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2019

NORTH CAROLINA L I T E R A R Y RE V I E W

PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVE RUSSO

conscious observation and concrete depiction: upturned cicada we read slave narratives row by row (Lenard D. Moore) statue of a black man laden with snow distant bells (L. Teresa Church) plantation tour

history, lessons, loss, harmony, folklore, belief, and view. Moore explains in his introduction, “This book does not follow the usual seasonal structure for a haiku collection. . . . The topics are nontraditional as well as traditional for the haiku community” (3). However, they are correlative, revealing an interactive connection between nature and human nature, past and present, society and human existence, suffering and joy, thus providing a window light for us to see into African American culture, history, and experience in the South crystallized into the minimal form of haiku. Even though the form is minimal, the haiku in this collection are mindful and bring our attention to various occurrences in history and at present. The following poems by the five poets are exemplars of mindfulness about African American experiences through

Read about L. TERESA CHURCH and poems by her in this issue (pages 21–23).

ABOVE L. Teresa Church; ABOVE RIGHT Sheila Smith McKoy

I follow the swallowtail to the slave house (Crystal

The moment indicated in twilight, the feeling suggested in the floating yellow leaf, and the culture expressed in jazz reveal more than harmony. They are full of seasonality and maintain a balance or counterbalance. If the color of the falling leaf reflects sadness, the sound of jazz may help to relieve it. Moreover, a keen eye may see the juxtaposition of the two images that brings out a unity of nature and human nature.

Simone Smith) balmy Sunday Wayne Shorter’s saxophone flowing through the park (Sheila Smith McKoy) diagonal snow

PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVE RUSSO

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Wall Street glitters with afros and badges (Gideon Young)

In reading these haiku, we do not just seek understanding of African American experiences; we also gain aesthetic appreciation of these experiences from each poet’s depiction. For example, Sheila Smith McKoy provides a moment of harmony through the transference of the senses between the visual image of a yellow leaf and the sound of jazz: around twilight a yellow leaf floats downward jazz in the air

Lenard D. Moore’s haiku also help us to gain aesthetic appreciation of harmony, though they may not be placed under the topic of harmony. The following,

SHEILA SMITH MCKOY, born in Raleigh, NC, is a professor and the department chair of the Department of English at Kennesaw State University. She received a BA from NC State University, an MA from UNC Chapel Hill, and a PhD from Duke University. Her writing has been published in African American Women Writers 1910–1940, Journal of Ethnic American Literature, and Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora, among other venues.

Profile for East Carolina University

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2019  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2019  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

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