Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ed Baker - Three Questions

Ed Baker
Ed Baker, artist and poet, was born in Washington, DC in 1941. Ed is our guest for a round of Haiku - Three Questions this week.

1. Why do you write haiku?

what's a 'haiku', anyway? I do "shorties"...

some are 247 pages long (Neighbor, G oo dnight, Song of Chin)

some are one line/breath long...

"they" just tell me what they want to be... then when lucky...POW! I just be them.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

well, this interview, for instance, is sort of a form...

can't tell either as a priori OR as a posteriori

I do like Thomas Wyatt's form... and Niedecker's and Eigner's and Shiki's (as translated...forms?) depends on a particular function, eh?

3. Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three? (Please provide original publication credits.)

let's see what I remember:

far beyond moon frog leaps


(or was that: far beyond frog moon leaps? form/function, again depending)

full moon
in her garden


Wild Orchid
with my mind

Wild Orchid, 2002, tel-let

and below is a little drawing (haiga?) a version of which was in Sketchbook

cheers, Ed

If you've been enjoying this weekly series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response to the three little questions that Ed answered. You must be a published poet in order to participate.

Brett Peruzzi will be our guest next week.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Chorus 2008

As poets, we tend to look at the world in a different light. The average person will usually glance at something and move on, expunging the image from their memory, but not a poet. A poet will pause or take a second look; something within his or her soul will stir and the seed of a poem will be planted. We were forever changed the moment we witnessed something that inspired us to take up a pen or pencil and share our experience with the other inhabitants of our little blue planet. Christmas is the season of giving, but poets give year-round.

We are a community of kindred spirits and a chorus of unique voices. With the help of a few friends, I've put together a Christmas montage that we hope you'll enjoy.

Christmas Montage 2008

short days
a baby born
with a long shadow

Paul O.Williams (California, USA)
Mariposa, 2002

savoring the crunch
of a Moravian cookie

Curtis Dunlap (North Carolina, USA)
Blogging Along Tobacco Road, Dec. 2008

speeding motorbikes―
Trini Santas with gifts in
yellow plastic bags

-gillena cox; 2008 (Trinidad and Tobago)
Trini = short form for People of Trinidad and Tobago

                Christmas Eve
the pavement-sweeper’s sweepings
              blow down the road

Matthew Paul (Twickenham, UK)
The Regulars (Snapshot Press, 2006).

first snow
at every window
a child's face

Roberta Beary (Washington, DC; USA)
Haiku Happens (1998)

in the snow
   the child flies—
        angel wings

Aurora Antonovic (Ontario, Canada)
Autumn Leaves (Volume 9 Number 3)

the autistic boy
conducts his own carols—
gulls beseeching

John McDonald (Edinburgh, UK)
zen speug, 2008

on the harp strings
Christmas Eve

Peggy Willis Lyles (Georgia, USA)
Woodnotes #31

Last minute―
Santa Claus catches
the bus

Angelika Wienert (North Rhine Westfalia, Germany)
Asahi, Dec. 2003

And for your viewing and listening pleasure, I present to you via YouTube another chorus: The Robert Mitchell Boy Choir. This scene is from The Bishop's Wife (1947) with Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven. Cary portrays an angel in this wonderful holiday movie, sent to assist a bishop (David Niven) in the building of a cathedral. Here is but one of the many miracles the angel performs:

My sincere thanks to all who have given to me throughout 2008. May you all have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous and Happy New Year!

Curtis Dunlap

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Susan Delphine Delaney - Three Questions

Susan Delphine DelaneySusan Delphine Delaney MD, MS is a psychiatrist practicing in Plano, Texas, assisted by her therapy dog, Gabriella. She has been writing haiku since 1968, introduced to the small poem when a friend gave her a book that featured Basho and Issa. Her haiku have been published in Frogpond, Modern Haiku, South by Southeast, bottle rockets, Simply Haiku, Woodnotes, Tundra, Persimmon, Medscape, World Haiku Review, Heron Quarterly, 3LightsGallery, Electronic Poetry Network, Kamakura Shrine One, Sketchbook, Haiku Page, the Chesapeake Bay Sajiki. Her poems have also been anthologized in the Basho Festival Anthology ('04,'05,'06), Red Moon Anthology, and Small Canyons (I, II, III).

Susan was the founding Vice President of the Fort Worth Haiku Society, and last year founded Haiku Poets of North Texas.

1. Why do you write haiku?

Like all haiku poets, I have a spiritual restlessness that finds peace in haiku moments - moments that exist outside of time - moments filled with meaning.

Like all haiku poets, I yearn to share these moments with others, to bring to others the same peace that I found in my haiku moment.

I often read haiku to settle me before sleep. I read from my own 'Lifelist', or from the work of others.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

Although I expect to spend the rest of my life becoming an excellent haiku poet, I occasionally write a senryu, a tanka, a haibun or free verse.

3. Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three? (Please provide original publication credits.)

One of my fondest memories is of Dad bundling the five us up, still in our pajamas, and driving us downtown to watch the sun rise thru the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin.

cherry petals
street dancing
on windswells

Basho Festival Anthology 2005

I remember walking before dawn and enjoying comet Hale-Bopp. A man, already dressed for work, came out to get his paper. I asked him if he had seen the comet. He excitedly talked of a cyberspace visit with Bopp the night before. I asked him again if he had seen the comet. He looked at me quizzically. I pointed to the comet, then moved on to let him enjoy it in real space.

crackling campfire
the comet's tail
streams toward morning

Small Canyons Anthology II

And a celebration of single life:

sipping champagne
enjoying the tiny sounds
of living alone

bottle rockets V4, #1
Red Moon Anthology 2002

If you've been enjoying this weekly series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response to the three little questions that Susan answered. You must be a published poet to participate.

Ed Baker will be our guest poet next week.

Blogs and a publication note

Blogs have become an idea way to disseminate information more quickly between periods of waiting for a journal or book to arrive. They often satisfy my poetry-fix until I can thumb through the pages of a new publication, the scent of fresh ink tantalizing my olfactories.

Many places I frequent on the Internet are listed on this blog (scroll down, right-side) and on my links page.

When you have a moment, you should browse over to:

Norbert Blei's Bashō’s Road and see what he's doing with the short poem.

David Giacalone has a recent post on his f/k/a blog about the Haiku Society of America's new anthology entitled dandelion clocks.

