Poems in the Japanese Form of Haibun

By Charlotte Mandel
ISBN: 13-978-1-949229-86-8, 56 pages, $14.00

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Published by Kelsay Books - Publishers of award-winning poetry books.

"Mandel is a retired writing teacher and published poet of “prose poems, poems in free verse, [as well as] formal received or nonce forms.” Recently she has turned her pen to haibun, with nice results. As might be expected, the prose consistently sings with vibrant and compelling metaphors...The collection includes some excellent haibun in which the rub of prose and poem ignites moments of exquisite consciousness. Mining years of “freely” scribbled diaries, Mandel recalls landscapes and relationships with a heart wide open to a full accounting of the moment. In Begonia, for instance, she places a tiny blossom, visibly browning, back in the ceramic pot from which it has fallen, “onto damp earth shaded by leafed stem bearing buds about to open.” The piece ends with “my husband's ashes / buried beside a tall pine tree.” Mandel's keen sensibility for what one might call the oneness of the life-force shines in perhaps the best piece in the collection, September's First Monday. Meditating on a sun-warmed dandelion, she feels the “downy petals” on her cheek as “the flower's crown wobbles.” The capping ku makes meaning in the silent interstices of a deeply felt intuition: “fontanel pulse / in the cup of my hand / once.”
—Review of Alive and In Use in Modern Haiku,
issue 50.3, Autumn 2019.

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Winner of the 2012 NEW JERSEY POETS PRIZE
Charlotte Mandel

Photograph by Carol Nolde