Wednesday, April 8, 2009

In the Company of Crows: HAIKU and TANKA Between the Tides - Book Review

Author: Carole MacRury

Editor: Cathy Drinkwater Better

Foreword: Beverley George

Illustrations: Ion Codrescu

Publisher: Black Cat Press

Paperback: 160 pages

ISBN 0-9766407-7-5

Reading In the Company of Crows: HAIKU and TANKA Between the Tides by award winning poet Carole MacRury is akin to receiving an invitation to visit the poet at her home in Point Roberts, Washington, located on a peninsula in the Strait of Georgia. It does not take the reader long to surmise that MacRury's home is fertile ground for the naturalist and the poet; her haiku are as compelling and diverse as the wildlife:

winter drizzle
a lone crow huddles
on the stone gargoyle

through the fog. . .
the sound of whales

heat wave
a horse blinks away
a gnat's life

The last poem illustrates MacRury's sharp attention to detail, but the following poem is a prime example of just how acute and observant her poetic senses are, even when she is...

half asleep —
the rhythm
    of receding rain

I would wager that she keeps a pen and pad by the nightstand. I only wonder if she fought off sleep long enough to pen the poem right then or waited until morning. :)

MacRury is equally skilled as a tanka poet:

spring yard work —
together we turn the earth
turn the worms. . .
the roots of our marriage
both forgiving and deep

we sip in silence
lost in a familiar tune
as the rising moon
turns our red wine blue

late summer kisses
on berry-stained lips
in the dusk
we turn past sins
into sweetness

All three poems are superb examples of English language tanka, bridging the natural world with the human condition to forge beautiful and romantic poems. Yes, I know, tanka do not have to be romantic, but such poems are my favorites. (Call me an old softy!)

Haiku and tanka sequences also grace the pages of this volume along with a number of beautiful illustrations by Ion Codrescu.

In the Company of Crows: HAIKU and TANKA Between the Tides is a book that will be read more than once and will likely find a prominent place on your bookshelf. It is a fabulous book of haiku and tanka; each poem flows smoothly when read aloud. MacRury is a poet who knows which form or genre best fits the poem.

To order, send $18.00 in US funds to the author; cash, check, or money order, payable to "Carole MacRury," to:

In the Company of Crows,
c/o Carole MacRury,
1636 Edwards Drive,
Point Roberts, WA 98281 USA.

For more information, e-mail:

It may also interest the reader to know that Ms MacRury is the featured poet on the Mann Library's Daily Haiku web site for the entire month of April.


Area 17 said...

heat wave
a horse blinks away
a gnat's life

It's a great example of what haiku is about. Some of my students still get caught up in romanicised ideas of what haiku is, and what the classic poets did with 'haiku', but this is a fine example to say there's more to haiku than 'Victorian poesy'.

Unknown said...

A wondeful volume of poetry, one
that I sat and read from cover to
cover and one of my favorite tanka
of Carole's:

full of stealth
your footprints late at night
I wake not to sound
but to the scent
of where you've been

Page 69. It is not important what that scent is: it could be alcohol, cigarette smoke, or another woman.

Unknown said...

oh, I forgot this haiku:

heat mirage...
the crow's light landing
on asphalt

Page 1., I am note sure how long it took Carole to write this image, but when I wrote the opposite image of this mirage, it took me about three years.

If you enjoy haiku and/or tanka then In the Company of Crows is
a must for your library.