The Haiku Year -- Tom Gilroy, Anna Grace, Jim McKay, Douglas A. Martin, Grant Lee Phillips, Rick Roth, Michael Stipe

Obviously I couldn't let the book just pass through my hands without commenting on it, right?

It's a fun little book.  As the poems are written by seven different people, they range from kind of emo/tortured (or maybe just matter-of-fact):

conversation hearts
i eat them without even
reading the words

to sweet (or again, maybe just matter-of-fact):

she scoops the popcorn
off her palm
with her tongue

to pissed off but funny:

Suspicious parents--
I'm just smiling at your kid
Fuck this shitty world

Like any other collection, some of the poems are better than others--but when they hit, they hit.  Some of them (the popcorn one really got me for some reason) made me see a perfect, brief picture.  There are a lot of urban images--not traditional, but still effective.  It isn't really a book to sit down and read straight though.  I just pick it up and flip through, stopping randomly and reading a page or two.

Customer reviews at Amazon seem to either love it or hate it:  Most of the people that disliked it either didn't like the fact that the haiku was 'Western Haiku' (Jeremy, you have company!) or the fact that some of the authors were celebrities.  Neither of those things bothered me.  I liked the different form.  If the book had been published by some huge company, I might have been annoyed about the rock star aspect.  (Crappy Jerry Seinfeld children's book, anyone?)  But it was put out by a small press, which made it seem more like a labor of love to me.  Or maybe I'm not being cynical enough.  Either way, I liked it.

More than the actual poems in the book, though, it was the idea that captured me.  The idea of seven friends getting together and sending each other a poem a day, on postcards, for an entire year.  That's what the book is made up of--the best of the thousands that they wrote.  The idea gets me, not just because it sounds like so much fun, but because it's just... nice.  It's a nice idea.  Finding good vintage postcards, using really tacky touristy ones, making your own.  Using the actual USPS instead of email, sending daily three line updates about your life.  For whatever reason (and however god awfully cheesy it sounds), it just captured my imagination.