Robert Epstein coined the phrase “death awareness poems.” The phrase describes haiku, senryu, and tanka written by those especially aware of their approaching deaths.
These are not morbid or tragic poems. I find them poignant and remarkably clear-eyed.
Epstein is a licensed psychotherapist, published haiku poet, author and editor. He edited The Breath of Surrender (2009), an anthology of recovery-oriented haiku. Additionally, he is working on his book of death awareness haiku, Checkout Time is Noon.
Additonally, Robert Epstein has started a blog recently on death awareness poetry, and it is most thoughtful and impressive. Here’s the link:
It is titled Dreams Wander On. It shares this title with an anthology he edited which will hopefully come out in late 2010. Both are inspired by haiku master Basho’s last poem:
sick on a journey / over withered fields / dreams wander on
[Source: Robert Epstein’s blog, accessed August 21, 2010].
Full disclosure: I have three haiku in Dreams Wander On (the book). I am very grateful to have my poems included!
Please visit Robert Epstein’s blog!