Friday, April 30, 2010

The Breath of Surrender:

A Collection of Recovery-Oriented Haiku
Edited by Robert Epstein

The MET Press
P.O. Box 43717
Baltimore, MD 21236
91 Pages.

As writers and readers, we care quite deeply about the power of words shaped into poems. We find our way to poetry to find ourselves, reflecting on where we’ve been and where we’re going, where others have been and where they’re going. We know that poetry offers us the gut-check…the literary mirror-on-the-wall reflection…are we on course or off course? We turn to poetry when we want and need to get right down to the heart of the matter, when we want and need to be smack dab in the red hot glowing embers. The Breath of Surrender is a book that delivers all of this in haiku spades.

A uniquely eclectic band of poets are presented in cohesive cover-to-cover fashion in The Breath of Surrender. From small press stalwarts such as Ed Markowski, Kevin Shaw, an’ya, and Marie Summers, to various poets writing anonymously, the poems linger and thrive in the reader’s mind’s eye until one forgets this is not solely a fine haiku collection. It is also a book designed to be a resource for anyone struggling with, and succeeding at conquering, various addictions (including an introductory page with help-line phone numbers for AA, NA, Gamblers Anonymous, Women for Sobriety, and more).

Editor Robert Epstein is a California-licensed Clinical Psychologist working in the field of recovery treatment since 1980. His poetry has been published in the haiku journals and The Breath of Surrender showcases his ability to champion other writers with a true flair for the too-often-attempted-but-not-often-polished-vibe-ride otherwise known as haiku:

ten years sober                          empty liquor boxes              the holiday season--
the hum of a liquor store’s          in the basement                   gramps teaches his parrot
neon sign                                   filled with baby clothes        to say “no”

--Ed Markowski                       --Kevin Shaw                      --an’ya

newscast                         one year clean                        pot free
not needing to know        for the first time in years          making love with
the lotto numbers             my teeth, too                          incense only

--Marie Summers           --Anonymous                         --Anonymous

Adding to the dazzle of The Breath of Surrender are several illustrations crowned with haikus by the poet/artist CT. These poem-art pieces fit the book perfectly, and like the 80-plus pages of haiku, they stand alone as worthy craftsmanship.

Reviewed by Robert M. Zoschke

Robert M. Zoschke co-edited and wrote for the international tribute anthology Reflections Upon the 50th Anniversary of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, and he is the author of Door County Blues, both from Kentucky’s Published in Heaven Books. Door County Blues—a collection of his short stories, poems, essays, letters and newspaper parodies—was recognized as a # 1 bestseller in 2008 in Door County, Wisconsin, where he lives and writes. In 2009, England’s Purple Patch Poetry Magazine named him a Top Ten Overseas Poet. His first novel is excerpted in the anthology Other Voices from Wisconsin’s Cross+Roads Press. He is a winner of a Chicago Sun-Times essay contest and Wisconsin’s Hal Grutzmacher Award for Literature.

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