Paris is often represented by its famous historical and cultural landmarks which, though rightly deserving recognition and esteem, do not – in my opinion – provide a comprehensive, holistic picture of the city, as its boundaries stretch far beyond its illustrious center.
William Hart, Los Angeles based poet and fiction author, would likely say the same. Via his collection of 40 contemporary haiku, appropriately titled “Paris,” Hart seeks to capture the city’s essence through observations of ordinary moments that’d otherwise go unnoticed, to tell a broader, more expansive story of the city’s quirks and quintessential qualities.
Told from the perspective of an observant and attentive tourist, “Paris” leads the reader on a stroll through the city – from the Seine, to Napoleon’s tomb, to Rue Pigalle and onward, while commenting on the little things that are just as “Parisian” as the Eiffel, like a “sunlit planter” or “two dozing cats ring[ing] a tree.” Permeated by Hart’s love and ardor for the city, the haiku are written and illustrated not only with purpose, but with affection, tenderness, and warmth, granting readers a pleasurable and satisfying “tour.”
The final haiku paints an image of twinkling lights, pulsing to the heartbeat of a city that is for many a tourist stop, but to others home.