Robert Epstein’s haiku anthologies are quite popular. Yet again we have a strong theme within his latest release: They Gave Us Life: Celebrating Mothers, Fathers & Others in Haiku (Middle Island Press, 2017). It’s a 252-page anthology that was inspired by the loss of Epstein’s mother and is full of what he calls “mourning haiku” and similar forms written and/or artistically expressed by many poets who understand how it feels to lose a close loved one.
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Robert Epstein, psychotherapist, haiku poet and anthologist, has recently published his sixth Middle Island Press title with the assistance of co-editor Miriam Wald, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and animal rights activist. They poured their hearts and souls into this 218-page anthology with a considerable amount of well-wrought front matter and a lot of selection and arranging of the poetry of some of the most bright, witty and compassionate animal-lovers in the world. I consider Robert Epstein to be a ground-breaker in animal rights awareness (with this current title, Every Chicken, Cow, Fish and Frog: Animal Rights Haiku, as well as his Turkey Heaven: Animal Rights Haiku) and feel that no vegetarian’s library is complete without these books.
~ Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy
a caged chimpanzee
injected with hepatitis
~ Allan Burns
“Every Chicken, Cow, Fish, and Frog is a special compilation tribute to animals. The magical place where human and non-human animals briefly connect, and share an understanding, is here, in this powerful book.”
~ Hope Bohanec, Executive Director of Compassionate Living, Projects Manager of United Poultry Concerns, and author, The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat?
“Every Chicken, Cow, Fish, and Frog presents us with a unique, engrossing and deeply thought-provoking anthology of poetry and haiku from a global authorship for the animal- and planet-conscious reader. The subtle power of this word art will inspire many to think with greater clarity, vision and focus about some of the greatest challenges we face today.”
~ Robert Grillo, Executive Director of Free from Harm, and author, From Farm to Fable: The Fictions of Our Animal-Consuming Culture
(Every Chicken Cow, Fish and Frog is available online and will shortly be available also in Kindle format.)
Animal Rights is a theme that California poet, editor and anthologist Robert Epstein takes rather seriously yet sometimes in a playful fashion. Turkey Heaven: Animal Rights Haiku (ISBN 978-1535070829), recently published through Middle Island Press, is witty and wise in its approach and persuasive “food for thought” regarding Epstein’s respect for animals and the vegetarian diet.
what about your shoes / the cheeky carnivore asks? / broccoli
Read the poet’s comments on Turkey Heaven at the Middle Island Press website.
Copies are available through Amazon.com and elsewhere online.
From the back cover:
How much thought have you given to whether there is life after death? Some religions, like Christianity and Hinduism, posit the existence of heaven and reincarnation, while others are silent on the question. Those not guided by faith are inclined to relegate this haunting mystery to the outermost margins of their lives. In these pages, contributors from around the world have trained their poetic eye on this all-important quest. Relying on the power of intuition and creative imagination, the poets in this collection give us a glimpse into the great mystery of life after death. Suspend your skeptical mind and accompany the poets here on the adventure into the afterlife; you may not only be surprised, but forever changed.
my mother’s voice calls
~ Roberta Beary
a deceased friend
taps me on the shoulder –
plum blossoms falling
~ Chen-ou Liu
In this collection, poets share brilliant and moving glimpses of immortality and continuous renewal. To read these poems, therefore, is to accept death as the watermark on every one of life’s pages. It is to feel at home in the vastness of existence.
~ Sheila Bender, Author of A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief, and Founder of http://www.writingitreal.com
Epstein’s collection is a treasure pot of tiny jewels. Because haiku conveys experiences of the ineffable, it is perhaps the best vehicle for transmitting the impact of encounters with the mysteries that lie beyond the grave.
~ Julia Assante, Author of The Last Frontier: Exploring the Afterlife and Transforming Our Fear of Death
248 pages with cover art by Ron C. Moss.
The realm of American haiku poetry has been exceptionally blessed by Robert Epstein, undoubtedly one of California’s most studied and accomplished haiku poets. Epstein’s third Middle Island Press title, Haiku Edge: New and Selected Poems, was a long time in the making but is a beautiful finished product that is generously showered with the artwork of Ed Markowski. The “edge” that the title aptly implies is a sense of morbidity with sections throughout the 135-page collection such as “Tarot Reading” and “In the Morgue.” Bear in mind that Robert Epstein is a psychologist! This makes his haiku particularly intriguing as he wrestles with the perpetually haunting ghosts of the unknown, unabashedly questioning with rationality. We recommend this title to everyone who enjoys haiku and seeks a refreshing (or hair-raising) twist on it, or for those who enjoy pondering subjects such as the afterlife.
Haiku Edge: New and Selected Poems can be purchased through Amazon.com and elsewhere online.
It always makes me smile when my poets send me notes on how they’re doing; it’s good to feel their enthusiasm. I’ve received news of two readings within the first quarter of this year:
Georgia poet Stephen Godfrey (formerly from WV) did a reading on January 23rd at Christian Books and More in Moultrie, GA.
New Jersey poet Barbara Wirkus did a reading on March 24th at the Kenilworth (NJ) Public Library.
Furthermore, there was a recent award nomination. Robert Epstein, a haiku poet and anthologist from California, had his first Middle Island Press title (chapbook: What My Niece Said in My Head) chosen for the “shortlist” of the Haiku Foundation Touchstone Book Awards, 2014.
Blessed be the poets who enrich the life of myself and others with their heartfelt words. In the end, “heartfelt” is really what it’s all about.
Haiku Forest Afterlife is a very special title to Middle Island Press. It is our first full-length perfect-bound book of poetry, and it was Robert Epstein, full of patience and encouragement, who essentially led us to a greater course which is keeping us busier than ever.
From the back cover:
Most religious traditions have some fundamental belief about what happens to us after we die. Heaven and reincarnation are just two such notions with regards to the soul that offer comfort to those who fear death or have lost a loved one. In truth, we, the living, cannot say what happens to us after we die because, by definition, we are not dead yet; what happens after death remains the great mystery. At the same time, the human imagination is capable of venturing out into uncharted territory–the landscape of posthumous consciousness. In this book, Robert Epstein explores this landscape through the poetic lens of haiku. Suspend your rational, scientific mind and join him in contemplating the afterlife where the invisible and unknowable take poetic form. If time stops, what then?
Copies are available at various online locations. We encourage lovers of haiku and philosophy of life and death to purchase a copy of Haiku Forest Afterlife and leave a kind book review at Amazon.com. Poets and publishers alike appreciate the support of readers!