Tea Ceremonies for Winter

Haiku by Rolando Pérez

ISBN 13:  978-1887276-89-4 • $ 14.95

The Japanese tea ceremony is an attempt to impart meaning to that which would otherwise go unnoticed. After all, what is so different about serving, pouring, drinking tea, than the brushing of one’s teeth? No-thing. What gives significance to the serving of the tea is the “ceremony” itself—that is, the form. For in the tea ceremony, the form is the content. Now, in comparison to the Western poem, “full of” meaning, allusions, mythologies, history, etc. a haiku may “just” describe a scene in nature: the landscape: a river, a tree, a bird, and not much else. But that is so very much already, Rolando Pérez seems to suggest in Tea Ceremonies for Winter. So very much. “The objects of nature presented in a Basho haiku, for instance, simply are—they exist for themselves,” says Pérez. “If they are ‘sublime,’ they are not so for us,” and this is what we must all learn, if we are to save the Earth from complete destruction—the result of our Western greed and rampant narcissism. In this light, Tea Ceremonies for Winter is an invitation—through language—to let non-human objects be without submitting them to the control, manipulation, and exploitation of our Imperial I. Pérez’s Tea Ceremonies for Winter is a book that says: “we are all in this together”—but that “we” also includes mountains, rivers, plastic bags, plants, rocks, tea leaves, light bulbs valves, hammers, mice, etc.. Pérez accomplishes this with simplicity and elegance of style. As one of the book’s haiku reads:

Ancient bowls

side by side

on table

next to kettle


speak, say.

Indeed, in Tea Ceremonies for Winter, all objects–human and non-human–speak, say their being.