Naga Chokkanathan

Book Review: Life Expressed in 25 Words or Less

Posted on: October 13, 2016

I learnt about Haiku poems in my college days. Their short form and the unique way of expressing everyday moments was fascinating. I even tried writing few Haiku poems in Tamil. I sent one of them to my favourite writer Sujatha and asked him, ‘do you think this fits under the Haiku Grammar?’

Why should I ask this question to Sujatha?

He wrote a fantastic book on Haiku. So, I wanted to know if I had understood it right.

Sujatha sent a simple response, ‘If you had actually experienced what you had written in this poem, it is Haiku. Else, it is not.’

Jack Cantwell’s book “Life Expressed in 25 Words or Less” brought back those memories of Haiku writing.

Technically speaking, Jack’s poems can’t be called Haikus, because they don’t fit the meter for Haiku. But, he has set up his own rule (25 words or less) for writing these poems. Even though the meter is different, the impact created by these poems remains the same.

A few people run away the moment you mention ‘poetry’ to them. But Jack’s poems will keep them hooked because they are so small, simple and straightforward. But at the same time, you will have a lot to think after reading them. They will remind you some incident from your own life, and you will start writing your own word picture (an excellent term I found in the book.)

Jack has shared the background stories about how some of the poems in the book were written. I liked them, but reading poems directly (without the background stories) was a better experience!

You can read more about this book here: http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelves/book.php?id=88810

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1 Response to "Book Review: Life Expressed in 25 Words or Less"

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