Category Archives: News & Reviews

Free to Dance Forever: Mourning Haiku for My Mother by Robert Epstein

Free To Dance Forever: Mourning Haiku for My Mother is a beautiful book by Robert Epstein, and one of several of Epstein’s books published through Middle Island Press. This book was made available for purchase via Amazon on the first anniversary of the poet’s mother’s passing. It contains a full-bodied Introduction and haiku divided by stages of life, death, and mourning through the heart and mind of Epstein as both son and psychotherapist making peace with the pain and loss. Eulogies are also included at the back of the book, as well as much recommended reading.

Free to Dance Forever is so moving and is of such a critical subject that it will sell itself, and it was an honor for Middle Island Press to publish it.

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Posted by on April 19, 2018 in News & Reviews


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Little Bird, Little Bird by Loni Hoots

This book is a first for Loni Hoots and Middle Island Press: It’s a children’s book, first in the Little Bird Series of ongoing adventures in collaboration with illustrator Melissa Rohr. Little Bird, Little Bird is sure to be a lively addition to the bookshelves of preschool-aged through elementary school-aged children (recommended to be read by an adult with bedtime quietude and playful inflection).

Little Bird, Little Bird is now available at Amazon.

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Posted by on April 19, 2018 in News & Reviews


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Congratulations to Robert Epstein

Robert Epstein, a dedicated haiku poet and anthologist, has earned the honor of making The Touchstone Distinguished Books Award Committee’s Shortlist for 2017 with They Gave Us Life: Celebrating Mothers, Fathers & Others in Haiku, an anthology edited by Epstein and published by Middle Island Press.

Here is the letter that he received:

The Touchstone Distinguished Books Award Committee Announces Its Shortlist for 2017

The Haiku Foundation is pleased to announce The Touchstone Distinguished Books Award Shortlist for books of haiku and related forms published in 2017. The eighty books nominated for this year’s award represent a rich variety of English-speaking books from many nations and haiku traditions.

It was with great effort that the panelists narrowed their choices to the 15 books on the list. In the first round of reading, each panelist reads approximately 16 randomly assigned books of haiku collections by individual authors, haibun collections, anthologies and books on haiku criticism, and then nominates three books for the Shortlist. There is also an opportunity for panelists to choose books that they have read on their own as substitutions if they feel another book deserves recognition. In the next round, each panelist reads each book on the Shortlist to decide which books will receive further recognition.

On April 17, the Foundation will post the final awards for 2017. We extend our congratulations to the following authors and publishers (books are arranged by alphabetical order by author):

Brandi, John & Martinez, Noriko Kawasaki. A House By Itself: Selected Haiku: Masaoka Shiki. White Pine Press.
Brickley, Chuck. earthshine. Snapshot Press.
Buckingham, Helen. sanguinella. Red Moon Press.
Busch, Simone K. von Schatten trinken / sipping from shadows. Books on Demand.
Carter, Terry Ann. Tokaido. Red Moon Press.
Coman, Sonia. Passages. Hoshin Media Group.
Day, Cherie Hunter. for Want. Ornithopter Press.
Deming, Kristen. plum afternoon. Red Moon Press.
Epstein, Robert (editor). They Gave Us Life: Celebrating Mothers, Fathers & Others in Haiku. Middle Island Press.
Latham, Jessica Malone. cricket song: Haiku and Short Poems form a Mother’s Heart. Red Moon Press.
Mason, Scott. The Wonder Code. Girasole Press.
McCullough, Vicki (editor). Sisyphus: Haiku Work of Anna Vakar. catkin.
Montreuil, Michael (Editor). At the Edge: Raw NerVZ Haibun. Éditions des petits nuages.
Polette, Keith. the new world. Red Moon Press.
Tiwari, Paresh. Raindrops Chasing Raindrops. Red River.

I wish to thank the distinguished Books Award Committee: Randy Brooks, Rebecca Lilly, Michael McClintock, Julie Warther and Don Wentworth.

Bruce H. Feingold
Chair, Touchstone Awards Committee, The Haiku Foundation


Congratulations to Robert Epstein! It’s been such a pleasure working with him over the years. It so happens that this news arrives at the anniversary of his mother’s passing as well as the release of his latest book, Free to Dance Forever: Mourning Haiku for My Mother, which is available at Amazon as of this morning.

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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in News & Reviews


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Sketching Hibiscus by Kallima Inachus

I’m gladdened to have recently completed Sketching Hibiscus (Middle Island Press), which is now available at Amazon. Kallima is gifted with incredible sensory perception that makes her poems sparkle with uniqueness, and her sophistication and life experience have graced her with a vast mental library of references that add color and depth to her creative imagery.

