Not So Pretty Haiku

Design and Bookbinding

In January 2022, Isabella Mori reached out to me about an idea for a chapbook of maudlin haiku poems paired in contrast with beautiful living flowers. Though I’m still new at poetry, I loved the concept and her ideas, and now, nearly a year later, the books are finally complete.

Author: Isabella Mori
Editor: Jacquie Pearce
Designer and bookbinder: Carolin Petersen
Typeface: Candara Light

Published: December 15, 2022

ISBN 978-0-9958639-6-5

Dimensions: 8″ x 5″
24 pages
29 individual haiku
Printed in an edition of 100

Price: $13 + shipping
Availability: IN STOCK

Check out more from Isabella Mori
Twitter: @MoriTherapy
Goodreads: Isabella Mori
Amazon: Isabella Mori

What is a haiku poem?

From haikai no ku, meaning “light verse”

Haiku is a traditional form of poetry commonly from Japan, featuring an assortment of “rules” that can almost all be ignored.

  • (Almost always) in present tense
  • About something concrete (no direct philosophizing)
  • Usually 5, 7, 5
  • Probably less than 17 syllables
  • Most often 3 lines, but can be 1, 2, 4, or even 5
  • Use as few words as possible

Working on this book has been an adventure all the way through. Isabella sent me her initial ideas, and the conversation took off from there. We discussed the theme of the book, how she wanted to have heavy contrast between the sombre tone of her poems and the beauty of the plants and flowers she found while walking the trails and parks near and far from her home.

Once we finalized the design, I built it digitally, then began printing. From there, I trimmed each of the pages down to size, punching the 12 holes, stitching, gluing on the covers, and writing Isabella’s name on the front for one final touch of uniqueness.

I carefully handstitched each book in the Japanese stab binding method, of which there are many patterns. For this book, I chose the tortoiseshell pattern because of its beauty and minimalistic appearance.

In the pictures below, you can see my progress with the prototype, which I created using construction paper and regular printer paper; then I move on to the quality ivory Strathmore woven paper and black cardstock. I used white thread on the black cover, and once the books were all stitched, I glued on the cover image (taken from page 8) and the title, then wrote the byline underneath.

Poetry Event at Historic Joy Kogawa House

At the event at the Historic Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver, BC, at which poet Isabella Mori presented her inspiration for the book and shared some of her work, accompanied by Glen Mori on saxophone.

This event was organized by Anne Marie-Metten and recorded by Peter Faure.