So, it is finally out, the much awaited – at least by us – haiku anthology.
It had its book launch on the 21st, at Oxford bookstore, Mumbai. the bright red Oxford wall was a perfect cheerful backdrop for a morning of haiku book releases.
The weather cooperated too. After days of roaring thunderstorms and nightly deluges, the sun was out so that walking down under the shady boughs of peepal, mayflower and banyan trees was a real pleasure.
Then there is always the pleasure of meeting the rest of the small haiku community – not to be mistaken for the far larger and more diverse poetry groups. Most of us know each other and thanks to the indefatigable efforts of Kala Ramesh, we meet every once in a while at some function or the other with lots of ‘what’s up with you?’ and ‘what are you writing now?’
This morning was special. Releasing a haiku anthology – whether ebook or print – is call for celebration and not least because haiku is so rare. Publishing poetry is hard enough – lots of publishers declare ‘no poetry’ in their guidelines. Publishing haiku, the small and inconspicuous step sister of poetry – that is a Himalayan mountain. That Katha was willing to publish an anthology of Indian haiku, senryu, tanka and haibun, is a miracle in itself.
The book release was purely nominal. Other books were released but the haiku anthology is an ebook, and not up yet, so all we could do was read the poems from it, asking most people to get up and read their own poems or someone eles’s. The cheerful, not formal and mostly impromptu atmosphere, accompanied by lots of laughter and appreciation was delightful. In a field like haiku the audience is usually comprised of other poets and aspirants.
Then we went out for a chaat lunch and talked of haiku and haibun, ghazals and tapestry poems, book conferences and perhaps – the second Katha book of haiku.