Jun 29

Beside a Burning Sea by John Shors

Posted: under Reviews.
Tags: , , June 29th, 2009

by Kelly

by Kelly

This book, Beside a Burning Sea, was recommended by Carol Ann, one of our guest haiku’ers from the month of June.

According to Carol Ann, her interest in haiku began after reading this novel by author John Shors. Hearing that prompted me to go and seek it out at my local library.

The book is a World-War-II era tale that takes place in the South Pacific. An American hospital ship, which is supposed to be given free passage because of its Red-Cross mission, gets struck by a Japanese torpedo. Nine people manage to escape from the sinking ship and swim to the nearest land, an uninhabited tropical island.

There is a bad guy among the survivors. He’s an American-turned-Japanese spy who must try and keep his double-agent ways a secret. Throughout the book, his evil ideas give readers the chills.

To balance that plot line, there is also a love story going on. The love story plays out between Annie, an American nurse, and a wounded Japanese soldier who also made it off the ship.

Akira, the Japanese solider, must convince his fellow castaways, who are all Americans, that he means them no harm. He is sick of war and wants nothing more than to be done with violence. He dreams of returning to his life before the war when he was a professor of English and literature at a school in Japan. One of Akira’s main coping mechanisms for dealing with the troublesome situation around him is to retreat into his mind and compose haiku. As a part of the love story, Akira teaches Annie how to write haiku.

Every chapter begins with a haiku from Akira’s point of view. Along the way, Annie and he share some haiku they’ve composed for one another.

Beyond that, though, the book doesn’t focus on the art of haiku. The ins-and-outs of haiku’s long history are not covered here. Instead, haiku is a small unifying theme for the two characters falling in love. It is an intimate something that they share between the two of them.

Even though this book isn’t all about haiku, the fact that haiku plays a role at all in the plot of a 400-page WWII novel, I thought, warranted a review here on Haiku By Two.

And besides, it was a good read, one I thoroughly — and quickly — enjoyed.

If you’re looking for a good summer read, a good airplane read, or a good book club recommendation, pick up a copy of Beside a Burning Sea. And who knows? Like our guest haiku’er Carol Ann, you just might find yourself newly smitten with haiku.

Check out the Beyond the Burning Sea web site.

Or find it on Amazon: Beside a Burning Sea

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Jun 14

Carol Ann Starr: Haiku 7

Posted: under Guest.
Tags: , , June 14th, 2009

“Doctor, what to do?”

“Take these pills and shut your mouth.”

Nods head to concur . . .


Read more of Carol Ann Starr’s haiku.

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Jun 13

Carol Ann Starr: Haiku 6

Posted: under Guest.
Tags: , June 13th, 2009

can’t swallow…sore throat

it’s mononucleosis

kissed one too many


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Jun 12

Carol Ann Starr: Haiku 5

Posted: under Guest.
Tags: , June 12th, 2009

treatment successful

don’t forget to wash your hands

watch for super bugs


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Jun 11

Carol Ann Starr: Haiku 4

Posted: under Guest.
Tags: , , June 11th, 2009

deleting old files

security guards in place

virus quarantined


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Jun 10

Carol Ann Starr: Haiku 3

Posted: under Guest.
Tags: , , June 10th, 2009

re-boot the system

kick it, pulling my hair out . . .

muttering curses


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Jun 09

Carol Ann Starr: Haiku 2

Posted: under Guest.
Tags: , , June 9th, 2009

spyware screams “VIRUS!”

oh, crap! decontaminate…

mom says, “chicken soup.”


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Jun 08

Carol Ann Starr: Haiku 1

Posted: under Guest.
Tags: , , June 8th, 2009

computer feels blue

fatigue, malaise, cough…”AH-CHOO!”

oops! no shot for flu


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Jun 07

Introduction: Carol Ann Starr, Guest Haiku’er

Posted: under Guest.
Tags: , , June 7th, 2009

Let’s give a warm welcome to Carol Ann Starr, our newest guest haiku’er.

Carol Ann is a woman in need of some peace and quiet. She is a single mother of two teenagers who works as a nurse. Luckily, she has haiku. Writing haiku has brought a sense of calm into her life.

Here’s what she had to say about the act of haiku:

I enjoy the process of writing haiku as it allows me to slow my otherwise hectic pace.

Now that haiku is a part of my life, I find that I am much more aware of sights, sounds and small details, whether they are a flower, a bird, a smile, or something as mundane as working on my computer.

Because of the short length of haiku, I can write one most any time of the day and can incorporate a wide variety of subject matters.

I tend to follow the rule of 5-7-5 syllables closely, but do not adhere to nature themed poems exclusively.

I write haiku for the enjoyment of it but also use it as a learning tool to further expand my knowledge.

While I appreciate the traditional haiku of the Japanese Masters, I enjoy writing contemporary haiku with my subjects ranging from nature’s beauty to works of art to the common activities of daily life.

I wrote this series of haiku, which I call “Virus,” at a recent, frustrating time in my life. My computer contracted a virus at the same time my daughter was diagnosed with mononucleosis.

Check back all week long to see how Carol Ann coped with two viruses at the same time!

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