Hazel Hall – Moonrise over the siding

Interactive Press, Brisbane QLD Australia, 2019

This collection of tanka verse was created by Hazel Hall in collaboration with other tanka poets. It is a sensitive and moving collection which also features the artwork of the late Robert Tingey, whose diagnosis with Parkinsons Disease inspired the work of his wife, artist Nancy Tingey, in forming the Painting with Parkinsons organisation.

For those unfamiliar with the tanka, Hazel Hall’s brief introduction will prove useful. However, no pre-existing knowledge is required to feel the beauty of this work. The brevity of the form requires a strong mastery of the word. The connection of the form to its musical traditional background is also very clear when reading, as one is inclined to want to read these pieces aloud.

The collection offers us works on a number of themes and subjects from nature, to grief to domestic violence – and it is impossible for me to select a favourite or even a small number of them. Every page provides a new pleasure.

I would, however, like to reproduce here one that particularly resonated with me. I am sure that every reader will find one such work, or many, in this book.

in wartime

father dressed the wounded

returning home

he carried with him

all their fear and pain

(p.42 – this poem was translated into Japanese by Saeko Ogi).

Listen to Barbie’s interview with Hazel Hall