Saturday, January 29, 2011

Five Questions Page

Realized it might be a good idea to make a separate page for "Five Questions" feature, so expect to see that shortly.  And a brand new High Coup is nigh... coup?

EDIT: Aaaaand here it is.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Review: Pirate Haiku

Spradlin, Michael.  Pirate Haiku.  Avon, MA: Adams, 2010.  186pp.

Our review of Michael Spradlin's Pirate Haiku is long overdue!  No, seriously, it's like a month late, and then another week late.  But let no one suggest that has anything to do with the quality of the book.  It's actually a pretty clever little romp around the Caribbean and across the Pacific Ocean to a strange place called... Japan.

Pirates are simple.
We like rum, guns, wenches.  And
women like bad boys.

If there were one poem that best summarized this book, that's probably it.  Fans of any of the previously-mentioned vices will probably get a snicker as they leaf through this book.  It occasionally gets a little blue, though, so if you're considering getting the book for a young scalliwag, you might want to wait until after the Bar Mitzvah.  Or you may just be dealing with a particularly mannish boy.  Decide for yourself:

In Jamaica I
spent nearly all my time with
a wench name of Belle.

Oft' I watched her dance.
A dark-haired beauty, my Belle
shivered me timber.

Admittedly, the rum/guns/wenches combo does start to fall a little flat on rereading, but there's more to the book than simply a jumble of references to pirate-y things.  Though the following is perhaps one of the best g-ddamned pirate puns I have ever heard:

My ears have no holes.
I find earrings expensive--
at a buck an ear.

Get it?  Buck an... right.  It's awesome.  'Nuff said.

As opposed to another haiku book we reviewed by the same publisher, Pirate Haiku isn't simply a compilation.  It tracks the voyages, exploits, ninja attacks, maroonings, battles, hand-and-leg amputations, and general mayhem associated with the fearsome One-Leg Sterling in a sort of journal form.  What I like best about the work is the prose introduction explaining the "history" behind the pirate himself: "What we know of One-Leg Sterling is this: he was probably Richard Sterling, who as a young boy was stolen by pirates from his family's home near Cape Fear, North Carolina."  And further explanation takes place in the journal itself:

I want to tell my 
story in the haiku form
I learned here last time.

But it is very
hard to count syllables when
you have just one hand.

The history (or "pirateology," as the field is named) really makes the book work, in my opinion.  It's a lot like Rohan Kriwaczek's An Incomplete History of the Art of Funerary Violin or Peter Schickele's The Definitive Biography of P.D.Q. Bach.  

(Is it worth noting that it also makes the work like the editor of this journal's still-to-be-published master's project?  Not at all.)

Anyway, the frame-story makes the book a winner.  I think Spradlin could have gone a little further to make the individual haiku a little more punny, but the overall narrative, combined with an explanation for the reason why it's all in haiku involving a lengthy island stay near Japan, causes the book to flow really well.  It's delightfully absurd.  And besides, pirates beat ninjas any day of the week. 



Thursday, January 20, 2011

Reminder: The SPAM-ku Special

Just a reminder, people:  we are dedicating our April 2011 issue to the noble meat-ish product, SPAM.  This contest will actually feature a prize: besides publication in High Coup Journal, the winner of the SPAM-ku Special will be mailed a tin of Hormel's most notoriously delicious meat.  Useful as a doorstop.

The deadline is March 15.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

High Coup Journal - January 2011 Issue

(Photo by Ann Wright, Plymouth, IN)



Rosemary Foster (Bloomington, IN)

Edward Jones (Stevens Point, WI)

Julie Kelsey (Germantown, MD)

Hal O'Leary (Wheeling, WV)

Mitzi Sicking (Midland, TX)

Dariel Suarez (Miami, FL)

John Tustin (Flushing, NY)


Editor's Note:

To weight loss and to
for once in our silly lives
making new mistakes.


Mitzi Sicking

You failed your paper?
I cannot imagine why.
Oh deer, there, their, they're.


Hal O’Leary


 Let no man guess that
'neath this smiling face there lies
a forsaken man


 Truest love, a scarf
thrown loosely about the neck
but never stifling


Rosemary Foster

Write Haikus in math
Wonder why I got a C
No correlation…

Uh, linear algebra
Can I have some numbers please?
No! I changed my mind

My dearest Vista
Please go die now stupid whore
Facedesking for real

Asshole family
Hey! Merry fucking Christmas
Go fall off a cliff


John Tustin

I smoked the rose down
Until it became brittle
Until it was brown

Angels in my heart
Devils inhabit my soul
One guess who wins me

Naked in the snow
Numb and breathing hard and fast
It hurts like life does

You, like a painting.
I come up close. What colors!
What composition!


Dariel Suarez

I would rather have
the salmon’s courage than a
Taoist belief.


Julie Kelsey

this makeshift sofa
so soft and comfortable
my fat snoring dog

finally, coffee
my mug – now cold – upended
the toddler’s cry


Edward Jones

family photo
hangs perfectly straight, upright
right until I leave

in my rage, I toss
things indiscriminately -
yes, willy-nilly


January 2011 AWESOME SAUCE: Dariel Suarez

Under the shade of
this tree, man will never find
enlightenment, just figs.


A resolution:
write a haiku every day
and send them to us!

highcoupjournal {at}