Derfner, Joel. “Gay Haiku”, Broadway Books, 2005.
Sweet and Sassy
Joel Derfner is my new hero. After reading his new book, “Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever”, I made my own quest to find his first book, “Gay Haiku”. It sounded like it would be great selection of short jokes but it is so much more than that. Yes, it is funny but it is also insightful and biting. It is a description of the crazy and maddening world of gay dating and it is very easy to relate to the haikus that he gives us. In seventeen syllables he catches each moment perfectly something that authors have written full books about and not managed to get.
The Haiku poem has long been part of the Japanese literary tradition. Usually a haiku expresses peace and contemplation as well as spiritual enlightenment with a balance of rhythm and rhyme. Rather than write about the changing of the seasons or the miracles of nature, Derfner writes haiku about the changing of boyfriends and the miracle of shopping. (How can one not love that?). Included are 110 irreverent and witty haiku poems and each is fresh and original. Topics of the poems include decorating, dating, shopping culture and politics, family and, of course, sex.
“Gay Haiku” is terrific and is a laugh a line. It will probably give you an impetus to write haiku of your own.