Don Wentworth, proprietor of Issa's Untidy Hut, has an entertaining blog plus he often publishes poems from previous issues of Lilliput Review.

On an online publication note, a new issue of Contemporary Haibun Online is available.

Happy Reading!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

A message from Penny Harter

Penny Harter has asked me to post the following:

Thank you all so much for your loving support during these months following my loss. From your phone calls, e-mails, and condolence cards, to haiku honoring Bill on various web sites, and the special tributes and poems in the journals--you have been so generous, and your caring has meant much to me. I know he would feel both honored and moved (and perhaps he does). I'm doing reasonably well, considering that it's the holiday season. This past Wednesday would have been Bill's 70th birthday, and he had hoped to really celebrate that day. I ate a simple meal at home, raising a glass of white wine in his honor.

I'll be spending Christmas with my family, then madly packing boxes as I prepare to move during the third week in January to a small condo in Mays Landing, NJ, (a little ways inland from Atlantic City), where I'll be only about fifteen minutes from my daughter and her husband--love those grandkids (Courtney aged 8 and Conor, 5)! Bill's daughter Beth, her husband, and their two boys (ages 15 and 20) live in north-central Pennsylvania but have other family near Philadelphia, so I'll hope to see them fairly often as well. There is an active poetry community down in South Jersey, many of whom I already know, and I'll be near two colleges that are quite active culturally. I'll also be very near the Atlantic County Main Library. I can't yet tell you my new phone number or exact address; however, postal mail will be forwarded from my Summit P. O. box for a while. When I have my specific new contact information, I'll send it to Curtis for posting. Meanwhile, my e-mail will probably stay the same for some time:

In closing, I'm pasting below an account of the first dream I had of Bill since his death. I wrote the introduction to the dream prior to sharing it at a reading I was invited to give at Overlook Hospital--
for the palliative care community, the doctors and nurses who worked with us during Bill's weeks there, and the public. I was grateful for the opportunity to give back to them. I read from my new book of longer poems, The Night Marsh, a few poems I'd written since Bill's death, and a haibun Bill wrote eight days before he died (which will be in Frogpond). I closed that reading by sharing the dream--a pre-dawn gift to me that same morning--and my waking interpretation of it. May it bless you as it did me. I'm not sending Christmas cards this year, but this can kind of be one, perhaps from both Bill and me. I wish you all a very happy holiday season and a fine new year!



Whatever our faith tradition, most of us believe in God, or some kind of caring deity, and in some kind of survival of the spirit. I believe there is something beyond! And there is Love. Toward dawn this morning, I was blessed with the following dream, the first I’ve had of Bill since his death. To close this reading, I want to share it with you:


12/11/08: First Dream of Bill after his death

It is the Christmas season. I am sitting in the dark in the middle of a large church—it looks like Crescent Avenue Church where I used to sing in the choir—and it seems to be a Christmas concert. A choir is on risers on the steps to the chancel, and they and we, the congregation, are singing “Lo, How a Rose e’er Blooming.” Though I am in the midst of the congregation, I am not really aware of them visually. Yet we are all singing together. I look up at the choir and there, standing in the top row, is Bill, looking hale and hearty. Our eyes lock, and he smiles at me as I sing directly to him, and he to me, these particular words of the carol:

It came, a floweret bright,
amid the cold of winter,
when half spent was the night.

And I feel love flowing between us.


Given that those words, in particular, were what personally passed between us, I woke up feeling that the message of the dream was that I should be like that rose, blooming amid the cold of this winter of loss, the middle of this night. And since the “night” was already half spent—that I was already beginning to bloom, and should continue to do so. I also felt that the message was that I should celebrate the Christmas season, rather than mourn.

And, perhaps, since the dream came on the eve of this night of my giving back to the Overlook Hospital community, the message affirmed that my reading this evening should especially be an opportunity for me to be that “floweret bright.” Although in the original lyrics the floweret refers to Jesus, in this dream I knew that those words were for and about me as well. So I will continue to celebrate life, to find joy in loving and giving of myself.

And may we all be reminded that both in sorrow and in joy, we should strive to celebrate the blessing of being here on this old planet, and the opportunity to share both the blessings and challenges of our lives with one another.

Penny Harter

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bob Moyer recites haiku

Let's close the work week with my good friend Bob Moyer reciting one of his haiku. BTW, it may interest you to know that Bob has also competed in numerous Poetry Slams.

Friday Interlude: Harpo Marx

Our Friday Interlude selection for this week is the multi-talented Harpo Marx performing Franz Liszt's The Second Hungarian Rhapsody.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Doctorate conferred upon L. Teresa Church

Lenard D. Moore sent this news about North Carolina Haiku Society member, L. Teresa Church:

On Sunday evening, Lynn and I attended The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Commencement, where the doctorate was conferred upon L. Teresa Church. It was a wonderful ceremony. As you know, Teresa is a member of The North Carolina Haiku Society. She's also a member of The Haiku Society of America. Her poem "a patch of silver" appears on page 19 of the Haiku Society of America Members' Anthology 2008, dandelion clocks, which Roberta Beary and Ellen Compton edited. Teresa's mother, sisters Gail and Laverne, one of her brothers, and her brother-in-law Lawrence also attended her graduation.

All the best,
Lenard D. Moore

In honor of Teresa's major achievement, I thought it would be nice to display a sampling of this gifted lady's haiku.

vintage airshow
the dragonfly's
double wings

Beneath the Willow Tree (NCHS Anthology 2007)

lanternless walk
through dark winter night
foxfire glows

Simply Haiku Winter 2008, vol 6 no 4

chenille bedspreads —
silver queen corn tassels
in a Carolina field

The Chapel Hill News (April 23, 2008)

tobacco harvest
women in lamplight
tie the quilt

The Heron's Nest, Volume X, Number 1

There are also a couple of Teresa's free verse poems on this page including sound files of Teresa reciting the aforementioned poems.

Congratulations Dr. L. Teresa Church!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Charlie Smith recites haiku

Continuing our series of video haiku readings, Charlie Smith of Raleigh, NC recites one of his haiku. Charlie was our Haiku - Three Questions guest poet on November 2, 2008.

