Title: Irish Haiku: Essays on Ireland, Volume IIIAuthor: Chris ArthurA PenMark Press Booksoft cover258 pp.US $20.00ISBN 978-1888570786June, 2005Irish Haiku features the literate and thoughtful prose of one of Ireland’s critically acclaimed writers, the award-winning poet and essayist, Chris Arthur. Arthur’s writing blends the intensely personal with the abstractly philosophical in his explorations of the meaning of what happens, what has happened, and what may happen. His writing has been compared favorably with figures as diverse as Hubert Butler, Joseph Campbell, Seamus Heaney, C.S. Lewis and V. S. Naipul. As he has done in previous collections, Irish Nocturnes (1999) and Irish Willow (2002), in Irish Haiku Chris Arthur explores the world as it unfolds to his senses. As Arthur listens, touches, watches, tastes, and thinks about his world we are invited to join him in his historical, cultural, natural, philosophical, scientific, sometimes humorous, and always thoughtful ruminations.Contents Beginning by Blackbird Obelisk Safety and Numbers Miracles What Did You Say? How to See a HorseGetting Fit Witness Water-Glass Malcolm Unravelled Swan SongAfterwordCritical acclaim for Chris Arthur’s third essay collection, Irish Haiku: “[O]nce more a demanding and rewarding intellectual performance...Arthur’s musings embrace a range of attitudes and questions. His is a post-religious consciousness and there are moments here when Matthew Arnold or George Eliot, or even the early Yeats come to mind...Hubert Butler is his nearest kin in the field of Irish writing...Arthur’s capacious and lucid intelligence is matched by his ceaseless wrestling with the ‘landmass’ of language to shed light where received ideas and expressions have conspired to conceal it.” —Denis Sampson, Canadian Journal of Irish Studies“As a historical commentator, lyrical ecologist, and prodigal son of Ulster, Chris Arthur is a most illuminating guide to an Ireland of metaphor and metaphysics, a landscape that might easily be missed by those just looking for the fissures and the craic.” —Naomi Foyle, Fortnight“Chris Arthur’s essays belong to the central tradition of the essay in that they are at once intensely personal, meditative and engaged with the dynamics of their own world – in Arthur’s case, the milieu of Ulster and the fabric of its connections with the past and the present...[His essays] are elegant and stylish explorations that change direction, that should be read and re-read like haiku, that are virtually impossible to summarise and that take us, through a profound sense of the ordinary, into a world of loss and longings.” —Bryan Coleborne, The Australian Journal of Irish Studies“Arthur compares the essay form with that of the haiku. But just as haiku, despite their brevity, cannot be consumed like popcorn, these essays are best read slowly, contemplatively. The reader will here discover worlds in a drop of water as well as enchanting natural connections...Chris Arthur tells us he originally believed he would be a poet, but turned to the essay instead. Clearly, though, he has taken more than a few of the poet’s instincts and skills with him into the genre, further enhancing the pleasure of accompanying him on his tour of some Northern Irish places.”—Thomas E. Kennedy, The Literary ReviewAuthorChris Arthur was born in Belfast and lived for many years in County Antrim. He worked as warden on a nature reserve on the shores of Lough Neagh before enrolling at the University of Edinburgh where he took a First Class Honours degree followed by a PhD. He has been widely published as an essayist and poet on both sides of the Atlantic. His work has appeared in The American Scholar,The Antigonish Review,The Centennial Review, Contemporary Review, Dalhousie Review, Descant, Event, The Honest Ulsterman, The North American Review, Northwest Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The Southern Review, The Threepenny Review,The Wascana Review and others. His first essay collection, Irish Nocturnes, was published in 1999; his second collection, Irish Willow, was published in 2002.Chris Arthur was Gifford Fellow at the University of St. Andrews and is a winner of the Akegarasu Haya International Essay Prize, the Beverly Hayne Memorial Award for Young Writers, and the Theodore Christian Hoepfner Award.