Local Poet's Haiku Is Quick & Simple
Mukilteo poet and publisher David Ash thinks that writing books of haiku (three-line, seventeen-syllable poems) is fairly fast and easy. He has already produced his first six books of humorous haiku through Basho Press in less than a year. But next week, one of the world's largest media conglomerates will proclaim them quick and simple.
That’s when Quick & Simple magazine, a weekly magazine published by Hearst Magazines, will feature excerpts from Ash's--Haiku for Chocolate Lovers--as the back page of the May 27 issue.
"I keep chuckling at the karma," muses Ash. "Of all the national publications that could be the first to write about my haiku books, could you ask for a more appropriate magazine title? Now that is funny!"
The poems are billed as "witty, insightful, inspiring, and sometimes just plain weird." While many modern literary haiku books are profound word-sculptures about nature, Ash is just aiming for the funny bone. Each book is filled with 100 amusing poems. The Smile page of the magazine will feature ten chocolate-related haiku, including:
because cacao grows
around the planet's waistline,
it ends up on mine
"When editor Laura Manske first called me in January, I said I was surprised because it was past the deadlines for Valentine’s Day," Ash recalls. "She replied, 'Are you kidding? We're always looking for chocolate around here!"
The book has an even stronger tie to chocolate, as Ash commissioned the Rose Hill Chocolate Company in Mukilteo, Washington to design a Haiku Truffle for the book's release. The dark chocolate truffle has a creamy ginger ganache with a mild wasabi aftertaste and continues to be a strong seller at the store months later.
Ash's other books are for coffee lovers, baseball lovers, poker players, and Catholics. The latest in the series, Haiku for Dog Lovers, came out last month. Ash will release more in 2008, beginning with Haiku for Office Workers and Haiku for Christmas. Quick & Simple, Hearst Magazines' first and only magazine, is jam-packed with tips and tricks for every aspect of a time-pressee, value-conscious woman's life. With a focus on real women,Quick & Simple offers a variety of tips and advice on health, home, diet, food, deals, money, beauty, fashion, relationships and entertainment. Each issue features quick and easy recipes, affordable fashion and beauty, healthy living advice and home decor, along with weekly coupons and contests. Hearst Magazines publishes many popular magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and O, the Oprah Magazine.
Quick & Simple is available at newsstands everywhere, including many Barnes & Noble stores. The Haiku for Life® book series is available online through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, and can be ordered at local bookstores through wholesaler Partners/West in Renton, Washington. For more info, log on to www.BashoPress.com or call (206) 200-9525.
- 978-0-9793993-1-2 0-9793993-1-9 Haiku for Catholics 06/2007 2007901733
- 978-0-9793993-2-9 0-9793993-2-7 Haiku for Baseball Lovers 08/2007 2007903401
- 978-0-9793993-3-6 0-9793993-3-5 Haiku for Poker Players 08/2007 2007903402
- 978-0-9793993-4-3 0-9793993-4-3 Haiku for Coffee Lovers 09/2007 2007905402
- 978-0-9793993-5-0 0-9793993-5-1 Haiku for Chocolate Lovers 10/2007 2007905403
- 978-0-9793993-6-7 0-9793993-6-X Haiku for Dog Lovers 04/2008 2008900198
- 978-0-9793993-7-4 0-9793993-7-8 Haiku for Office Workers 09/2008
- Coming October 15, 2008: Haiku for Christmas
Haiku for Chocolate Lovers Book Gives Birth to a Haiku Truffle
The gift book Haiku for Chocolate Lovers, filled with one hundred of the short Japanese-style three-line poems for the connoisseurs of cacao, won't be out until October. But author/publisher David Ash is thinking ahead to the unveiling. "Basho Press hasn't had a real release party for the four books published before this one, and I wanted something special to celebrate the first five. And that meant something chocolate!"
Enter Jack Bateman and the Rose Hill Chocolate Company of Mukilteo, Washington. Bateman has already won awards for his truffles. "I commissioned Jack last spring to design a truffle for the occasion, something that would have a Japanese influence and be unique. He already sells a green tea truffle, so I wanted something else. When I joked that a wasabi truffle might not sell well,his eyes lit up. We have similar senses of humor, so I suspected the worst!"
Bateman explained that he had a friend on the East Coast who had won an award with a wasabi and plum wine truffle. "It got us thinking seriously of using wasabi in some way." As with most of the truffles at their shop, Jack's wife Barbara designs the flavors of the ganache (the whipped filling inside the truffle) and Jack makes the design a reality. Months of research and development followed: "There was one experimental batch of wasabi and hoisin sauce that just didn't fly with me!" laughs Ash. But turning to a tried and true combination that every sushi lover knows, ginger and wasabi, proved a hit.
"My family absolutely loves it!" exclaims Ash. "It’s a dark chocolate truffle with a light creamy ginger flavor and a small piece of dried ginger to decorate the top. You hardly notice the wasabi except as a delightful aftertaste." People skeptical of spicy chocolate shouldn't find this offensive. And what is the new creation called? "A Haiku Truffle, of course!"
The gift books bill themselves as "witty, insightful, inspiring and sometimes just plain weird," each targeted to a different market or interest. Haiku for Catholics, Haiku for Baseball Lovers and Haiku for Poker Players are already out. Haiku for Coffee Lovers comes out in September; Haiku for Chocolate Lovers in October. Ash releases one or two books each month.
The Haiku truffles are already available at Rose Hill Chocolate Company at 700 3rd Street in Mukilteo. The Haiku for Life series of books are available at Mukilteo Booksellers in Mukilteo and online through Amazon.com. Bookstores can order through distributor Partners/West in Renton, Washington. Additional information can be found online at www.BashoPress.com.
When is your next chance to meet David Ash and have him sign your copy? See below!
- Tuesday, May 6, 9:30 a.m.: author assemblies at Alternative School #1, 11530 12th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA
- Wednesday, May 7, 7:00 p.m.: reading and signing at Parkplace Books, 5th St. and Central Way, Kirkland, WA, (425) 828-6546.
- Sunday, May 11, 9:15-10:00 a.m., 11:15 a.m.-12:00 noon: Coffee Hours, St. Patrick Church, 2702 Broadway Avenue E., Seattle.
- Friday, May 30, 4:30-5:00 p.m., author signing at the PMA Booth, Book Expo America, Los Angeles Convention Center.
- Sunday, June 1, 11:30 am-12:00 noon, author signing at the PMA Booth, Book Expo America, Los Angeles Convention Center.
- Sunday, June 1, 6:00-8:00 p.m., reading and signing at Barnes & Noble Spectrum Center, 81 Fortune Drive, Irvine, CA, (949) 585-0233.
- Wednesday, June 3, 6:00-8:00 p.m., reading and signing at Barnes & Noble Antioch, Slatten Ranch Shopping Center, 5709 Lonetree Way, Antioch, CA, (925) 978-1053.
This review appeared in three Washington state newspapers in the same week: The Olympian, The Kitsap Sun, and the Sequim Gazette (4/08).
An interview by Christine Valters Paintner on her Abbey of the Arts blog (3/6/08).
From The Marysville Globe and the Arliington Times, "Special to the Weekender" (February 13, 2008).
From Kathleen Shaputis's blog with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (1/24/08).