HAIKU-VISION by Ann Atwood


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Atwood's latest volume of ""haiku visions"" contains far less poetry than commentary on the form--which becomes largely an apology for her own combination of haiku lines with color photographs. But, now that she mentions it, one wonders whether the ""spontaneity native to photography"" is really so appropriate for the ""seeing-feeling fusion"" of haiku, or whether instead still photography is too static, obvious, and unitary an accompaniment for the succession of images (or images/feelings/ideas) that make haiku interesting. In truth, her own haiku rarely contains this movement, though her entries range from one-dimensional snaps as static as the photos (""A meadow-sculpture/'Girl on an ivory stallion'/carved by the camera"") to those suggesting inappropriately abstract ideas (fish are ""darting their lives away""). Sometimes they are merely banal (flowers in a brook are ""petalled cargo""; dewy leaves are addressed with ""you too have tears"")--and, ""stunning"" as Atwood's color photographs are, they too verge on the banal, as a comparison with (say) Eliot Porter's subtler nature photography should make clear.

Pub Date: May 16th, 1977
Publisher: Scribners