NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
JOANNA ASHWELL: BETWEEN MOONLIGHT
Hub Editions
Longholm
East Bank
Wingland
Sutton Bridge
Spalding
Lincolnshire
PE12 9YS
UK
ISBN 1 903746 57 4 5

Read a poem by Joanna Ashwell on Aabye's Baby.

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JOANNA ASHWELL: BETWEEN MOONLIGHT
BETWEEN MOONLIGHT is a beautifully produced small collection of haiku and similar poems from Joanna Ashwell. The poems are arranged two to a page, giving each poem the space it deserves without wasting too much space. Some of the haiku focus entirely on the natural world, my favourites being:
	with the setting sun
	shadows pirouetting 
	in and out of webs.
and this one, where the shape of the poem follows the meaning of the words and the actual scene described:
	sand drifting
	            eastward
	                    to the shore
Other poems focus on the relationship between the human world and nature, offering illuminating meditations. Some of my favourites of these include:
	the only movement outside my window 
	a discarded paper bag
	chasing the clouds

		mixing paints at dusk 
		to catch the blue sky
		slowly darkening
Yet other poems focus more entirely on the human world, as separate from nature, though still influenced by it:
	too much beer
	lost in a swirl
	starlit avenues

		dripping dry
		banished to the kitchen
		the dog sniffing at the cake.
My overall favourites manage to convey a real sense of mystery:
	scattered shells
	upon the shore
	tidal dreams

		as the footsteps disappear
		whispers multiply 
		among a web of stars.
There seem to be a lot of people writing haiku at the minute and much discussion of what exactly a haiku is and should be. Personally I have learnt a lot about haiku form over the past year or so, but the most important thing for me remains whether a haiku captures a 'haiku moment' encapsulating something significant within the observation of a small moment in time. Using that perspective then most of the haiku in this collection succeed beautifully and it is a book well worth reading.
reviewer: Juliet Wilson.