The Breath of Surrender: A collection of recovery-oriented haiku

The Breath of Surrender: A collection of recovery-oriented haiku
Published: 2019
ISBN: 978-193539814-1
Format: Paperback

Modern English Tanka Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.,

Selected excerpts:

“Herein lies the root connection between haiku and recovery: Both are informed by the unceasing breath of surrender, whose Latin root means “to give back to”. The haiku poet surrenders to Nature in the here-and-now such that the self-as-separate disappears; the recovering alcoholic or addict surrenders to his/her Higher Power (however that is defined) such that he or she returns to living Life on Life’s terms, one day at a time. One day at a time is long-hand for the present or, as Zen Buddhists are fond of saying, the Eternal Now.”

“A stand of trembling aspen.
First AA meeting.”
– George Matey, bear creek haiku, 83 (p. 40)

“ex-junkie –
two bags
in his teacup.”
– Owen Bullock, Frogpond, 25:3 (p. 51)

on my zazen cushion –
the serenity prayer.”
– ct (p. 57)

not one day at a time
one breath.”
– Anonymous (p. 87)

“he stands beneath
the cedars of Alanon
just twelve steps
from where I turn
twenty-one again.”
– ct (p. 90)

© 2009 Robert Epstein

Reviews posted:

Paul –

Robert Epstein, a haiku poet and psychotherapist, has assembled this beautiful collection of recovery-oriented haiku, drawn from a number of different authors and sources. It is apparently the first collection of its kind. There is a strong Twelve Step theme, and irrespective of your addiction you should find verses here that resonate, sometimes humorously, sometimes poignantly. I read it through quickly the first time in one sitting, letting the words play over me, feeling little stabs of recognition, flashes of humour and pathos. Then I re-read it a couple more times, reflecting more deeply on some of them. The typesetting of two haiku to a page gives the volume a very spacious feel, conducive to reflection.

Kevin Griffin –

(As published on the book’s jacket)
“These haiku are tragic, funny, clever and moving. In bite-sized pieces of wisdom and insight “The Breath of Surrender” sheds light, opens doors, and touches hearts on the path of recovery. What joy!”