Cycles By Joe Woodhouse Joe starts his second collection by way of an introduction which outlines his relationship with the medium of the haiku – in that it the form motivated him to document the world around him – making him ‘look up, and out, at life’. Joe started his journey with The London Haiku Project, which was then rendered ‘fake news’ when he moved to Barcelona (I’m very jealous) – and this collection is all about that move, and his transition from writing about one busy city environment, to the delights of fiesta – loving Barcelona. The poems are not given titles as such, but descriptions such as ‘spring warmth...rumbling’ underground, stuck with me. Haikus such as : ‘financial district cash machine framed (by two beggars)’
aptly sum up the divisions in London; the wealth gap. Haikus focusing on London characters made me laugh:
‘high street old man speaks to himself about himself’
- from the elderly to the Millenials, we explore the city:
‘rail tracks split his thumb hovers which emoji?’
Then we are in Barcelona, it is clear, by the section ‘Sea’, in which lizards creep and palm trees quiver. The poem’s flow slows and the effect on the reader is calming, as Joe’s pace of life slows also:
‘cloud surfing dolphins flow across a sundown sky’.
There is something universal about his calming contentment in haikus such as:
‘September sundown treasuring the warmth of her skin’.
It is an enjoyable experience to have read Joe’s first collection and to find his second, so sophisticated and refined – I find myself quietly connecting with the haiku:
‘rainfall Drowning in the music of it all’.
You can buy Cycles here.