Jack Kerouac reading haiku

Undoubtedly, many of you have already heard or seen Jack Kerouac reading a number of his "haikus" via the Internet. Here's a YouTube video that I periodically revisit:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Andrew Riutta - Three Questions

Andrew Riutta was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. For twenty years, he has lived in the Grand Traverse Region. He is the recipient of the 2008 William J. Shaw Memorial Prize for Poetry, and in 2006 he won "honorable mention" in the Michigan Liberal Arts poetry contest. This past spring, his first full-length poetry collection, Cigarette Butts and Lilacs, was published by Modern English Tanka Press. He and his daughter, Issabella, enjoy walking in cemeteries and eating pancakes.

1. Why do you write haiku?

Because, sometimes, the most effective way to say more is to say less. Ultimately, words lock moods, images and concepts into little boxes. And so, the fewer the words, the less confined those things will be. This ambiguity is both primitive and futuristic.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

Tanka, free verse, ghazals, fiction and creative non-fiction.

3. Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three? (Please provide original publication credits.)

Tough thing to nail down. Signature poems can be deceiving. What might be deemed my "best" may not be my favorites. But, I suppose, there are some that dip into both realms:

apple blossoms
my grandfather snaps
his suspenders

Moonset, 2007

midday heat
the carpenter's tool belt
full of plums

Roadrunner, 2006; Red Moon Anthology, 2006; Reeds, 2007.

in my coat pocket
through births and deaths
the same empty matchbook

A New Resonance 5, 2007

If you've been enjoying this weekly series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response to the three little questions that Andrew Riutta answered. You must be a published poet to participate.

Susan Delphine Delaney will be our guest poet next week.

Richard Straw recites haiku

Richard Straw of Cary, NC and I have occasionally written collaborative poetry. Such exercises are challenging, but they can entertain while honing ones' haiku eye.

Richard is a versatile poet. In the last two years, he has had numerous haibun and haiku published. We add a video credit now. ;-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Interlude: Haiku (of a different kind)

The name of the piece is Haiku. Close your eyes and listen; allow this talented lady to lead you on a ginko of the heart, mind, and soul.

Johnye Strickland recites haiku

The greatest pleasure I've had at haiku conferences is spending quality time with my friends either over a meal, ginko, or conversing in a hotel room.

Ladies and gentlemen I present to you my friend and poet pal, the lovely and vibrant Johnye Strickland:

The 2009 Anita Sadler Weiss Memorial Haiku Awards

This just in from Elizabeth Fanto:

The 2009 Anita Sadler Weiss Memorial Haiku Awards, sponsored by the Haiku Poets of Central Maryland, will mark the fourth annual competition dedicated to the memory of Baltimore-based haiku poet and teacher Anita Sadler Weiss.

Deadline: IN-HAND by JANUARY 31, 2009.

Sponsor: The Haiku Poets of Central Maryland.

Eligibility: Open to the public, aged 14 and up. (Only the contest coordinators are prohibited from entering.)

Awards: Total of $300.00 in prize money: First Place, $175.00; Second Place, $75.00; Third Place, $50.00. Five ranked Honorable Mentions will also be awarded. (Contest coordinators reserve the right to lower the prize money if sufficient entries are not received to cover the stated awards.)

Submissions: All entries must be the original work of the poet, unpublished, and not under consideration elsewhere.

Entry fee: $1.00 per poem. Poets may enter up to 15 haiku. Entry fee must accompany submission.

Submission Guidelines: Print or type each individual haiku on three separate 3” x 5” index cards. On the back of ONE CARD ONLY print or type your name, address, and email address (if one is available). Include a No. 10 (business-size) SASE (or SAE plus US$1 for return postage for entries sent from outside the U.S.) for notification. Also enclose your entry fee in U.S. currency or check or money order payable in U.S. dollars. Make checks or money orders payable to “HPCM/Elizabeth Fanto.” ENTRIES NOT FOLLOWING THESE GUIDELINES WILL BE RETURNED OR (IF SUFFICIENT POSTAGE AND/OR ENVELOPE ARE LACKING) DISCARDED. Entries without SASE or SAE + return postage will not receive winner notification.

Send entries to: Haiku Poets of Central Maryland, c/o Elizabeth Fanto, 51 Gerard Avenue, Timonium, MD 21093 USA. DO NOT EMAIL ENTRIES.

Notification/publication: Winners’ list will be mailed on April 1, 2009, to commemorate Anita Sadler Weiss’ birthday (April 6). Notification of winning poems will be sent to all competition participants and made available to the public for an SASE while supplies last. The winning poems will also be published in The Dragonfly, the newsletter of the Haiku Poets of Central Maryland. All rights remain with the poets.

Adjudication: The name(s) of the judge(s) will be announced concurrently with the winning haiku.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Roberta Beary recites a haibun

The beautiful and talented Roberta Beary graciously accepted my offer to film her reciting one of her haibun at the recent Haiku Society of America quarterly meeting. You may recall that Roberta's book of haiku and senryu entitled The Unworn Necklace was a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Book Award given by the Poetry Society of America.

Without further ado I present to you the remarkable Roberta Beary:

A couple of publication items...

The new issue of Sketchbook is online and ready for viewing.

Also, John Barlow sent this:

Dear haiku, tanka and poetry friends

I’m afraid 2008’s end-of-year missive has an all-too-familiar ring to it: times are tough, for all of us. And while that’s a constant state of affairs for a one-man-band hand-to-mouth small press, as we enter our twelfth year it seems that it has never been more so. We need to sell books to survive, and if there’s no realistic demand for those books, there’s no realistic reason for us to exist. So, if you like what the press does, and would like to see more of it, please consider getting a treat for yourself, or someone else, this holiday season.

In all other ways 2008 has been a great year for the press. In April, Roberta Beary’s debut collection of haiku and senryu, The Unworn Necklace, was honored as a Finalist in the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Awards; and, along with Matt Morden’s second collection, Stumbles in Clover, was also honored in the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Awards.

September saw the publication of Wing Beats: British Birds in Haiku, with launches at the Poetry Society’s HQ in London and at Mr B’s, the current British Independent Bookshop of the Year. Thanks to the dedication of Alan and Karen Summers of With Words, these events were packed and greatly enjoyed by all. (Photos can be seen at a new section on the Wing Beats site, Described by the late, and much-missed, Bill Higginson as “a very important book”, and by the eminent writer and naturalist Mark Cocker as “a triumph of seeing, expression and poetic control”, I can honestly say that Wing Beats has been a delight to everyone who has seen it, whether their interest is in haiku, birds . . . or neither of the above! (Please see

But don’t believe the hype? Why not get a copy of one of these (or any of our) books for yourself, or as a gift for someone else, and make your own mind up! And then tell me what you (or they) like, what you don’t like, and what you would like to see more of from the press. I may not always be able to reply to every comment or suggestion, especially at busy times, but feedback is always welcome.

