Salzer’s deft use of juxtaposition is his principal tool in establishing a sense of oneness in his collection. In lines like: “sleeping samurai . . . /// the ladybug sways // on a blade of grass,” a moment of peace bonds two disparate images, demonstrating that the boundaries between them are flimsy and capable of being pulled apart with something as gentle as wind. The poems disrupt several binaries, including darkness and light, life and death. Grandmother’s aging veins are compared to a kale leaf, and her cremated ashes flow toward the sea. Death, to Salzer, and to nature, behaves in the same way as everything else: like a river. It is not an end, but a continuity—part of the “ebb and flow of the stars” and the earth.
The poems’ evocation of the unity of the universe echoes disparate indigenous beliefs, and the references Salzer makes throughout the collection, from the Makah totem pole to the Sioux words “wichoni mini” which mean “life-giving rains,” also pay homage to the people who were stewards of Earth instead of conquerors. Though concise, Salzer’s collection expands in meaning toward the outermost reaches of the universe, but it is written simply enough for readers of all levels to find power and value in the poems.
Takeaway: A starlit collection that dissolves boundaries between humanity and nature, time and space.
Great for fans of: Yosa Buson, Matsuo Basho.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
I love Jacob's haiku and tanka. They always touch my heart in deep places. I highly recommend this book.
- Carolyn Winkler, Author of Masayume: A Dream Comes True
There are so many haiku to enjoy in this collection. There's a quietness to them, a tranquility that invites the reader to slow down, to head off into the imagination. A few favorites: "forest mist... / thoughts drift / into other worlds" and "scent of green tea / in my travel mug / the forest's darkness". Definitely a book to check out. - Mary Deka
Unplugged— is a delicious encounter with the mysteries and relationships of the animate world. In each haiku and tanka, Jacob has provided an unassuming space for the reader to feel and hear the wordless language of trees, water, fire, and air. Captured in moments of wonder, awe, and respect for our Great Mother, Jacob’s words resonate and spread out like branches, inviting us to gently pause, rest, and join with Nature in honest communion. Jacob’s poetry is a healing medicine in a world that is so fast-paced, we often miss the opportunity to slow down and engage with life in pure and simple ways. Unplugged— encourages us to be awake and aware of our humanness and oneness with the Earth as we become part of something much larger than ourselves.
- Michelle Hyatt Co-author of Echoes: A Collection of Linked-Verse Poetry (Lulu, 2020)