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Urban Haiku
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As some of you know, my first love is poetry. It's what I studied in college, and I wrote a collection of poems as the senior honors thesis for my creative writing degree (a degree roughly as useful as a cowcatcher on a fencepost). I taught poetry workshops, I published in little magazines, and I did more readings than I could count.

Alas, the need to keep body and soul together have increasingly led me to forsake poetry in favor of prose, simply because prose pays so very much better. But, in honor of National Poetry Month, and in light of the fact that so many books of poetry have lately topped bestseller lists (not to mention the flurry of recent film rights sales -- who else can't wait for David Fincher's adaptation of Margaret Atwood's Morning in the Burned House? Or to see what kind of twist M. Night Shyamalan can put on the end of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken"? Maybe he'll take the road more traveled by!), I've convinced my publisher to let me do something novel -- only, ha, as you'll see, also decidedly not novel -- for the fourth book in my Marla Mason urban fantasy series, which comes out next April, just in time for the 2009 National Poetry Month.

That book, currently titled Untitled Book Four, will be composed entirely of haiku.

Herewith, a few excerpts, from the Heroic Prologue:

Marla Mason will
kick your ass if you screw with
her town. Your ass: Kicked.

For real, she'll straight up
punch you in the face. With fists
hard as adamant.

What, you think because
you're a monster or some shit
she won't kick your ass?

She'll kick your monster
ass. Her boots are covered in
monster ass. Trust me.

She once turned a guy
inside out just for asking
her what time it was.

He wasn't even
a monster or nothing. She
had low blood sugar.

So if you come to
her town, you'd best bring her a
muffin or something.

(Also there are three
books before this one. Help a
brother out and buy.)

As you can see, I owe a great debt of influence to the poems of Basho, for his willingness to subvert traditional haiku subject matter, and to Allen Ginsberg's innovative American Sentences for some of the syllabic playfulness. I think you'll find the book a quick read. Like all the previous books, it comes in a bit over 300 pages in paperback -- but there's a lot more white space in Untitled Book Four than the others.

Enjoy April. Do something poetic.

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