Another ‘new’ publication, now in its tenth annual ‘edition’, is The Haiku Calendar 2009. And, if I’m to continue fighting my natural aversion to marketing, this really does make a great Christmas or New Year gift – and not only for haiku poets. It’s perfect for sparking an interest in haiku, or for instilling some understanding in baffled relatives and friends – and it’s far easier to ‘show’ than ‘tell’! For further details please see

There’s still time for Christmas orders. The last order date for the US and Canada is Tuesday December 9; for western Europe it’s Thursday December 11; and for the UK it’s Friday December 19. Orders to the rest of the world may get there if they are placed soon, but aren’t now guaranteed by the postal service. If you would prefer not to order online, get in touch and let me know your payment is forthcoming, and I’ll don the elf suit and make sure the order is sent out immediately.

And, to close: with various haiku commitments November passed me by in blur, but I was honoured to be the featured poet for the month on Mann Library’s Daily Haiku at Cornell University in New York state. So, something for free! 30 haiku (and many, many more by some excellent poets besides) at:

now and again
through wind-flattened grasses the tips
of the hare’s ears

a half moon
all my change
in the beggar’s hand

There are a few tentative plans for the years ahead (please see, but, as I said, please get involved, and let me know what, in general, you would like to see the press doing.

In the meantime, thank you again for your ongoing support of the press (which, being completely independent, couldn’t otherwise exist).

All the very best for the holiday season, and happy writing and reading in 2009.


John Barlow
Editor, Snapshot Press
w: /

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Lenard D. Moore recites haiku

Though I'm out of town, I owe the readers of Blogging Along Tobacco Road a Sunday post.

For your viewing and listening pleasure, I present to you HSA president Lenard D. Moore:

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Interlude: Buster Keaton

I'm off to the Haiku Society of America's quarterly meeting in Winston-Salem this weekend. It looks like we have a full schedule of events. Please drop by if you are in town.

This week's Friday Interlude comes at the request of Liam Wilkinson, editor and curator of 3Lights Gallery of Haiku. Like many of us, Liam appreciates the classic entertainers of yesteryear.

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

haiku anthology of flowers

Call for submissions: bottle rockets press will be publishing a haiku anthology of flowers due out sometime in 2010. The book will be a perfect-bound glossy covered book with an ISBN. (The third anthology in the series.) Submission can cover any aspects of flowers. Any type of flower is welcome.

Previously published poems accepted with name of 1st publication, volume number, issue number, and year. If unpublished please indicate next to the haiku. Please also indicate the season next to the poem and any other useful information. All submissions need to have the name, address, and e-mail on the top right corner of the page. No e-mail submissions accepted inside or outside of the USA. Submissions in the USA need a SASE/size 10 envelope. Outside needs an SASE and 2 IRCs. All submissions must be typed. 5 haiku per page. Please send up to 20 haiku. This will be a highly selective process. Any submission not following these strict guidelines will be discarded without notice to sent to author. Deadline for submission August 1, 2009. brp reserves the right to discontinue this book project if it does not acquire enough quality work. Send submissions to:

Stanford M. Forrester, Editor
bottle rockets press
PO Box 189
Windsor, CT 06095


Monday, December 1, 2008

December issue of The Heron's Nest

The December issue of The Heron's Nest is available. Browse over to to read 123 new haiku by poets from around the world.

This issue also contains seven pages of haiku written to honor the late William J. Higginson.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ruth Yarrow - Three Questions

Ruth Yarrow taught ecology in colleges and environmental centers for several dozen years, and continues to work for peace and justice as a retired volunteer. When their two adventurous kids fledged, she and her husband moved to the northwest where they revel in mountain backpacking. Ruth has had hundreds of haiku in the major journals and five books of haiku published. She has given readings and workshops, judged contests, and served as editor and HSA Northwest Regional Coordinator. She finds that writing haiku helps her be aware of the richness of life.

1) Why do you write haiku?

In the early 1970s I read about haiku when teaching an environmental studies course at Stockton State College in NJ on how people from different cultures see nature, as expressed in their writing. My students and I tried writing haiku and I got hooked. I've continued to write because it helps me be aware of those fleeting emotions and enriches my life.

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I enjoy reading a variety of others' poems – Emily Dickinson, Richard Wright, Carolyn Forche and Pablo Neruda are among my favorites. While I mostly write haiku, I also enjoy the hard exoskeleton provided by the sonnet and the oozing freedom of free verse.

3) Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three?

warm rain before dawn:
my milk flows into her

Cicada 5:1, 1981

up under the gull's wing

Frogpond IX:4 1986 Henderson first prize

I step into old growth:
autumn moon deeper
into sky

Modern Haiku XXVI:2 1995

If you've been enjoying this weekly series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response to the three little questions that Ruth Yarrow answered. You must be a published poet to participate.

Haiku - Three Questions will be on hiatus next week. I'm attending the HSA quarterly meeting in Winston-Salem, NC on December 5, 6, and 7.

Andrew Riutta will be our guest poet when Haiku - Three Questions returns on December 14th.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Interlude: Abbott & Costello

Raffael de Gruttola, poet and connoisseur of fine southern spirits, enjoyed the Laurel & Hardy clip last week. The Friday Interlude clip this week is a classic favorite of Raffael's and mine.

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Gatherings

May you all have a thankful and restful holiday as you gather to celebrate your blessings with family and loved ones. Keep a poetic eye open for haiku moments. :)

Here's a tribute to the Beatles by an amazing young man.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

paul m. - Three Questions

paul m., a native Californian now living in New England, is an award winning poet who has been published internationally in a variety of haiku journals. In 2007 called home, his second full-length collection of poems, received Third Place prize in the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Awards. called home is available from Red Moon Press.

Hi Curtis,

A delightful series! My own answers submitted below:

1) Why do you write haiku?

