Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Spring 2007, vol 5 no 1

Driftwood
by Jack Galmitz
A Review by Robert D. Wilson

 

Jack Galmitz is a talented poet, one of those few male souls willing today to venture below the surface of mere description into a now and then painted with truth plumbed from the depths of personal experience and feeling, albeit painful, revealing, and possibly embarrassing.


In his introduction, Galmitz postulates:

"The natural world reemerges in haiku from its free-fall into use value. Lumber once again becomes colonnades of trees; the sea is no longer a resort, but is the dreamer of humanity; pesticides are replaced by amorous insects couched on crisp beds of leaves; shrimp are no longer delicacies, but the most delicate creatures alive. Value in haiku is once again assigned to what is conventionally valueless. It might be said that haiku saves the world from being seen as a store.  And, herein, lies its ties to the beginnings of thought, to the imagination that sought to understand its world for the first time."

Yes, there are those who will disagree with this assessment of haiku, of course, but it is his honesty, the ability to step outside the box that causes one to listen, coupled with a genuineness of heart and spirit.  Take for instance this haiku. Galmitz takes us into his psyche, a Dali-esque dreamscape of yearning:


Falling off to sleep . . .
At the bottom of the sea,
I hear the whales sing


Heralding from New York, Galmitz has done his homework.  His poetry shows reverence and respect for those who gave us haiku centuries ago.  Using an economy of words, he cuts to the chase, exposing the essence of whatever it is he is addressing in his haiku.  Defying the so-called rules of haiku posited by well meaning, albeit, old hat publishers and aging poets who popularized the genre in America, Galmitz infuses into many of his poems, personal feelings and emotion:


I love your eyes
The way they look away:
A mountain stream


A May night -
My wife receives me inside
Of her darkened house


A tryst in June:
As I descend the stairs
How deep the blue


Shadows of minnows
Fleeing from my fingers
Where the heart reaches


Galmitz is a dreamer, unwilling to disconnect with the inner child as many think they have to when they reach adulthood.


Even at sixty
The woods are magical:
Firefly river


Says Galmitz,

"The world now constrained by definition is smashed and the quickened tremor of the living world begins to reveal itself once more."


Blue tiger
You shake your coat . . .
The world starts over


Jack Galmitz's new book of haiku, Driftwood, contains some of the finest haiku I've read in a long time.  My only criticism is with the book's design. The large, bold faced type used for the haiku is the antithesis of the art-form it presents, detracting from the beauty that is this man's poetry.


Driftwood
By Jack Galmitz
Wasteland Press
ISBN: 978-1-60047-025-7
$12