The Butterfly's Guide to Haiku by Melissa Dolber Grappone & Don Foxe
Reviewed by Realistic Poetry International
Whether you're an educator or just someone looking to step your feet into poetry's refreshing water, Authors Melissa Dolber Grappone and Don Foxe’s, “The Butterfly's Guide to Haiku,” will surely set you on the right path when it comes to understanding and absorbing the excellent power, gift, and Spirit of Poetry! But not just any type of poetry.
Authors Melissa Dolber Grappone and Don Foxe successfully collaborate with one another to help teach, guide, and assist those interested in expressive writing, particularly, haiku! Adding a unique touch to their book’s concept, the Authors cleverly implement the use of symbolism throughout the collection, electing the renowned image of a butterfly to highlight or indicate sections of diverse facts with brief snapshots of compelling information and images, like the mystical image on page one showing a fox under a black star-filled night.
The Authors make a point in the beginning to explain how this information is un-related to the history or nature of poetry, and the teaching of haiku, nonetheless, seems to use this concept with the intention to stir up inspiration (e.g. images, photos, quotes) and emphasize certain aspects of the Japanese culture and tradition (e.g. language, words, symbols, and meanings)! And considering the fact that haiku’s origins are from Japan, this is a brilliant idea! Naturally commanding the reader’s attention AND appealing to a youthful audience.
In addition to this, how can we not be honest and say it isn't cool to learn a new language like Japanese?! This certainly isn't every day for us when it comes to reading a poetry book, but now, with this comprehensive haiku guide, in only a few pages we can say, "konnichiwa," which means "good day" in the Japanese language! And there are plenty more fascinating words to come by!
From a technical angle, the book's design and layout are well-constructed, inventive, stimulating, and diverse with multiple parts, beginning with the basics (also the name of the first section of the book). Under this segment, readers will learn about the structure of haiku, the relevance of syllables, and how to transform every day, plain, unadorned thoughts into engaging poetry that awakens and speaks prominently to the senses.
Part two of this book, “The Spirit of Haiku: Seasons of the Year,” focuses on describing seasons while “trying not to actually name the time of the year.” To help drive the creative process, the Author’s also include a writing activity that encourages readers to brainstorm words that remind them of each season. Almost like an artist sketching out an image first, before actually seeing the finished masterpiece.
Based off this, we feel the Authors experience in dealing with the youth, such as in the Butterfly Effect Project (bepgirls.com), a project started back in 2014 with only eight girls, now with two-hundred-eight, makes a long-lasting impression! Even better, we read how The Butterfly's Guide To Haiku is a part of nurturing, nourishing, and helping bepgirls expand their knowledge and exercise their creativity to, "empower, enlighten and enhance every girl's future; encouraging one girl at a time by eliminating one obstacle at a time (the bepgirls vision)."
The thought and intentions behind the making of this book make it purposeful beyond reasons of entertainment or amusement, as one thing we believe in more than anything in our world is the youth, understanding the direness of their development today, and their significance to the future. We applaud the Authors for their altruistic nature that allows them to build and grow for others and believe we need more philanthropic public-spirited individuals such as themselves who are socially-concerned enough to step up and help lead our youth into a better, more prosperous, successful tomorrow.
Amazingly, teaching the rudiments, importance, and principles of poetry, like haiku, is one of the ways the Authors will achieve their goal. But there is more to this book than just teaching those captured by its magnetic grasp, as it also offers the art of Haiku as a serene “island of peace,” and says it is, “escapism in the purest form,” in a “hectic, loud civilization.”
While reading, we are even excited to learn of the health benefits writing Haiku offers by stimulating certain parts of the brain when combining the creative process with the act of forcing the mind to adhere to a specific writing structure.
The Authors don’t forget to add a personal touch to their work by including their own experience in writing haiku, sharing memorable poems frequently and reminiscing on the past that ushered them into the poetry realm to end up exactly where they are today!
With up to six sections, clear and helpful instructions, engaging practice/warm-up activities, inspiring quotes, and motivating examples, this comprehensive guide on how to write haiku is impressive, educational, and delightful to go through! We are happy to present this book with a 5-star rating and agree with the Authors when they say, “Your pen is your wand. Make magic.”
So, be empowered, find your spirit, and fly like a butterfly, “the breeze from your wings will become a storm capable of changing lives.”
This book is available for purchase on Amazon at