A Hundred Gourds 2:1 December 2012
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Hiss of Leaves by T.D Ingram

reviewed by John McManus

Hiss of Leaves by T.D Ingram
Upper Rubber Boot Books. 2012
RRP: US$4.99
ISBN (epub) 978-1-937794-17-0
(mobi) 978-1-937794-15-6
(pdf) 978-1-937794-16-3

Terry Ingram is a haiku poet from southern Illinois, he is a retired advertising writer-producer-director who now lives in Texas. He has been writing haiku, senryu, tanka and haibun since 2000. Hiss of Leaves is his first collection of haiku.

Terry’s haiku are thoughtful and the one thing that’s very noticeable is that there are no pronouns in any of the haiku within this collection. This is something of a rarity in contemporary haiku and gives the impression of a poet who is determined to go his own way.

There are some very effective and concise haiku, which are a pleasure to read and re-read.

noonday heat
dragonflies slice
the still air

The air may be still but those dragonflies certainly aren’t, the heat emphasises the poet’s stillness as he watches the flying insects above his head.

mountain roadside
wild asparagus
cut with a penknife

I like how the poet pulls us into a completely natural scene and then offers the final image of a penknife. It reminds me of how we often mutilate and destroy our natural world.

There are some haiku which aren’t so effective and due to the poet’s apparent dislike for using articles some of them read as though they are split into three parts.

dark pool
white rings come and go
dawn rain

I just can’t figure out what is supposed to be the fragment and what is supposed to be the phrase in this haiku. It sounds confused to me.

trapped trash swirls
inside sand spout

Again this sounds confused to me. The middle is screaming out for an article to be placed in it, and due to the lack of one this verse suffers from the dreaded tontoism that Paul O. Williams first talked about in his 1975 essay.

I feel it’s fair to say that this collection is a bit hit and miss, and due to the fact that the poet has been writing haiku for 12 years I find myself disappointed that Hiss of Leaves is littered with poems that drag what could have been a very good collection down to being an average one. I do hope that Terry keeps writing and that he comes back with a much stronger second collection of haiku.


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