Shawn Reynolds

The Romantic Haiku of Nick Avis

Global Haiku Tradition
Millikin University, Spring 2001

Shawn Reynolds



The Romantic Haiku of Nick Avis

Every haiku writer has their own style. Nick Avis is one of many haiku writers with his own style. He is a writer that pays much attention to love, and romance. When reading his haiku, there is that feeling of love within you. His haiku make you feel the love that was never there, or was hidden within you. Nick Avis has great imagery in his haiku. When reading them, there is always an image that will "jump" out at you.

after love
             her heartbeat
  summer rain

This particular haiku is a perfect example of love, and romance. When reading this haiku I get the sense of a passionate night. She has shown her love to the highest extreme. The emotion of the night, and the event that took place has her heat beating very fast. Her heart is beating as fast as a steady summer rain. This haiku is my favorite from his collection. The reason, is because of all the emotion that takes place in just six words. When asking other people what they seem to think about this haiku, they all have the same idea. Some relate to personal experiences, and others relate to the image.

naked she rises
out of the lake—the moon
in her hair

This haiku is funny when I read it. Some people probably get the image of a boyfriend-girlfriend type scenario. When I read this haiku, I get the sense of a young boy spying on a girl that is swimming in the lake. For the first time he is seeing a naked woman. He notices that she is beautiful, and the moon glistening off her hair makes her look like an angel. This haiku could easily be interpreted many different ways. The way I imagined it was in a humorous way. Nick Avis presented a perfect image when he says, "the moon in her hair." This line of the haiku is what makes this haiku stand out. It adds that last piece of the puzzle.

where we used to meet
     a beer can      empty
   glistens in the moonlight

This haiku brings a perfect sense of imagery. The scene is clear, and presented perfectly. What I see when I read this haiku, is a relationship that has lost its magic. I can easily relate to this. I find myself in this haiku right now. I feel the empty beer can represent the empty love. When Nick says, "where we used to meet," I think that represents that they used to be together. Another interpretation of this haiku is that there has been a terrible accident. Maybe this place with the empty beer can is where they would often party. One night they got carried away with the drinking, and there was a wreck. The glistening on the can from the moon represents a bad idea. Nick Avis has so many different ways of showing a image, it is often hard to just pick one image.

our wine glasses
             the candle’s heat

This is another romantic haiku. The image from this haiku, is that of a positive one. There seems to be a great romance going on. They are sharing there love with a candlelight dinner. They just got done making a toast, and I think there might be a sweet kiss on the way. From this kiss could come a passionate night of love. It is always really fun to read this haiku. It seems that every time that I read this, I can see a different outcome from this haiku. This is just another amazing thing that Nick Avis does with his haiku.

longing to be near her
I remember my shirt
hanging in her closet

I absolutely love this haiku. When I read this haiku I get the sense of remembering a past loved one. Maybe there was a time you wanted to call, or show up at her house. There was never a good reason for the call. With this haiku, the shirt plays the factor as the "middle man". The shirt is what could possibly bring them back together. The feelings are there for her, and you’re hoping she is feeling the same way. When reading this haiku it just makes my heart beat very fast. It seems that I can see myself in this haiku. Reading Nick Avis’ haiku can bring back old memories that you may have.

cool night
   feeling the heat
                                      from her sunburnt legs

There was a long day at the beach. She did not quite get enough suntan lotion on those legs. This couple is spending the night on the beach. It is a cool night, and there is a cool breeze coming off the ocean. Since her legs are burnt, they are very warm. They are keeping him warm, and keeping her warm. The word "heat" in this haiku represents the love they feel for each other. I think this particular work represents more than one image. This is always the sign of a great written haiku.

alone at breakfast
           the hum of the fridge
          and a cold spring rain

When reading this haiku, I get the sense of another sad day. It seems that a person has just lost someone important. There not used to all the silence at breakfast. It is so different for them, that the person is starting to heart things that he has never heard before. The sound of the refrigerator is an example of how silent it is. The cold spring rain represents the mood. A cold, spring, rainy day is not the ideal day. Usually an ideal day is that of warmth, and sun. This is definitely a depressing day.

I could sit here and write about Nick Avis’ haiku all day long, but that would be no good. It is better to have another person read his haiku, and let them interpret them in their own way. When I read his haiku, there is definitely a sense of love, relationships, and loss.

Nick Avis uses some of the best imagery. With this imagery comes an easy understanding of his haiku. A haiku with bad imagery is just hard to imagine, and to identify with. I guess this is one of the main reasons why I like Nick Avis’ haiku.

Each of his haiku seem to have some hidden story behind it. It is exciting trying to figure out what may have happened previously in the haiku. This adds a sense of mystery. I personally love mystery. I’m sure most people love to watch a mystery movie, and try to figure out what is going to happen. That is exactly what you can do with his haiku. There is always a sense of trying to figure out what happened to lead up to this haiku, and what is going to happen after.

Everyone has their favorite haiku authors. Most people probably don’t know what haiku is. Nick Avis can let people know what it is, and make them understand it.

—Shawn Reynolds


©2001 Randy Brooks, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois || all rights reserved for original authors