A Hundred Gourds 1:4 September 2012
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page 5

A Review of John Carley's the Little Book of Yotsumonos
John McManus

the Little Book of Yotsumonos by John Carley with Hortensia Anderson, Lorin Ford, Carole MacRury, Sandra Simpson, William Sorlien and Sheila Windsor, Darlington Richards Press, Available to purchase from, 139 pages, perfect bound, $16, ISBN 978-0-9869763-1-5

This attractive, pocket-sized book dropped through my post box months ago and I've barely put it down since. The book starts with a foreword by Nobuyuki Yuasa and is followed by a preface by John Carley. Both serve to build the reader's eagerness to read and experience this exciting form of linked verse.

The poems do not disappoint. Here are some my favourites:


hayride at dusk —
scarecrows bowing
in the wind

my precious pages
scattered one by one

the sweetness
of each raspberry
plucked from the bush

a moment's rest
along the road to hell

Hortensia Anderson, John Carley.

The Honey Jar

grant me SatNav
for your underworld
O Saint Matsuo

Hitler's facial tic
flares like sunlight

a kora rills in silence
bright arpeggios

in a honey jar
time itself congeals

John Carley, Lorin Ford.

Sunday Picnic

Sunday picnic
a blink of an eye
to the nearest galaxy

plum blossoms perish
on the instant barbeque

cloistered in silence
a cracked bowl
that will never fill

fat old men
pretending to be angels

William Sorlien, John Carley.

I not only find the subtle links between each verse in these Yotsumonos to be delightful and amusing, but I find myself enjoying each and every verse as much as I have any standalone poems I've recently read.

As well as some wonderful poetry from a group of very talented poets from different sides of the globe there's a very useful breakdown of the Yotsumono form near the end of the book, which adds a great deal of practicality to this entertaining and informative book. There's even a few blank pages after it to jot down notes, ideas or even poems. My congratulations goes out to all involved with this wonderful publication.

I hope that all who read it especially appreciate the contribution from Hortensia Anderson, who passed away just after the release of the book.


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