Tuesday, January 11, 2011

ARR you ready for some haiku?

Pirate Haiku: Bilge-Sucking Poems of Booty, Grog & Wenches for Scurvy Sea Dogs by Michael P. Spradlin is a small collection of pirate-related haiku that is likely to appeal to fans of humorous poetry and piratical antics. When I say it is small, I mean it in two different ways:

1. The trim size of the book itself is smaller than your usual tome. It measures 6" x 5" x 1/2".

2. There may be 185 poems in this book, but each one is a mere 3 lines (totalling 17 syllables) so . . . it's not a lot of words, I guess, is what I'm getting at.

When I think of books of this sort, I immediately think of the (sometimes disgusting but always entertaining) work of Ryan Mecum, whose collections Zombie Haiku, Vampire Haiku and Werewolf Haiku have been featured here. This book is truly different. For one thing, it's not about monsters, unless, of course, you consider pirates to be monsters - and certainly they do monstrous things sometimes, but it's not quite the same. Second, Pirate Haiku lacks the same degree of unified narrative as the Mecum books, although it does manage to put one together, telling the tale of One-Leg Sterling, a pirate who works his way up from crewman to captain the old-fashioned way: by mutiny! Quite a number of the haiku in the collection are the equivalent of one-liners. Like, say, this one:

Pirates like the dice
Except when they are loaded.
Er, the dice, that is.
Or this one:

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

He spends some time marooned on one of Japan's islands where he learns martial arts, which leads to some really interesting shipboard battles as the book progresses. :

Which will come in handy when
I go back to sea.

Marines and merchants
Don't expect to get faces
Kicked when they are robbed.
And hey, along the way, the book manages to answer the question: Pirates or Ninjas?

You can check out the book and its author quite a bit more at the Pirate Haiku website, which contains amusing things like a video and excerpts from the book.


Anonymous said...

Oh! What a fun little book! Thanks for the second chuckle of the morning! "Except when they're loaded!" Ha!


Anonymous said...

Hope you like it!