Simply Haiku: An E-Journal of Haiku and Related Forms
September-October 2004, vol. 2, no. 5

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BOOK REVIEW: Steve Dolphy, The Cry of The Duck Egg Seller.
Reviewed by Robert D. Wilson

almost midnight
the cry of the duck egg seller
written into her letter

Steve Dolphy, a clinical psychologist from England counselled expatriates in Vietnam, taught English, and studyed the Vietnamese language at a university for four years. He and his wife, Hang, whose name means "crescent moon" have a 3 year old daughter and live in the UK where he works as a clinical psychologist. He started writing haiku in 1998 and has had over 170 poems published to date.

Says Dolphy, "The poems in my book, written over a three year period, are about the two most important places for me in Vietnam: Hanoi and Hue." Dolphy worked in Hanoi, the nation's capitol, and Hue (pronounced WAY) is his wife's hometown.

Dolphy's book is unique in that it offers the reader a glimpse into the life and culture of a country westerners know little about save for the Vietnam War and the current events related to the war. Here is an insider's look. A look at a culture foreign to our realm of experience. One steeped in tradition, shaped by a thousand years of occupation, a portrait of a people unlike any other.

I too have been to Vietnam. Therefore, I took a special interest in the book and Dolphy's treatment of the Vietnamese culture. Well crafted, the haiku in this chapbook have nothing to do with the Vietnam War. They are about who the people are today. In a way, the author is taking the reader for a walk into the homes, through the villages, and into the marketplaces of the Vietnam he has come to know intimately and love.

children's ward
a little girl names
her artificial legs

I recommend Steve Dolphy's book without reservation. It is a good read for those interested in the culture of the Vietnamese people. Equally important, it contains excellent examples of modern English haiku. His is an original voice. A voice that readers will want to hear from again.

wedding day
a procession of ao dai
in an unpainted village

More of Steve Dolphy's haiku are shown in this issue's haiku section.

Copies of the book can be purchased directly from the author for $10 USD, which includes postage and handling.

Steve Dolphy
265 High Street
Eastleigh
Hampshire SO50 5NB
England