Book of the Week was the original conception of New York poet Tom Clausen who, wishing to share his impressive collection of haiku chapbooks, began placing excerpts from a few of them, entirely at random, on his blog. I was one of the lucky folks to whom he sent these selections, and it inspired me to pursue something like it for the Foundation. I have tweaked the format a bit, and supply a cover photo, a brief introduction (including availability where applicable), and a selection of poems from the book, the number being a ratio relative to the size of the book. As you would surmise, we produce 52 of these per year, and so our Book of the Week Archive is now a sizeable collection on its own.
We do it, however, not simply to share good poems with our audience: we hope to show people the range of styles and content areas haiku poets have incorporated into their work over the years. It is always stylistically interesting to see work from the 1960s and ’70s, when the stylistic norms were much more attuned to syllable counts. Good poets find ways to make the form work for them, regardless of the norms of the day.
Another reason we feature a book of the week is to share some of the holdings of the hard copy library of the Foundation. We have hopes to digitize all our holdings that can be legally reproduced, and offer them to our audience free of charge, thus making the history of the practice of haiku in English available to all interested parties. While we remain a very long ways away from realizing such a goal, the Book of the Week feature keeps our hand in, and provides an inkling of the many treasures we have on hand. You’ll find the latest Book of the Week, by Joanne Morcom, posted at the same time as this report.
Once a year we ask the haiku community to help us meet our financial challenges. We reserve the period from Thanksgiving through St. Nicholas Day, the time our culture has has set aside to note our many blessings and show our appreciation. Thank you to those of you who have already contributed. If you have not done so yet, please take this opportunity to help us continue our work — details on our donation page. Again this year we have the support of an anonymous angel who will double your donations — for every dollar you commit, the Foundation receives $2. Please help us make the most of this generous offer, and thanks in advance for your support of The Haiku Foundation, and of haiku itself. We wish you a most happy holiday season.