Gabriele Hartmann, bon say publisher


Year of publication: 2023

2023; bon-say-verlag Höchstenbach, ring binding, A6 landscape, colored inner cover, 164 pages
ISBN 978-3-945890-53-0


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Text samples, tables of contents, bibliographical information, sources of supply (not all elements available at the same time)

158 Haiku 2022 by Gabriele Hartmann


Two reviews are available here!
Review by Brigitte ten Brink:

Gabriele Hartmann recorded 158 haiku, one per page, 158 moments of perception, of experiencing, of feeling her life in the year 2022 in this book. The year 2022 is probably remembered as a difficult year in general awareness. Health fears (is the corona pandemic now over or not), financial and economic worries (skyrocketing energy prices and the associated rising costs in all areas of life) and, last but not least, political and social upheavals (the war in Ukraine and the increasing shift to the right in the various European governments). All of these processes, which are actually very complicated, are the subject of the author's haiku, in a maximum of 17 syllables and 3 lines, profoundly and enigmatically.

But the first thing I asked myself was how to understand the title of the book - "TAKEN" -. It is taken from the third haiku of this book:

Mother's Songbook
the song of love
(P. 7)

In this haiku, the word "tapped" has the meaning of much used, used, worn out. But an understanding in this sense does not carry over to the other haiku, either substantively or in a broader sense that would relate to the wear and tear of the haiku genre in general, which would be utter nonsense. So why choose "tapped" as a title? Basically, the answer has already been given: the haiku have been taken from life, they have been drawn from life, "tapped", they have come about through life, the experience of the year 2022, according to my - perhaps very personal - feeling.

The book begins with a New Year's haiku, in a very classic way for haiku annual reviews

Turn of the year
everything you say
(P. 5)

The good remains, the memory of the good. But the problems remain. The new year takes on the legacy of the previous year, drags it on, and thus determines the future.

With Gabriele Hartmann, the smallest details are taken into account in the experience

after the thunderstorm the blackbird unplugged
(P. 118)

But also interpersonal

first spring moon
we carry our heart
on the tongue
(P. 59)

Inspiration through observations of nature

migratory birds
I push my suitcase
in the wind
(P. 123)

and big events that move the whole world

Russian bread
we spell
(P. 57)


just was everything
sun in me
(P. 77)

The haiku move through the seasonal cycle – sometimes with, sometimes without kigo – but also through a more chronological course of the year, in which current events are discussed that basically have nothing to do with a season or nature.
As always, Gabriele Hartmann succeeds in touching the reader with her texts and making them think. But in the haiku of the year 2022, a slightly melancholic mood cannot be overlooked, overheard, or read over.

The ring-bound book invites you to open it somewhere, read the haiku on this page and let it carry you away – into your own world.

Review Rüdiger Jung:

Gate 6
a paper plane
takes off

Just over a year ago, this enchanting haiku would have been attested something like “childlike innocence”. The passage of time has changed. Nothing has been the same since the Putin regime launched its criminal war of aggression against Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Not only the violence, but also the associated propaganda has been capitalized ever since. There is something like reciprocal justice when the seemingly endless spurt of manipulative words in the haiku is given just one line. The excess length of which is entirely consistent with the critical statement:

the long table... Pinocchio's mask stretches

The six-meter-long table in Moscow, where Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz sat opposite Putin as "guests" in great forlornness, will be remembered. "Pinocchio's Mask" doesn't defuse the whole thing. Rather, it has a highly revealing effect. If you look at the harvest of the haiku Gabriele published in the course of a calendar year, you will not only encounter what happened to her and Georges in the course of a year. Instead, a microcosm opens up that becomes transparent for the "big" world events: 

holy Evening
one breaks
the truce

On a first level of reading, deeply disturbing that even on the feast of peace, peace proves impossible. A second shows that even if a "ceasefire" were to be observed, an extreme level of tension would remain. What dominates: the longed-for "rest" or the deadly "weapons"?

Other issues also remain virulent and unsettling. The phenomenon of “light pollution”, for example, which I have never been able to put into a haiku as well as Gabriele

City lights outnumbered the stars

In general: the light. A topic that could be explored separately in Gabriele's haiku - not without experiencing the most diverse twists and turns:

fading light
the old forester memorized
tree names

It is up to language and the memory guaranteed in it to keep in view what is no longer available to the declining visual perception.

Gabriele's haiku have a magical quality because they stay with the simple and amazing roots of Japanese poetry

It may be that we "Westerners" cannot absorb this without pressing the opening line and the two that follow it into a causal or at least temporal structure. The text itself doesn't say that. In a very classic way, it offers a juxtaposition of concrete sensual perceptions that illuminate each other.

Anyone who does NOT lock the texts into a schema, who rather leaves himself to their concreteness with all his senses, will find himself in a world in which every basically everyday look becomes exciting and a wonder:

Night performance
a boules player
fixes the moon

Isn't that heaven? What makes me particularly happy: that the haiku reading of a turbulent year is experiencing a final chord that is as personal as it is hopeful

recovery room we start dreaming again

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