John Muir said: "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything in the universe." I think the reason I like the short poem is because I’m trying to figure out how I am hitched to the universe. Or to put it in a sound bite: Through my poetry I am looking to see how I fit into this world, by looking to see how other things fit. I am an accountant by trade and spend ten hours a day looking at numbers in one place and examining their relationship to numbers in another place. For example: a 12b1 fee over here a receivable on my clearing statement over there. Cash at an affiliate here perhaps a capital charge there. I think such analytics are the backbone of my poetry. For example:

spot where I proposed —
footpath gravel
from different quarries

There is a proposal in one place and gravel from different quarries in another. The short poem (and the haiku in particular) gets its power from these kinds of unsaid relationships. If gravel from different places and of different makings can work together, then logically a marriage can. Peter Yovu wrote 'A haiku.. is a balance between control and surrender.' That's a wonderful phrase that applies to life as well as to poetry. Sometimes the universe gives you things you can easily understand and so you write the understandable poem (that's 'control'). But sometimes the universe only alludes to something—something you only half understand, sometimes not at all. So you write the poem you don't necessarily understand. And maybe you have to step out of your comfort zone to write it. Maybe debits don't equal credits. You have to trust the moment. Trust intuition. Trust the poem. (that's 'surrender'). How like life, eh? I think the two are intertwined—hitched!

2) What other poetic forms do your enjoy?

I prefer free verse over structured. The shorter the better! I am moved by moments of awareness.

3) Of the many wonderful haiku you’ve written, what do you consider to be your top three?

Like the other respondents that's a hard question to answer. Favorites change daily. A few that have stayed with me are:

migrating whales
all our footprints
wash away

Heron's Nest 11/02

explaining again
our two homes
snow drifts

Ant ant ant ant ant #8

moving the cow
closer to baby Jesus
yesterday’s snow

HSA Anthology 2006

If you've been enjoying this weekly series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response to the three little questions that paul m. answered. You must be a published poet to participate.

Ruth Yarrow will be our guest poet next week.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Music Interlude: Laurel & Hardy

It's Friday! For those of you who are as appreciative as I am about this glorious day of the week, I offer this little interlude.

I'm glad they were around for the talkies.

Laurel and Hardy Lonesome Pine - Funny home videos are a click away

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reminder - First International Erotic Tanka Contest

Pamela Babusci would like to remind everyone about the . . .

First International Erotic Tanka Contest
Deadline Postmark: Dec. 31st 2008

Eligibility: Open to everyone at least 21 years old. You must be at least 21 years old to enter.

Subject matter: Erotic, sensual/physical tanka. Tanka that expresses love in all its manifestations. Please NO pornography!!

Prizes: First Place $100 Second Place $50 and Third Place $25 Prize monies maybe reduced if there are insufficient funds due to number of entries.

Entry Fee: $1 per tanka No limit on number of tanka submitted. Checks, money orders, made payable to Pamela A. Babusci, or cash. Foreign entries CASH ONLY, U.S. MONIES.

Rules: Submit tanka on 3x5 index cards. One card with just the tanka on it and the second card with your tanka and your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address on the front upper left of the card. Entries MUST be typewritten or printed legibly. Entries that cannot be read be will destroyed. Enclose an SASE, with sufficient postage (or 2 IRCs for international entries) if you desire contest results.

ONLY unpublished tanka will be accepted. NO tanka that is being considered for publication or entered into tanka contests elsewhere. NO tanka that has been published on-line or in on-line tanka workshops should be entered.

Judge: Pamela A. Babusci, international award-winning tanka poet.

Note: The contest will be judged blindly. Karen Shiffler will receive all entries and send ONLY the blind entries to the judge.

Send entries to: First International Erotic Tanka Contest, Karen Shiffler, 1464 Lake Road Webster, NY 14580 USA.

Questions: E-mail; subject line: Questions: Erotic Tanka Contest.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Charlotte Digregorio - Three Questions

Charlotte Digregorio is a poet and author of four non-fiction books sold worldwide, and is a frequent media guest and interviewee. She holds graduate degrees in Italian and French Literatures, and has been on the faculty of universities, teaching languages and writing. She has also given workshops on the craft of writing non-fiction at libraries, bookstores, and colleges/universities throughout the country, as well as doing poetry readings. She hosted her own radio poetry program, “Poetry Beat,” on Oregon Public Broadcasting for two years.

1) Why do you write haiku?

I’ve been writing and publishing haiku since 1995, along with senryu and tanka, in various journals including Modern Haiku, bottle rockets, and frogpond. I write haiku because it helps to keep me focused on the present and on the simple things around me that are worth appreciating. Like many people, throughout my life, I’ve often dwelled on the past and spent too much time pondering the “What Ifs” of the future. I also write haiku because I like its brevity. I always carry a pocket notebook, and if a thought or image strikes me, I record it. Sometimes an image jumps out as I’m driving. Or, sometimes at night when it’s quiet, and I’m resting in an armchair, I think about a previous season that I long for, and a favorite image comes to me. I don’t labor over revising the haiku for months, as one might do with longer forms of poetry. It’s neat, clean, and manageable. I write it, review and revise it within a few days, or a week at most.

2) What other poetic forms do your enjoy?

I enjoy writing the sestina, and reading the sonnet, ballad, ode, villanelle, and rondeau. I don’t care much for free verse, as I see a lot of bad ones written. I prefer poems with a recognizable style and form, and I do consider haiku to have that.

3) Of the many wonderful haiku you’ve written, what do you consider to be your top three?

wooded hills . . .
the evening downpour
fogs distant city lights

Modern Haiku, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, Summer 1996

after confession . . .
my neighbor burns leaves
in autumn’s chill

Modern Haiku, Vol. XXVIII, No. 1, Winter-Spring 1997

bedridden mother . . .
branches laden
with ice

International Herald Tribune, Asahi Haikuist Network, Feb. 17, 2007

If you've been enjoying the weekly Haiku - Three Questions series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response to the three little questions that Charlotte answered. You must be a published poet to participate.

paul m. will be our guest poet next week.

