Rarely do I feature a haiku collection in my blog, but Mike Dillon’s poetry is worthy of notice by my followers and readers. In 2003, Dillon authored The Road Behind, published by Red Moon Press in Winchester, Virginia. Today, it’s still a haiku classic, and Dillon is still writing haiku.
You may have read some of Dillon’s poetry that have appeared on The Daily Haiku. If you haven’t, pay particular attention to these poems in this post. Dillon’s book contains seventy-two haiku and a few other poems, including a haibun, (the latter, prose combined with haiku). His haiku often include imagery of the Pacific Northwest where he lives, though many of his poems do not focus on a particular region.
Dillon’s poems, rich in imagery about nature’s cycles, and his literary technique attract the reader. We see alliteration, assonance, excellent diction, and syntax. He is master of writing poems with an economy of words, as haiku demands.
Most of his haiku in this collection contain a colon, marking a shift of scene. Many haiku poets prefer an ellipsis, but his particular use of punctuation doesn’t distract the reader.
The poet’s connection with the natural world–sights, sounds, and smells of the environment–are beautiful in their simplicity and elegance. Dillon is an astute observer, something that all haiku poets strive for, but many find difficult to master.
Here are a few of my favorite haiku:
from deer tracks
hold on in the wind:
my dad’s eighty-third spring
the last three apples glow
from the topmost branch
the empty maple
full of crows
a distant creaking
the last night’s full moon
a pale shell of itself
There is nostalgia in Dillon’s haiku, experiences that most of us can relate to on the road we travel in life. He gets to the heart of things:
cold motel window:
faraway in the dusk
a softball game
who’d leave daisies for a boy
gone ninety years?
Dillon’s haiku is a must-read. His images will stick with you. The book’s plain cover piques the reader’s curiosity, and immediately, we page through the book to find poems artfully laid out on “reader-friendly” thick paper. The Road Behind is a treasure for your collection.
Copyright 2016 by Charlotte Digregorio.