Comments on Lynn Edge's "Trucker"
Reviewing last quarter's haibun, I had a hard time choosing one to highlight with a review. Many exemplified several different kinds of "good" haibun. In doing this, I was reminded yet again of the silliness of haiku and haibun "competitions,” as if literature were a branch of athletics. Please keep in mind, that here we are not selecting a ‘winner’ or a ‘best of issue’ but instead selecting a haibun that we editors enjoyed for whatever reasons and explaining those reasons.
I rated highly "Sharecropper" and "Nebraska” by Jeffrey Woodward for his surefooted poetry. "Uptown Express” by Eduardo N. de Valle was among those I found interesting on account of its range of sensual imagery.
I eventually opted for "Trucker" by Lynn Edge. I did so because it so well exemplifies the characteristics of what I would call classic mainstream haibun. "Trucker" has a strong, clear focus into which we are drawn straightaway. This is the lifetime truckers' world which the narrator shares with the subject of the story. Its only downside is that it follows the "one paragraph plus one haiku" model which is becoming far too prevalent.
Edge's writing exemplifies "Show – Don't Tell!" The trucker is evidently a tough, likeable lady – "a winter haul to Minnesota.” But in her "eighteen wheeler" she also delivers "a load of flowers" and, be it noted, to New Orleans, and the French Quarter, and onto a hotel lawn, too.
The writer extends the story over thirty years, giving some body to the piece. And the trucker is clearly still the character she always was.
Note her "lavender cab" – I do hope that came from the poet's imagination – though maybe the whole thing did! She is very much her own defiant woman to the last, as the haiku enlarges the picture we have of her, "late frost" giving a nice poetic lift..
A brief encounter, but it's good to have met her, and the world is a little richer for it. And that is surely the test, and the business we are into as poets.
~ Ken Jones