A collection of original haiku from a preeminent Native American poet and novelist
Favor of Crows is a collection of new and previously published original haiku poems over the past forty years. Gerald Vizenor has earned a wide and devoted audience for his poetry. In the introductory essay the author compares the imagistic poise of haiku with the early dream songs of the Anishinaabe, or Chippewa. Vizenor concentrates on these two artistic traditions, and by intuition he creates a union of vision, perception, and natural motion in concise poems; he creates a sense of presence and at the same time a naturalistic trace of impermanence.
The haiku scenes in Favor of Crows are presented in chapters of the four seasons, the natural metaphors of human experience in the tradition of haiku in Japan. Vizenor honors the traditional practice and clever tease of haiku, and conveys his appreciation of Matsuo Basho and Yosa Buson in these two haiku scenes, "calm in the storm / master basho soaks his feet /water striders," and "cold rain / field mice rattle the dishes / buson's koto."
Vizenor is inspired by the sway of concise poetic images, natural motion, and by the transient nature of the seasons in native dream songs and haiku. "The heart of haiku is a tease of nature, a concise, intuitive, and an original moment of perception," he declares in the introduction to Favor of Crows. "Haiku is visionary, a timely meditation and an ironic manner of creation. That sense of natural motion in a haiku scene is a wonder, the catch of impermanence in the seasons." Check for the online reader's companion at favorofcrows.site.wesleyan.edu.
Haiku Scenes: An Introduction
"As a volume of nature poems, Favor of Crows: New and Collected Haiku is a joyous, flamboyant, and radiant collection that sharpens our ability to perceive and appreciate discrete manifestations of the natural world. Through the vehicle of these wondrous and succinct poems, Vizenor reinforces the reality of our human dependency upon the natural world as the source that sustains us within the cycle of life. He reminds us that we are born to perceive the beauty of our surroundings and, by doing so, celebrate life in all its majesty."~Sonja James, The Journal
""Vizenor's word, survivance, also is there in the opening of the introduction. It is the survivance of the native mindset after all that survive. Vizenor explains that he sees the virtual world in haiku. Almost as if they were film. Or images on a scrim Vizenor's new collection still finds him in his waders in the steady stream of the evocative.""~Diane Glancy, Transmotion
""The ability to bring out so much in so little is truly amazing and what makes this so enjoyable. These are short stanzas to be cherished and not rushed.""~Kevin Winter, Portland Book Review
""As a volume of nature poems, Favor of Crows: New and Collected Haiku is a joyous, flamboyant, and radiant collection that sharpens our ability to perceive and appreciate discrete manifestations of the natural world. Through the vehicle of these wondrous and succinct poems, Vizenor reinforces the reality of our human dependency upon the natural world as the source that sustains us within the cycle of life. He reminds us that we are born to perceive the beauty of our surroundings and, by doing so, celebrate life in all its majesty.""~Sonja James, The Journal
""With patience, Favor of Crows opens a deeper understanding of Vizenor's poetics The book benefits from reading little by little, so you can be drawn into the poems' precise focus and encounter a speaker who seems to see the world in haiku moments.""~Janna Knittel, Rain Taxi
"Joining the traditions of Japanese haiku and Chippewa dream songs, Vizenor has created a memorable book of intuitive, visionary, one-breath nature poetry in which ordinary moments come to shimmering life on the page."~David G. Lanoue, president of the Haiku Society of America
"Gerald Vizenor has assembled a lifetime's devotion to the spiritual and poetic value of the haiku tradition in this graceful and memorable collection. His introduction helps set the stage for the four sections, organized by season, in which readers may wander and admire at will, finding moments to cherish (and return to) on every page. How grateful this should make any reader who is interested, not only in the specific Japanese tradition, but in the insight and enlightenment that poetry at its best can offer us.""~David Young, author of Field of Light and Shadow: Selected and New Poems and Moon Woke Me Up Nine Times: Selected Haiku of Basho