Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Review: FU Haiku

Quinlan, Beth and Perry Taylor.  F U Haiku: Pissed-Off Poetry for Every Occasion.  Avon, MA: Adams, 2010. 218pp.

You may have stolen
my identity, but you
cannot take my rage.

Is it a timeless truth? Probably not, because just a few years ago we didn't even know what "identity theft" even was. Bostonians Beth Quinlan and Perry Taylor ramp up the levels of anger throughout the course of their book F U Haiku: Pissed-Off Poetry for Every Occasion.

Now I'll be the first to admit: I am not a multiply-divorced woman and have never once in my life had PMS. Some of these haiku flew over my head. But the seething bitterness of some of the rest of them rang through, like in the following examples, two facing-page poems:

Don't leave him laughing,
leave him burnt-out, broke, depressed,
bald and impotent.


Don't leave her laughing,
leave her burnt-out, broke, depressed,
fat and infertile.

Such rage. So lovable. The book runs the gamut of possible irritants, from asshole bosses to road rage to cheating spouses to Bernie Madoff. And while it's true that some of these references will be stale in five to ten years (like all those books that made fun of Reagan... still have any of those around?), the book gets to act as a sort of cheeky little time capsule for the powerless anger that is the Great Recession.

Some of the haiku also contain some clever pun-craft, such as in this one...

When in doubt, find a
private dick to keep close tabs
on your private dick.

....or turn from sweet to sour all in the last line, like in this one:

Korean ladies,
all petite and sweet. What the
hell are you saying?

But I think the haiku I like the most are the ones that walk the furthest afield from the traditionally meditative and peaceful koan. These are the violent haiku, a litany of running people down and keying their cars and setting their houses on fire. Perhaps my favorite example is the following poem:

My neighbor's dog pooped
in my yard again. Now he
barks for my mercy.

I'm not sure if "he" refers to the neighbor or the dog there, but I feel sorry for either one of them. Somebody's about ready to get medieval on one (or both) of them.

All in all, this is a pretty solid collection of witty poems. It's the kind of book you buy for an office Secret Santa gift exchange or for a friend near the end of the semester, when those research papers start piling up. Or maybe you keep it on hand as a reference so that the next time someone takes your sandwich out of the office fridge, you can scrawl one of these little gems on the wall with their blood, Manson-style.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One Week Left Till Launch!

The July 2010 issue of High Coup Journal will be out in about a week, and we're still accepting submissions-- this time. Seems like it might be a good idea to take the last week of the month off to actually assemble the darned thing (however much work that's going to take.... not thinking too much). Still, breathing room might be good.

But we'd be breathlessly anticipating sharing some of the awesome stuff that's coming soon. So so soon.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

A column of flame
rises from the Weber grill.
Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy 17th: Teaser!

Happy 17th of the month, everybody! To celebrate, we're going to reveal something from the July issue of High Coup Journal.

Get ready for some great work from Aaron Owens....


...just a taste, see?

Make sure to check back July 1 or 2, when the issue is up!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010


There are 17 syllables in a haiku, right?

So it only makes sense that there should be 17 haiku in an issue, no?

Some authors may have one entry accepted, while others may have two or three. We'll see how that all works out! But that's a good guideline, we think.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Introducing... Awesome Sauce

Once or twice an issue, there may be a haiku that stands above the crowd. What does this poet earn, besides illustrious publication?

Awesome sauce.

There is no sauce sweeter than awesome sauce. Spicy with a hint of something... Japanese-y.

Could be wasabi
mixed in with the seed of the
Incredible Hulk.

Monday, June 14, 2010

First submissions!

The first submissions have come in and are quite cheeky. Keep 'em coming, folks.


Sunday, June 13, 2010


High Coup Journal is now accepting submissions. So submit, ye people of the earth. Here are the guidelines:

- We accept only haiku.

- Meditative haiku about nature are bullshit*. We want to laugh our asses off. Be clever.

- Submit a handful. We'll probably only pick one or two to post, though, so don't get pissy if you don't see 'em all (or any of 'em) enshrined in glory here.

- Issues will be monthly-ish. The first deadline for submissions is June 30. You'll probably see about a dozen or so selected.

From time to time we'll be doing themed issues called "Astral Projections," where everybody writes dramatic monologue-y haiku from the perspective of a specific, predetermined character.

Aaaaaand.... begin! Just paste the poems into the body of an e-mail and send them to highcoupjournal {at} gmail.com.


* Okay, they're not bullshit, per se. They have their place. But I'm sick and goddamned tired of being told that a witty haiku "isn't a haiku." Sure, it might be a senryu, but nobody in English uses that term outside of academia and Japanophiles. So shove it up your self-righteous asses until you choke.