Even though Seas to Mulberries is more than 250 pages long and only holds a few lines of text per page, but readers are hardly cheated with this collection of haiku-like works from micro-poetry specialist Frank Watson.
Here, he demonstrates how big angst, love, wonderment or mirth can be expressed with a minimum of words. Because of the minimalism, titles for the pieces are unnecessary; nothing more needs to be said when the adoration comes pouring out with, “three ladies dance: a devil/an angel/ and the one I love.”
Other poems are more oblique, more open to interpretation, as the five-liner “he sucked on ice/until it seeped/into his veins/and froze/his heart.”
Not everything Watson presents here is heavy. Occasionally, a playful piece like “in the courtyard/Venus and her maids/were nude/but is it lewd/to allude to gods/whose breasts protrude?” appears.
Whether you read it cover to cover in one go or savor a page a day, Seas to Mulberries is sure to amuse and inspire.
As to Watson’s own inspiration, the book is appended with a handful of translations of mostly Chinese poems that he finds particularly meaningful.