Simply Haiku - Winter Issue

This just in from Lenard D. Moore:

The new issue of Simply Haiku is online. Simply Haiku is an International Japanese Short Form Journal read by over 6,000 people worldwide

Winter Issue


Assimilation of the Ma Aesthetic Better Equips Western Poets to Write Haiku
by Denis M. Garrison

A Brilliant Literature: Robert Wilson
Interviews Professor Richard Gilbert
by Robert D. Wilson

An Interview with An Xiao
by Robert D. Wilson

Fulfilling My Dream of Performing Tanka
by Mariko Kitakubo,
translated by Amelia Fielden

Tanka by Kisaburo Konoshima
Newly translated by David Callner

Contemplative Haiku:

Raquel D. Bailey
Tara Betts
Jared Carter
L. Teresa Church
Desiree Cooper
Susan Delphine Delaney
Fredua-Agyeman Nana
David Serjeant
Nora Wood

Tantalizing Tanka:
Cathy Drinkwater Better
Joe Christensen
Sanford Goldstein
M. Kei
Bob Lucky
Joyce Maxner
Patrick Pilarski
Fujiko Sato

Captivating Haibun:

hortensia anderson
Ludmila Balabanova
Tish Davis
Sharon Dean
Ken Jones
Jim Kacian
ed markowski
Stanley Pelter
Patrick M. Pilarski
Joanna Preston
Ray Rasmussen
John W. Sexton
Jeffrey Woodward

Hot Senryu:

~ Belly Peterson, Bob Brill,
Alexis Rotella, Carol Raisfeld,
Dana-Maria Onica, Barry George,
Ted Heavens

Home Sweet Home
~ Alexis Rotella, Anita Virgil,
Mykel Board, Gautam Nadkarni,
Christopher Patchel, Bob Lucky,
Liam Wilkinson, Barry George,
Arizona Zipper, John Stevenson,
David Gershator

~ Matthew Cariello, Francis Masat,
Gautam Nadkarni, Carol Raisfeld,
Roberta Beary, Ed Markowski,
Jerry Kilbride, Christopher Patchel,
Michael Dylan Welch, John Stevenson,
Jian Zheng, kala ramesh, Anita Virgil,
Pamela A. Babusci, Alexis Rotella,
Barry George, M. Franklyn Teaford

Sizzling and Innovative Renku:

Bamboo Greeting
~ The Miner School of Haikai Poets,
comprising Keith Kumasen Abbot, Maureen Owen,
Pat Nolan and Michael Sowl
Bamboo Greeting, with verse-by-verse annotation by the authors
The Miner School of Haikai Poets – History and Biographies

Tarried Road Workers
~ Barbara A Taylor, Moira Richards,
Claire Chatelet

The Piñon's Tears
~ Effie Araouzou, Dorothy Heiderscheit,
Nora Hussey, Virginia Jennings,
Frances Kelleher, Marion Kerrigan,
Beatrice Mondare, Bernie O'Reilly,
Kim Richardson and Maeve O'Sullivan

New Shisan:
October's Moon –
dedicated to the memory of William J. Higginson
~ Moira Richards and Norman Darlington

Innovative Modern Haiga:

Ross Coward
Linda Pilarski
Alexis Rotella
Claudette and Frank Russell
Manoj Saranathan

Aesthetic Traditional Haiga:

Ed Baker
Mark Smith
Janis Zroback and Allan Burns


Robert D. Wilson:

Early Modern Japanese Literature,
edited by Haruo Shirane

In Two Minds, by Amelia Fielden and
Kathy Kituai

The Tanka Prose Anthology,
edited by Jeffrey Woodward

Johnye Strickland:

The Horse with One Blue Eye,
by Cherie Hunter Day

Kindle of Green,
by Cherie Hunter Day and David Rice

And, of course, lots of CONTEST NEWS!



"The online showcase for Japanese short form poetry"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Flip Camcorder & Cedar Point

One of the neatest toys I received on my birthday was a Flip Camcorder. While the video quality certainly isn't on par with what my friend Taz Yamaguchi has been doing with his very cool projects, the neat little device can inspire an old ham to ham-it-up. :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Angelika Wienert - Three Questions

Angelika Wienert lives with her family in Oberhausen (North Rhine Westfalia, Germany), a former coal mining region with a high unemployment rate. She has been writing haiku since 2002. She loves to work in her Japanese garden and likes "walking meditation" (because she says that she can't sit with her legs crossed). She lives a secluded life but occasionally journeys abroad (other European countries, U.S.A., Japan).

1. Why do you write haiku?

Haiku for me is the taste of a moment. We breathe; we don't think about it. Breathing is normal for us and in much the same way haiku became normal for me, too. Haiku is part of my life now. Santôka Taneda said: "Real haiku is the soul of poetry ..." I read his words and thought: "Yeah!" We share with our readers a special moment, we share feelings; this concept has never lost its fascination on me.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I love renku and have experience with kasen and triparshva (sabaki Gerd Börner, John Carley, Norman Darlington). For several years I've written haibun in German; this year I started writing haibun in English. Rengay, haiku-sequences,'s a joy for me to write about my experiences in these forms. I also think that haiku poets need a background in haiku, so I translated (with the kind help of an editorial team) George Swede's brilliant essay Haiku in English in North America into German. I've interviewed David G. Lanoue (Issa archive), written a short essay about Sugita Hisajo, and published a feature about Kala Ramesh (India) etc. (the mentioned work was published at Haiku heute, a German haiku-magazine).

3. Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your to top three?

First page —
a man's empty hands
the earthquake

(Asahi Haikuist Network, January 13, 2004)

a swan drinks

(The Mainichi Daily News, monthly selection, December 2005)

cherry blossoms —
i wear my silk scarf
from Japan

(Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 2006. Top 30 Haiku)

Best wishes,

If you've been enjoying the weekly Haiku - Three Questions series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response to those three little questions. You must be a published haiku poet to participate.

Charlotte Digregorio will be our guest poet next week.

Haiku Page Issue 1.2

The fall issue of Haiku Page is available. You can download Haiku Page (as a pdf document) by clicking on this link. This issue contains haiku, a haibun, and a section devoted to haiga created by students in Dr. Albert Wong's graphic design class at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Submission information is available on the first page.

Happy reading!

Monday, November 3, 2008

October World Haiku Review

This just in from Susumu Takiguchi:

Dear Kuyu,

The October issue of World Haiku Review is now online. Please visit: and click on the current issue, Volume 6, Issue 4.

My computer is only partially working and I am unable to use the usual WHC world-wide network contacts lists. Therefore, I would be most grateful if you could kindly forward this message to your lists of contacts and/or any other people or organisations who would be interested to know about the new issue.



World Haiku Review
Managing Editor & Acting Editor-in-Chief: Susumu Takiguchi
Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Kala Ramesh
Technical Editor: Rohini Gupta

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Charlie Smith - Three Questions

Charlie Smith lives in Raleigh, NC. He has had haiku published in Asahi Haikuist Network, Beneath the Willow Tree, Mainichi Daily News, Moonset, and Valley Voices. Several of his bilingual (Japanese and English) haiku appeared in the 10th anniversary book Meguro International Haiku Circle. He received honorable mention in the 8th Mainichi Haiku Contest. His free verse poem Sakura appeared in the July 2008 issue of Magnapoets.

