To read Returning is to experience an encounter with spiritual and natural alignment; there is a distinct calming effect and a slowing of the mind. Tanka is a five-lined haiku-like Japanese poetry form, and Hyatt and Salzer’s sequences, in which each contributes one poem, are brief yet rich in imagery and metaphor, like in Hyatt’s third Tanka from “Autumn”: “sensory walk // along an amaranthine path // quiet rain – // gradually our cadence // begins to match.” In this movement along the path, stillness is found, a sacred and wordless union with the natural world and all its paradoxes, like the presence of stillness while in motion, and that though everything changes, it also stays the same.
The poets draw on indigenous myth, history, and culture and the wisdom therein relating to humanity’s relationship to nature and the untenable grief at the loss of so many native languages and societies: “surrounded // by dark brown leaves // a single mushroom . . . // how I yearn to belong // to a tribe tonight.” In a world seemingly taken over by technology, Returning brings readers back to their roots and offers hope that no matter how the world is today, it is always turning forward and back around again.
Takeaway: A collaborative Tanka collection honoring nature and the healing cycle of time.
Great for fans of: Machi Tawara’s Salad Anniversary, Matsuo Basho’s Forest of Eyes: Selected Poetry of Tada Chimako.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
"Returning is a powerful collection of Mother Nature tanka poems that perfectly intertwine throughout the seasons of our Earth. There is a deep spirituality within the pages that convey a reverence for all living things. A must-read for all tanka lovers."
Pamela A. Babusci, Editor of: moonbathing: a journal of women's tanka
"A poignant, spiritual collection of tanka sequences that are arranged by season. The varying styles of both poets mix well to create emotional depth, humor, and beauty."
Nicholas Klacsanzky, Founder of the Haiku Commentary Blog
"Reading this tanka book is an invitation to rare courses enticing the senses, soul, and spirit. The tanka in RETURNING by Michelle Hyatt and Jacob Salzer invite us into a world of beauty, nature, and the poignancy of human experiences. Their tanka, exquisitely paired in tandem, lead us on a journey inwards, experiencing the heart of each poem where “…in a single breath/Aurora Borealis rises and roams/across an October sky” by Michelle, or where Jacob shares one of the ephemeralities of life in: "a fallen leaf/no longer recognizable/this autumn night ...” I could hardly set this book down and know that any reader fortunate to have this book in hand will feel the same and be equally nourished by it."
Diana Saltoon, author of Wife Just Let Go