring rain
may obscure it—
one eclipse or another,
I miss you

- Penny Harter

Find more information, and/or purchase the book on Amazon.

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