Riell Books

Answers Instead: A Life in Haiku

“Ed Rielly has been writing haiku for about forty years, and this collection gathers many of his best. Answers Instead shares a lifetime of writing haiku with clarity, self-understanding, humility and most of all, integrity.”

—Randy Brooks, Editor, Mayfly magazine

“Imagine telling your life story through haiku. Ed Rielly has done just that with Answers Instead. He lets us into his childhood life in a small Midwestern farming community, through fatherhood, through grandfatherhood—through a meaningful life.”

—Gayle Bull, Proprietor, The Foundry Books, Mineral Point, WI

“Each poem in this book evokes the past, but puts us in the present. Once we’ve read these poems, they will unavoidably stay with us for a very long time. This collection of poems is that good. Ed Rielly is a master poet and this book is destined to become part of the American haiku canon.”

—Stanford M. Forrester, Editor of bottle rockets; past president of the Haiku Society of America

“The range of emotions in this richly imaged retrospective reveals the mature talent of a writer who has been perfecting his craft for decades, whose perceptions and perspectives resonate with seeming contrasts that are actually unities. Do yourself the favor of reading this book, letting its humanity and ring of truth wash over you, and savoring the joy therein that may invigorate you.”

—Bill Pauly, long-time haiku writer and teacher of haiku writing at Loras College

Introduction by the Author

This volume is a retrospective collection, not merely because it includes haiku from the forty or so years during which I have been writing and publishing haiku, but also because it presents the story of my life in haiku. I necessarily look back often in this volume because I cannot tell my story without doing that. No set of haiku can tell a person's complete story. What these haiku do, however, is give readers glimpses of my life: personally significant experiences and people who have been important to me. Rather than focus on questions, I attempt "answers instead," as the title indicates. I hope that these answers about myself will give readers some pleasure.


black night:

owl questions

under my skin

this autumn

I ask the owl

for its answers instead

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