Hi Curtis,

I am an amateur at haiku, but maybe you would like to have a spectrum of folks with interest in haiku answering the three questions.

1. Why do you write haiku?

Two answers:

First answer: as a way to communicate with other people and with myself. Many of my friends live a distance away. Also, I enjoy writing as a way to try to be creative. The time scale for completing a haiku draft is much shorter than for a scientific paper. Many times they are just a way for me to remember a feeling or a ‘haiku moment’; occasionally they are something I want to share with a larger group of people.

Second answer takes a little longer to explain. In fall 1999, a year after my father died, I was on a two month sabbatical leave at Osaka Univ. I was living alone in the dorm for international visitors. I remembered that my father had taken me to a Japanese garden in Miami when I was 16. In the garden was a large stone with a haiku written on it in Japanese. I had told him that I would write one of those someday. I had forgotten about that trip for many years. One of the graduate students in Osaka gave me a bilingual version of Basho’s haiku to read. So after several weeks I had a fall haiku. I placed it on my father’s grave upon returning from Japan. Then I decided I needed one for the other three seasons. So my first four haiku were in Japanese. Then I found out that haiku in English was alive and well in many places. I was blessed to be living in a location containing the North Carolina Haiku Society which has some outstanding haijin. Friends in Japan continued to mentor me, explaining about KIREJI and such, and kindly reading some of my attempts in English and Japanese. They also tried to make me understand about KANSEI and KANDOU. Roughly speaking, KANDOU is something that touches your heart or is being touched by it. KANSEI is the sensitivity to appreciate KANDOU well enough. I think I will always regard myself as a beginner striving for an ideal but having some fun at times along the way.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I like to read haiku, tanka, haibun, sonnets and free verse. Also I grew up on some songs of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and others that can be viewed as poems. I have only one free verse poem published, it is called "Sakura" and was in the July 2008 issue of Magnapoets. I hope to have a haibun published sometime in the near future.

3. Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three? (Please provide original publication credits.)

Three of my favorites are below. The first was placed on my father’s grave, and also has a number of different interpretations. The second was the favorite of a close friend and mentor that passed away in 2005. The third was my first published haiku.

kasane zuki                    ( double moon )
yaenadeshiko                    ( double petaled dianthus of )
utsukushisa                    ( beauty )

English and Japanese version Moonset Nov. 2007

kara no niwa                    ( my empty garden )
hotaru ga kaeru                    ( lightning bugs returning home )
ama no gawa                    ( river full of stars )

English version Asahi Haikuist Network Aug. 09, 2004

English and Japanese calligraphy version, Moonset, Oct. 2008

eyes and ice                ( kouri to me )
both cold                    ( dochira mo tsumetai )
one melts                    ( hitotsu toketa )

Mainichi Daily News “Haiku in English” column Jan. 2001

Keep up the great job you are doing of writing and promoting haiku.


Charlie Smith
Raleigh, NC

Angelika Wienert will be our guest poet next week.

Sketchbook Third Anniversary Issue

The Third Anniversary Issue of Sketchbook has just been published. Sketchbook is full of poems in a variety of genres, visual art, and more, all nicely wrapped in cover art by Ron Moss (that brings to mind Basho or Poe).

The editors write:

We are now accepting submissions for the November 30, 2008 Sketchbook issue. We invite you to send your work to Our deadline each month is the 20th.

The kukai topic for the month is "old diary". Read the details here.

The topic for the haiku thread is "winter holidays". Read the details here.

We were saddened to learn that William J. (Bill) Higginson passed away on October 11, 2008. Most haiku poets have encountered Bill Higginson through one of his books. He has made significant contributions to the haiku world; he will be greatly missed. The Sketchbook editors would like to include a tribute memorial to William J. Higginson in the November 30, 2008 issue. Please send any written contributionremembrancepoem, haibun or recollection to the Editors We look forward to reading your November submissions.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Two News Items: Haiku Songs & Carlos Colon

Fleur-de-Lisa, the immensely talented a cappella quartet comprised of Sarah Shunk, Deborah Stewart, Andie Piddington, and Sylvia Freeman, launched a new web site recently. Their debut CD, Willow Songs, contains 27 songs based on haiku by members of the North Carolina Haiku Society. Sample songs from the CD are available on the discography page. The quality and beauty of these hai-ka (haiku songs) are pleasing to the ear and have helped me through many difficult Monday mornings. :-)

The Shreveport Times recently published a great story about award-winning poet Carlos Colon. Carlos is one of the many haiku poets featured in Tazuo Yamaguchi's film documentary, Haiku: The Art of the Short Poem. I saw Carlos at a reading filmed by Yamaguchi at Haiku North American 2007. I learned a valuable lesson from Carlos that day: inject a little lightheartedness and fun into your readings. Carlos, you're "da man!" ;-)

I'll be back in a few days with the weekly Haiku - Three Questions post.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hortensia Anderson - Three Questions

Hortensia Anderson lives on the lower east side of New York City. She is the author of numerous chapbooks as well as a volume of poetry, Trust (fly-by night press, 1995). She is interested in the function of the Internet on poetry in the 21st century. Her current passion is renga and other forms of collaborative poetry.

She has been on dialysis since 1981.

1. Why do you write haiku?

For you.

I can remember Zen Master Seung Sahn answering the question "Why do you sit?" with those two words. I gave his response an unspoken one word - "jerk". It took me decades to grasp his meaning.

Originally, I wrote haiku as poetic reminders of "epiphanies" for me. As I kept studying haiku, I realised the finest haiku re-created the "epiphanies" in the reader.

So, to answer your question again:

For you.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I don't consider haiku a "form".

3. Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three? (Please provide original publication credit).

spring thaw —
the stream parts to embrace
the stone

Mainichi - Best of 2002

midnight swim —
we glide through the galaxy

5th Annual Suruga-Baika Winner

moonlit night —
the pond floats
a water-lily

I consider this my absolute favourite. I can't provide original publication credit as it has been repeatedly rejected. I don't care. I love it.

