Aug 29

Review: Haiku U by David M. Bader

Posted: under Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , August 29th, 2011

by Kelly

by Kelly

It’s that time of year again — back to school.

For all those prospective English majors out there, here’s fun little book that could help rekindle the spirit of literature for the semesters yet to come.

Haiku U, by David M. Bader, is a pint-sized book with a 5-7-5 haiku on each page.

Each haiku is a 17-syllable synopsis of a title from the world’s literary cannon.

There is a haiku that recaps Jane Eyre, another that recaps The Iliad, and still another that recaps Robinson Crusoe.

I liked this one, which retells the story of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita:

Lecherous linguist —

he lays low and is laid low

after laying Lo.

This one recounts F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby:

Beauty to weep for —

coral, azure, apple green.

His custom-made shirts.

As I flipped through the pages of Haiku U, I quickly realized that I only liked a haiku if I had the appropriate background knowledge. In other words, if I hadn’t read the book in question (or had never heard of it), its haiku synopsis meant absolutely nothing to me.  In fact, I even started skipping haiku that belonged to book titles I didn’t know because I had already figured out that they would be lost on me.

So while many of Haiku U‘s poems were out of my reach, the idea of recapping an entire book in 17 syllables got me thinking. Could I sum up an entire novel in three short lines?

I could and I did. And because I was summarizing a novel in haiku, I thought it only appropriate that the novel I summarized have something to do with haiku. So here in my haiku summarizing Beside a Burning Sea by John Shors (follow the link for a review of the book detailing its haiku connection):

American nurse

wounded Japanese captive

cross cultural love

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