Reviews 

 

Anne Burgevin’s frozen earth is a haiku collection rooted in nature. Following an introductory haibun, the haiku in Burgevin’s book are divided into two sections: earth and air. While Burgevin presents poems loosely associated with the earth or the air, she also invites comparisons between them through haiku which, in subject and wording, are written to echo each other.

 

earth contains many haiku about gardening, blossoms, flowers, and fruit. Indeed, the Earth is commonly associated with growth and fertility. While Burgevin’s poems recognize that association, she broadens their scope to create a deeper human sensibility:

 

buckwheat flowers
her fertile days
feel numbered

 

This haiku juxtaposes flowers, as a symbol of fertility, with a woman’s worry over losing her ability to conceive. The contrast works to accentuate her concern, rendering the emotion of the moment powerfully in the reader’s mind.

 

Burgevin’s connection of humanity to nature is a prevalent concept throughout earth:

 

apple blossoms
the ballerina
holds her pose

 

As the apple blossoms time on the tree is short, so too is the ballerina’s pose. Both are beautiful, however, for as long as they do last.

 

The connection to nature in frozen earth continues through air. Here, Burgevin’s focus shifts to haiku about the wind, birds, butterflies and other objects of the sky:

 

turning a deaf ear
to the autumn wind
pink dahlias

 

On one hand, this poem can be interpreted as a simple image. While the dahlias bend with the wind, they appear to be turning away from it. On the other hand, it can be read metaphorically. Both a deaf ear and autumn are symbols of aging. As such, the personification of the haiku’s flowers implies that they are turning away from growing old.

 

Likewise, a contemplation of mortality appears in the following poem:

 

her last day
flutters of
mourning cloaks

 

Here, a woman’s last day is compared to the flutters of butterfly wings. Burgevin’s selection of mourning cloaks for this poem is astute. The pun on “mourning” works in naming the butterfly and in setting an appropriate tone for a life that is about to pass.

 

While the haiku in earth and air are organized as independent sections, there are many haiku between them which echo each other. The commonalities of these poems help bridge the separate sections of frozen earth. A good example comes from the two haiku that begin earth and air respectively:

 

nightfall
an orchid’s
soft landing

 

an orchid blossom drops his voice softens

 

The one-line haiku, coming later in the book, is reminiscent of its predecessor. Both poems include orchids falling and a sense of softness. The echo of the first poem in the second helps bridge the two sections of the book, entwining the themes of earth and air. Here is another example of this approach by Burgevin:

 

fallen fruit
his stump speech
on the sidewalk

 

ripe fruit
falling into
your lap

 

frozen earth by Anne Burgevin is a strong collection of haiku. The poems in earth and air read well in their respective sections but also echo each other to create a greater unity across the book. Burgevin is a talented haiku poet, and that talent shines clearly throughout frozen earth.

Dave Read

Haiku Canda Shohyoran, HCSHR 1:5 December 21, 2018

...Every poem in frozen earth is packed with commitment to a flourishing earth and a better humanity.

John Stevenson

Managing Editor, The Herron's Nest 

...The spirit of frozen earth illuminates the extraordinary beauty in the ordinary. These are haiku from a poet very much in love with life.

Tom Clausen

The poems in frozen earth bring us to our senses, to the sights, sounds, aromas, hues, and textures that transform momentary awareness into opportunity for insight and significance...

Francine Banwarth

Editor, Frogpond 2012–2015

Anne Burgevin’s Frozen Earth is a collection of haiku that celebrate connections to the outdoors. As a teacher and environmentalist, it is not surprising that her haiku demonstrate her commitment to celebrating the nurturing gifts of the environment.

In the first half of the book, titled “Earth”, wefind: low clusters / of black raspberries / her hidden talent (13) which celebrates both the fruit and the finder. I liked this nostalgic one: shallow eddies / we came of age / on this river (15), which shows how specific and local our connections to our past remain.

Some of the haiku take an omniscient perspective written in third person: winter apples / she thinks / he’s a keeper(21). Even political conundrums are expressed through our connections to the earth: March mud / our slippery race / relations (26). I like the way “race” shifts from verb in the second line to a noun when paired with “relations”.

In the second half of the book, “Air”, Burgevin turns to birds, the sky, and the wind as in these haiku: hummingbird nest / I was once / so small (42) and first frost / I give everything / to the night sky (44).

This is an outstanding collection of celebratory outdoors haiku. I’ll close with this favorite: laughing gulls / my hair loosens / in the breeze (48).

Randy Brooks and Michael Ketchek

Frogppond, Fall 2018 Volume 41:3 pp. 154-155

It’s always a delight to find any writing which abandons you just when you get interested, wraps you in, only to leave you with a joyful feeling of having been given the space to make whatever you want out of little hints & clues.

Anne Burgevin’s haiku offer you this special gift. For example, at the picnic/my baby’s bare tummy/the main attraction makes you glance all round at the other attractions, the weather, the talking and then come back to your laughing trance at the baby’s tummy, clean and simple. With laughing gulls/my hair loosens/in the breeze there’s a mental flip, a synaesthesia, between the sound/sight and feeling of gulls maybe on a cliff ledge—the sound of laughter becomes the abandonment of hair being blown about with all senses alive.

More soberly a small green apple/in the damp grass/you are leaving again—to cope with something upsetting, dampening the spirit, unripe, it’s resourceful to shift attention to a different focus even if on reflection it represents your misery.

More neutrally, the sound & sight of a drowsy wasp represents a heap of dusty letters that might get up and bite you if you disturb them: drowsy wasp/three generations/of dusty letters—we wish we could have a rummage in them when the wasp isn’t looking …

It’s possible to warm considerably to somebody who regards it as a compliment when the neighbour says her back yard is ‘wild and untended’.

Colin Blundell

Blithe Spirit, British Haiku Society