Kokako 23 and Kokako 25

Edited by Patricia Prime and Margaret Beverland (2015 and 2016)

Review by Sue Edwards

Kokako is a magazine of haiku, tanka, haibun, and related genres. It appears twice annually in April and September.

I particularly liked the cover image of a bird on Kokako 25. On close study, it could be a negative-type photo of an art piece set on a heavy black plinth. The bird looks like it’s woven from wire… it’s very interesting.

On reading the editor’s note by Margaret Beverland, I discover issue 25 of Kokako is their silver anniversary issue. Congratulations!

In Kokako 23, there are two Memoriam (p.3), one for John O’Connor 1949-2015, and the other for Helen Bascand 1929-2015. This is a lovely touch, and it’s always interesting to read tributes to talented, interesting poets.

As a keen hedge-clipping gardener, I could instantly visualise Penny Pruden’s Haiku (Kokako 23) (p.5):

newly-clipped hedge
perfect launching pad
for sparrows

Then, Ron C Moss’ (Kokako 23) (p.11):

burial place
soft paws rustle
the leaves

Sad somehow, and beautiful.

In the same touching vein was Lucinda Savona’s poem (Kokako 23) (p.40):

Soft rain

Moistening our dry land
Falling tears
Darkening winter skies
Another year without you

All my senses were engaged, the smell of rain on parched land, the sky darkening, the joy and feel of soft rain… all participate in her remembering a loss.

You can find a particularly beautiful account of loss (I think) by Chen-ou Liu (Kokako 23) (p.62). I won’t write the full poem. This is just a taste: ‘…Like a black widow, loneliness wraps itself around my mind, spins a cocoon, and then squeezes until it stops moving…’ (“Exiled”).

Can you feel the slow insidious pressure? I can.

There are so many beautiful pieces in both books. I have only selected a few, and here are some more that I highly recommend:

Laura Davis (Kokako 25) (p.12).

Elaine Riddell (Kokako 25) (p.22).

Glenys Ferguson (Kokako 25) (p.40).

Marilyn Fleming (Kokako 25) (p.40).

I could see these last two poems working wonderfully together somehow.

You know what? I could go on and on, I suggest you might think about subscribing to this delightful publication. They were truly a pleasure to read.