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Book Review: The Taste of Sea Breeze (An Anthology)

I find poetry to be most thought provoking. At times, it’s quite simple. What the poet puts is what he wants us to read. At other times, it’s quite deep. It has a way of expressing a lot in brevity. Over the years, my knowledge of poetic forms and their rules has evolved.

A form I’m quite fond of attempting is the haiku, which is perhaps one of the shortest forms of poetry. To bring depth and observation in three lines isn’t easy. And each poet seems to have a different idea of what the form entails. This book is a collection of haiku, senryu, haibun, renku, tanka and renbun written by a group of poets from Mumbai. I liked what I read, and some of the poems in the collection were quite exquisite, I feel. These are haiku that have been accepted by and published in various international haiku journals, so there wasn’t any doubt regarding the quality of the haiku. Just as the sea breeze brings just a taste of the sea, I wish to give you just a small idea of what this collection holds.

My knowledge of haibun and the contrast between prose and poetry is quite limited. Six poets share their haibun, and after reading them, my favorite is the one titled Radioheads, by Paresh Tiwari. The prose talks of a radio in a pawn shop, something that hasn’t been used in a long time. The haiku talks of a similar object that hasn’t been used in a while. Both objects are connected by age, and I felt a tinge of heaviness lingering. It was beautiful.

Haiku, for me, is as much about observation as it is about depth or painting a picture with words. One of Rohini Gupta’s haiku, first published in Chrysanthemum, shows this quality wonderfully.

temple ruins
only the wind still
offers flowers

The first line helped to imagine such a setting. The second line adds to the setting with the wind rushing through those abandoned paths of the temple. The last line brings the depth, and a bit of loneliness. Long back, many patrons would offer flowers to the God at the temple. Now in ruins, only the wind picks up fallen flowers and takes it into the temple.

My favorite tanka is the last tanka in the collection. Raamesh Gowri Raghavan puts his thoughtful spin on a topic I’m not that fond of… death. A tanka, I remember being told, is like two haiku joined. If its essence is a haiku, it should hold the quality of a haiku and it does. The first two lines make me imagine a character dying. The last three lines add to the mood and add to the depth.

The two senryu that caught my eye were on similar topics. Sandra Martyres’ piece “spirits – ” and Gautam Nadkarni’s “over scotch” poem were quite different from each other, yet they were similar. Both pieces were quite witty, and brought a smile.

This book offers me my first look at renbun, renku and some others. I enjoyed reading them, but I don’t feel it is fair on my part to offer my thoughts on a form I cannot grasp effectively this quickly. Or for that matter, consider them perfect.

I don’t know if for someone new to haiku and its associated forms, this book will help them to understand the nuances of the form. For those who know it, or have a base to build from, this book has some poems that’ll make them contemplate. I enjoyed the sea breeze that these poems brought along with them.

A score of 7 out of 10
A score of 7 out of 10
Book Details
Title: The Taste of Sea Breeze
Mumbai IN haiku Group
Self Published

No payment was taken for this review. The views expressed here are mine, and they remain uninfluenced and unbiased.

(© Vinay Leo R. @ A Bookworm’s Musing
6th November 2016)



Poetry and writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

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