Review: Pirate Haiku by Michael P. Spradlin

Posted: under Reviews.
Tags: , , June 27th, 2011

by Kelly

by Kelly

A long, long time ago, back when pirates ruled the seven seas, a scallywag named One-Leg Sterling washed up on the beach of a tiny island south of Japan.

He was the lone survivor of a brutal battle at sea. A band of ninjas jumped aboard a pirate ship and slew everyone on board except for One-Leg Sterling, who they captured and forced to steer the boat. But a fearsome storm blew up and the ship went down. Everyone on board perished, except for One-Leg Sterling.

Luckily, he washed up on an island of friendly people. They took him under their wing and taught him haiku.

And thus begins Pirate Haiku by Michael P. Spradlin.

What follows is One-Leg Sterling’s life story, written entirely in his newly discovered medium, haiku.

Each haiku follows the 5-7-5 syllable count. There aren’t a whole lot of nature references going on. Instead, the poems in Pirate Haiku are more about telling a story than charting a course by star gazing.

In that respect, the book isn’t for a haiku purist. But as a kitchy, entertaining read over an afternoon cookie and a cup of coffee, Pirate Haiku hits the mark.

I appreciated the beginning overview that set up a story to follow. That framework helped the haiku that followed hold together. Without that framework, Pirate Haiku would have been a too long list of three-line poems about drinking, thieving and philandering.

This haiku is a pretty good example of what readers can expect from the book:


Be one thing that can explain

Pirate surliness


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