From the Publisher
The art of parenting is moderation -
Too much rain brings the flood
Too much sun dries the land
In Garden Haiku, the author successfully blends three elements: Asian philosophy, the haiku form, and parenting advice. "Moderation" is an example of one of the best pieces in the collection. As the subtitle of the book indicates, there is great wisdom to be found in these poems based on Asian philosophies. The author manages to convey this wisdom in haikus like the above, while also paying care to the demands of language. The repetition of similarly structured lines (line 2 and 3 above) is a wise strategy that works effectively in "moderation." Within just three lines, an effective and engaging rhythm is established.
In the poem "Lion," which is from a series of poems named after animals, a similar structure is employed: the first line introduces the poem's main idea, and that is followed by two similarly structured lines that give the poem both momentum and rhythm and bring it to a satisfying conclusion:
Bring the best in children--
Tame not the lion that rules the king
Ground not the eagle that soars the sky
While the two poems above speak directly to parenting, there are other equally effective poems in the collection iwth advice that can be applied to all aspects of life. The poem "stone" is an example.
Disappointment is a heavy stone--
When a mistake is made,
Correct it; do not carry it
While the author writes specifically to parents, even those without children can believe in this philosophy for living one's life. In this way, the book can be a good read to anyone, not just parents.
One of my favorite haikus in the book is "Lighthouse," which follows in its entirety:
A child is a lighthouse, full of love--
To get to it,
Paddle with patience
As with all the poems in the collection, the simple language speaks to everyone without excluding anyone; also there is nothing at all offensive in languages or content about these poems -- they can be read by a general audience, by children as well as adult. The writing here is always competent, and the best poems are effective. The author has studied and reworked the haiku form, and she has an interesting voice. Garden Haiku is a uniquely entertaining and originally written book in a distinctive format.
From the Author
While Garden Haiku addresses parents and writes about young children, it is meant for everyone to enjoy. The themes and values are universal: we all grow from childhood to adulthood, and we are all our own best parents. We need to be nurturing and assuring people who believe in ourselves and support our dreams. Wang revives golden virtues with original poetic lucidity to bring Zen to parenting:
Patience is to
Have no expectations
But greater acceptance
Children can devil or angel be-
Put your hands on their backs
The touch of their wings
Wang equates parents with gardeners whose sole purpose is to nurture tender buds into full bloom. While we have our children's futures in our hands, they also have ours in theirs. A modern Zen classic, Garden Haiku is every caregiver's poetic manual on the art of parenting.
-Midwest Book Review
"Just right for parents."
-Kirkus Book Reviews
"Distills magic into three-line poems celebrating life."