Missoula poet Carolyn Snively offers a stirring anti-war message in this collection of Haiku.
When Operation Iraqi Freedom inspired the author to paint with poetry the effects of war on soldiers, their families, enemy fighters, civilians and the fabric of society itself, she could not have conceived that her book would be published only a short time after the war’s 10th anniversary.
The book features stunning illustrations by noted calligrapher Timothy Botts, whom the author met at a 2004 workshop for writers and artists in Santa Fe, NM. Botts was excited at the prospect of creating art that would complement Snively’s poetry.
As the author brought the two media together, she refined her work to give voice to war’s victims. After having opposed the Vietnam and Persian Gulf Wars, Snively says she was unprepared for yet another war to become her muse. However, in the end, she was driven by war’s continuous overwhelming presence to write the poems in this collection.
Haiku is distinguished by its succinct telling of a story or creation of an image in 17 syllables. In this book, however, Snively turns classical Haiku on its head. The usual celebration of natural beauty and harmony becomes a eulogy of violence, discord and redemption, all the time preserving the poetic tone and form perfectly.
The result is, as former Montana Poet Laureate Sheryl Nothe said, “… a book that should be read by everyone and memorized.”
The Smiling Photo is published by Stoneydale Press, Stevensville, and sells for $12.95 softcover and $19.95 hardcover. For more information, visit stoneydale.com.