A poem called “Starfish”:

Out on the lanai we sip lotus green tea
by an overgrown
bush of jasmine pikake.

Myrtle is inside
making mushroom soup—

morel shitake chanterelle

Somewhere beneath
the jade sway
of the Pacific

are self-healing.

Blue koi
on these white-glazed bowls.

Pure aroma:
steam of faint cream and earth.

So much to marvel—
Balm of shark’s fin,
gold touch,

fine loose rhythms
of being
on the same wavelength.

(Purchase a copy of Sketching Hibiscus at Amazon.)

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Posted by on March 15, 2018 in News & Reviews


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Forthcoming Book to Inspire Healing

Robert Epstein does wonderful work. Thank You for promoting it!

Charlotte Digregorio's Writer's Blog

I recently interviewed Haiku Poet and Author Robert Epstein, a psychotherapist living in the San Francisco area, about his forthcoming book, Free to Dance Forever, which I’m sure you will enjoy. If you would like to contact Epstein, you may do so by email at:

  1. Tell us about your new book, Free to Dance Forever:
    Mourning Haiku for My Mother, and what inspired you to write it.

My dear mother died on April 7, 2017––the day before my 63rd
birthday. I had already been writing anticipatory grief haiku about
my motherʼs decline due to dementia and cancer. When she died,
I started a mourning journal that included mostly haiku, just as I
had done after my father died in June, 2002.

After receiving some poems from David H. Rosen about the death of his beloved dog, I
sent a few haiku to him. Rosen is a Jungian analyst and

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Posted by on March 10, 2018 in News & Reviews


Minded Places: The Latest Book by Rodney Nelson

Minded Places, a book of poems by North Dakota poet Rodney Nelson, was recently released through Middle Island Press. Nelson offers an incredibly lucid experience through his poems, much like stepping into a dream at times – another place, another time; or simply living the experience of another (in this case, Rodney Nelson). Beautiful work as always; we’re glad to see it in print.


at night she had put
the remnant fire
to bed in ash in
the kitchen range and
at seven it came
to flame again

no doubt the water
would boil when the clock
said minutes later
without a doubt and
it would be ready
for the drip pot

light was appearing
at the north window
with certainty and
she did not look to
turn the oil lamp down
which had not moved

(Minded Places is available at Amazon.)

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Posted by on March 6, 2018 in News & Reviews


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Book Review: Marital Advice to My Grandson, Joel

(By Christina Anne Taylor)

Peter Davidson’s Marital Advice to My Grandson, Joel (available at Amazon) was just published by Sweet Memories Publishing. The subtitle, How to be a husband your wife won’t throw out of the window in the middle of the night, alludes to the playful tone found throughout this book.

It warms my heart as I assume it was a wedding gift of sage advice from Grandpa to his grandson. A lot of advice herein involves such a level of detail that is humorous in itself, and the author enjoys reminding his grandson as well as the reader who is speaking:

“‘Your wife-to-be is beautiful, built, smart, and nice – marry her quick before she gets into what a loser you are.’ (Joel, this advice would apply to about 95% of the guys out there, but not to a couple of smooth guys like you and me.)”

One of my favorite laughing moments regarding how to handle (and not handle) the question of “Does this dress make my ass look big?” He says:

“Now, there is no doubt that you consider yourself to be one of the most quick-witted and funniest guys on the planet. Humorous quips pop into your mind such as, ‘Naw – it’s no more than two ax-handles wide,’ or ‘Don’t worry about it – it’s all behind you.’ Here are three thoughts for you to consider: First, you’re not as funny as you think. Second, you’re walking on egg shells here. Third, this is a wonderful opportunity to deliver a superb compliment that she will deeply appreciate and that she will remember for a long time, if not forever.” (For as he also says, “Be careful what you confess to in a weak moment – women have a memory like an elephant.”)


Suggestions in general range from the playful (a man’s role in yard sales) to practical brilliance (why it’s good to choose vacuuming the floor as a household task) to less common experience (how to handle money in a way that ensures wealth). What looks mean what, what body language means what…this is all covered.

All in all, this grandfather/author is a cut-up with the first three quarters of the book written like two fellas having drinks – one talking and chuckling with the other listening and chuckling – and then toward the end it gets more serious, as though the piano man has announced his final song for the night; but throughout, it retains its humor.

Marital Advice to My Grandson, Joel would be useful for any soon-to-be married couple. It’s a quick read for those pressed for time, but the kind of book that one would pull out every now and then just for the love of it.

My best to the attractive young couple, Joel and Abby, who are blessed to have Grandpa’s sage advice on hand!

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Posted by on February 15, 2018 in News & Reviews


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