Dave Read: One Letter Poems

Book review of “One Letter Poems” by Dave Read

Hedge mazes. Navajo sand paintings. Nazca lines. Formicariums. Houndstooth. Rococo. Spiderwebs. A tattooed man. Hawaiian shirts. Scarification. Quilting. Tessellation. Mandalas. The sound the universe makes. M.C. Escher. Jigsaw puzzles. Go. Rube Goldberg devices. Street art. Hieroglyphics. Magic circles. Plate tectonics…

Many short-form poetry aficionados are familiar with the innumerable stunning haiku and senryu published by Canadian haijin and artist Dave Read, which have appeared in numerous prestigious journals, some highlights of which were recently exhibited in his excellent collection ‘Fifty at Fifty’. But those admirers may well not be aware of Read’s similar penchant, his astonishing knack for creating the most gorgeous, fascinating, positively mesmerizing pieces of visual artwork, which he’s had no less success publishing prolifically in esteemed places, and fans of the pieces will be delighted to discover there is an entire impressive collection of them now available to peruse at one’s leisure in hard copy form.

‘One Letter Poems’, a fetching, elegant chapbook with a blue cover and cream pages, is among the most joyful, relaxing, hypnotic reads a person can ever encounter. Staring intensely at each image (or ‘letter’) one may be reminded of the magic eye puzzles which move and shift, those optical illusions where motion is inferred somehow by the eyes through baffling mechanisms. It transports the audience back to the lava lamps and black light posters of adolescence but also invokes far older, loftier traditions – such as cave paintings and primitive aboriginal tattoo flash, stick and poke of the Polynesian Islands. There is something so alien, yet at the same time resoundingly sensical about this work, for the scientist, the nature lover, the obsessive with compulsions toward order and symmetry.  Observing in each construction the harmony wrought from chaos provides an intensely satisfying experience.

If you crave a moment of Zen, your own personal ‘timeline cleanse’ to break up a day’s tumult or monotony, this slim and edifying opus by Dave Read may present just the prescription to nourish your mind and spirit!

Dave Read is a Canadian short form poet and asemic writer.  He was a recipient of the 2016 Touchstone Individual Poem Award for haiku, as granted by The Haiku Foundation. His work has been published in many journals (including Otata, Presence, Modern Haiku and Haiku Canada Review) and anthologies (including New Resonance 11).  His first chapbook of asemic writing, “Notebook” is available from Paper View Books. His second chapbook, “One Letter Poems”, is available from the author at [email protected].


Jerome Burglund

Jerome Berglund has published book reviews and essays on poetry and poetics in Fireflies’ Light, Frogpond, Haiku Canada, Hooghly Review, the Mamba, North of Oxford, Setu, Valley Voices, also frequently exhibits poetry, short stories, plays, and fine art photography in print magazines, online journals, and anthologies.
Writing Publications.

1 thought on “Dave Read: One Letter Poems”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *