f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

March 5, 2006

psst: want some Taboo Haiku?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 7:47 pm

On an Oscar night that features a few taboos of its own, I now

have a copy of Taboo Haiku: An International Selection (Richard

Krawiec, ed., Avisson Press, Greensboro, 2005) in my hot, achy, 

little hands — thanks to haijin-lawyer and f/k/a-friend roberta beary

The anthology features haiku, senryu and haibun from over seventy





Here’s how the primary editor (poet & author — e.g., Faith in What?)

Richard Krawiec explained this ambitious project, when seeking 

submissions two years ago:

Haiku masters have written poems on every aspect of

life.  But often publishers have been reluctant to print 

haiku dealing with controversial themes such as sexu-

ality, violence, bodily funtions, etc.

Taboo Haiku is a mass-market anthology that will

feature the finest international Haiku dealing with the

themes that often go unexplored in mainstream haiku



We are looking for poems that will move readers emo-

tionally as well as stimulate them intellectually.  Poems

that will make readers pull back their heads and say,

“Whoa!”  Poems that are good, but don’t quite fit any-

where.  Poems that challenge.


me in one hand

a belt in the other

dads sings a lullaby

    roberta beary



In his introduction to Taboo Haiku, Kracwiez notes that “In many  

of the poems in this anthology, the writers have willingly exposed

their own moral and ethical flaws.  They’ve been willing to risk re-

vealing themselves in public.” He continues: 

“Editing this anthology has brought its own, ad-

mittedly minor, risks for me, too.  I teach a lot

of writing residencies in the public schools, often

working with children in the elementary grades. 

On two occasions I lost jobs because a teacher

googled me and found my name associated with

this book.  The fact that I was involved in an adult-

oriented project apprarently made it “taboo” to hire

me to teach children.”

The 104-page book contains many intriguing haiku and senryu,

plus a handful of haibun.  I think Krawiec has achieved his hope —

an anthology that “stands apart” by reaching out:


boy writing neg

“to an audience beyond people who already

study and admire this particular poetic form;

[that] will reach out to everyone who enjoys

poetry for what it has to say about the human


Krawiec is a member of the North Carolina Haiku Society,

and you can find a brief review of Taboo Haiku on the NCHS

website. ” The book sells for  $15, plus $2 postage and hand-

ling for single copies, add p&h $1 for each additional copy. 

They can be ordered directly from the publisher


Avisson Press
3007 Taliaferro Road
Greensboro, NC 27408


Here are a few selections from Taboo Haiku by some of

f/k/a’s Honored Guest poets:



the most popular

swin teacher at the Y

– his tight speedo






after dark

the shape her hands make

of me




     jim kacian





figure drawing class —

in the model’s deepest shadow

a thin white string



      lee gurga




embrace small




back up   the open eyes

of the suicide







lost love —

          I turn back from the tracks

          going up her arm



      andrew riutta  




by candlelight

an entire generation

drips down her thigh


      ed markowski  





tiny check Dealing with matters of taste and taboo is complicated.  For me,

the forum involved is relevant.  There are many poems in Taboo

Haiku that I enjoy and appreciate, but would not (at least not to-

night) post here at f/k/a.  It’s not that I’m personally offended by

them, but that I do not want to offend readers who come here

expecting materials that are perhaps intellectually challenging (and,

at times, annoying) but not profane or unduly vulgar.    I hope you

don’t find my cautiousness offensive.


help with mistakes 


afterthought: It’s been a taboo around here to

complain about a haiku book we feature.  But, I’m feeling liberated

tonight and have to get two things off my chest:

tiny check To Richard Krawiec: An anthology with over 70 contributors

needs an Index, so that readers (and weblog editors) can

readily find the work of particular poets.  That’s especially

true when only part of the volume has an alphabetical format.


tiny check To Avisson Press: Get a website!  It takes about — oh — 15

minutes to set up a free weblog from lots of sources.  Then,

tell people about your publications at the website, and about

how to order them.

If I smoked, I’d have a cigarette about now.



                                                                                                       by greg horn


update (March 7, 2006): A little taboo law: Yesterday, Howard Bashman

law requiring an adult who has oral copulation with a minor to register with

police as a sex offender is unconstitutional because no such requirement

exists for adults who have sexual intercourse with minors: Today’s ruling,

by a 6-1 margin, can be accessed here.”


p.s. On an apparently unrelated topic: The f/k/a/ Gang apologizes to

readers who have subscribed to us through Bloglines.com.  For some

reason, none of our posts have turned up on Bloglines since Feb. 8th. 

Neither their service reps, nor I, nor even Hal Roberts, the ever-helpful

weblog Webmaster at Harvard, can figure out what went wrong.  Hap-

pily, our RSS feed seems to be coming in loud and clear at other 

RSS filters.  If anybody can help fix this, please contact your humble 

f/k/a editor. 





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