Friday, July 1, 2011

Review: Miller's New England Haiku Dictionary

Mike Miller’s Miller’s New England Haiku Dictionary is just that—a collection of words defined in haiku. But to write this off as simply a dictionary with a poetic twist would be to kick yourself rather solidly in the ass. I personally don’t think adding stanza breaks to Webster’s would make it more interesting—just longer and speed you on your way to buying bifocals. 

Miller’s is much more than a mere dictionary. It’s a small cross-section of existence, conveniently printed, stapled, and mailed to your door for practically nothing. And I’m not saying that to be dramatic. These haiku cover many aspects of life in general. I like to think of it as sort of a poetic photo album, with the photos/poems gathered from many different situations, attitudes, and lives, which makes for a very compelling collection.

There is, for example, laughter:  

Sobriety (n.):
can’t say I remember it.
Care for some more gin?

There is joy:

Watermelon (n.):
chasing your laughing sister
through the sprinkler.

There is sadness:

Melancholy (n.):
diabetic black fingers
on old guitar strings.

And there is wonder:

Thankful (adj.):
the sigh breathed out by the trees
when it starts to rain.

See what I mean?

That was just a sampling. I wish I could go through them all, but that would deprive you from getting a copy and seeing for yourself (which you can do here). Miller’s New England Haiku Dictionary is full of those words that make you see ordinary life in ways new and previously unknown. Don’t let this one pass you by.

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