This monumental anthology features 900 poems from 420 poets in 45 countries (on 6 continents!), and spanning 33 languages. The book has been compiled and edited by poet and filmmaker Dimitar Anakiev (Kamesan), with illustrations and graphic design by Kuniharu Shimizu.
This landmark collection, interweaving hundreds of poetic voices from around the world, creates a powerful statement for peace and against war. I have never stood in a minefield, or toted a gun on my shoulder, or watched bombs bursting in the night sky over my city—at least not until I read this book.
The sparseness of haiku leaves no room for illusion, no separation between reader and the scene described. Our comfort zone is stripped away poem after poem until we have no choice but to confront the full sweep of war and all its consequences. And in so doing, we end up defining our humanity more sharply. We become keenly aware of what we truly value. The American composer Leonard Bernstein once remarked “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” Kamesan’s World Haiku Anthology on War, Violence and Human Rights Violation is a potent example of that strategy at work. Changing the world one poem at a time.
Here are my own three haiku in this anthology—all referencing Canada’s indigenous population:tuberculosis diabetes and polio sewn to red skin
~sunny schoolroom— bright needles pierce the tongue of a child speaking her language
~broken yarrow stalk the only marker on a Native child’s grave