Charlie Smith will be our Haiku - Three Questions guest next week.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tea, Haiku, and Wu

Bob Moyer, Kate MacQueen, and I participated in a haiku reading and tea tasting at the Golden Flower T'ai Chi Center in Winston-Salem, NC yesterday. IMHO, there's no better combination of events than sipping fine teas while reading and listening to haiku; in fact, it can be inspiring: I walked away with a couple of haiku moments that will likely become poems.

This reading was especially enjoyable in that it was very informal. I also liked the format of the poets reading about three poems each, then pausing while tea connoisseur, Julie Reynolds, enlightened us about the teas we were sampling. This alternating between poems and tea is ideal for patrons and poets.

Julie Reynolds serving tea and smiles.

Many thanks to the Golden Flower T'ai Chi Center for allowing Bob, Kate, and me to read our poems. And a special thanks to the many fine people I met yesterday who, hopefully, will begin to chronicle their own life experiences through haiku.

Curtis, Kate, and Bob

waking. . .
the bar's green bracelet
stuck to my face

-Bob Moyer

bright Venus
two hawks settle
deep in the pine

-Kate MacQueen
The Heron's Nest, October 2001

lunar eclipse —
sipping moonshine
from a sake cup

-Curtis Dunlap
Frogpond Volume XXX:3 (October 2007)

I fondly call Bob Moyer "Mr. Winston-Salem". Every time I visit Bob, I leave Winston-Salem with a deeper appreciation for this fine town's arts, culture, and history. Brother Bob is a walking Winston-Salem encyclopedia. And true to Bob form, just when you think it couldn't get any better, well, it gets better.

Below is a photo of Ms Mona Wu standing beside one of her many beautiful works of art. The picture is a haiga entitled The Shy Orchid. Due to size limitations on this web page, the photo I took doesn't do this magnificent work of art justice. I encourage you to visit or stop by the Artworks Gallery at 564 North Trade Street. You'll be very pleased you did.

The lovely artist Mona Wu

And finally, I've put together a little slideshow of images taken yesterday. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Peggy Heinrich - Three Questions

Peggy Heinrich is our Haiku - Three Questions guest this week. She writes:

"I discovered haiku in the 1970’s when a copy of Dragonfly fell into my hands. Reading it led me to try a few haiku and they were published by Tombo (Lorraine Ellis Harr). Her useful comments and her list of Haiku Isn’ts inflamed my interest in improving my grasp of the form. Since that time, I’ve been published in most haiku journals, both in this country and internationally, and have won many awards. Also, some twenty-five years ago, I served several years as Treasurer for the Haiku Society of America."

1. Why do you write haiku?

I like the peaceful place I inhabit while writing haiku. I enjoy the luxury of playing with haiku’s few words to create a powerful image where small becomes big. I like the way three short lines can express a complex thought. I even like the negative space that surrounds each haiku.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

Tanka, because it allows me to express a personal observation. Longer poems in free verse, where I can call up many details and write until I surprise myself. Sestina, one of the forms in which the rules lead to exciting discoveries.

3. What I consider my top three.

fresh snow on the walk —
passing a child's bootprints
heading the other way

World Haiku Association Anthology 2001; Dragonfly,12/74 (Gustave Keyser Award); A Patch of Grass mini-chapbook of 24 haiku, High/Coo Press, Battle Ground, IN, 1984; Haiga-Haiku, limited edition, 8 haiku by P. Heinrich, 8 etchings by Barbara Gray, produced by the artist, 1982; Also: London Art/Poetry Exhibit Dec '77 and Glasgow Exhibit, Jan '78 (with Barbara Gray's etchings).

December sunset
putting aside her journal
to peel an orange

Harold G. Henderson Award, 3rd prize, 1994; Frogpond, Winter 1994; Timepieces 1996 day 12/28; republished : moonset, June 2007

end of summer
the shape of his feet
in his empty sneakers

Harold G.Henderson Award 2000, Hon. Men.; Reprinted: A Glimpse of Red, Red Moon Anthology, 2001 [Editor, Jim Kacian, Red Moon Press, Winchester VA]; WHA Anthology 2001 (web)

Next week, Hortensia Anderson.


Richard Straw and I composed what we like to call a rhyme-rengay (or, ren-rhyme-gay). This poem entitled Sundown Lights was published recently in Sketchbook. Writing this type of rengay was a little challenging but it was a lot of fun, too.

We hope you enjoy Sundown Lights:

Curtis Dunlap and Richard Straw

Sundown Lights

intermittent shade
in the windmill blades
desert sun

faded billboard cowboy
a hitchhiker's new friend

wind-blown sombrero—
the drifter pockets
his tattered beret

waving toward a bus
la madre y el bebé
and honey mesquite*

squeaking wheels silenced
by an air brake hush

lush saguaro
and a nectar-feeding bat
taillights disappear

*The Spanish phrase means "the mother and the baby."

Sketchbook - Vol. 3, No. 9 (September 30, 2008)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Free verse poem published at TCSM

The Christian Science Monitor publishes free verse and haiku. And while I don't write poetry for money, they pay $40 for free verse, $20 for haiku. TCSM is also friendly to non 5-7-5 haiku.

My free verse poem entitled Wheel Jammin' was published today.

TCSM retains exclusive rights for 90 days (I signed a contract); rights revert back to the poet after that time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tributes to William J. Higginson

The Australian Haiku Society has created a Tributes to William J. Higginson website.

As stated at the bottom of the page, you may send one haiku per poet to by October 27, 2008.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bill Higginson has died

Fellow Poets,

It is with a heavy heart that I make this blog post. Bill Higginson passed away today. I received the following email from Penny Harter a short while ago:

Dear Curtis,

Bill had been in the ICU since Monday early morning, and he was weakening some each day. And sadly, just after we were making plans today for Bill to go to hospice care within the hospital (his decision), his heart went crazy, suddenly beating up in the high 190s / 200s, he glazed over, his rapid labored breathing slowed dramatically to the last few breaths, and his heart beat on, slowing down, for about ten minutes until he died peacefully at 3:45 p.m. today. His daughter Beth and I were holding his hands and singing Amazing Grace to him.

He'd awakened early this morning saying he was "composed" and ready to stop fighting, then asked the nurses to call to tell Beth and me he wanted to speak to us. We came in early and though his voice was sometimes labored, we had an animated conversation much of the morning. He made it clear he wanted a straight DNR after all (no intubation, etc.), and then we talked about how he wanted to be remembered (memorial celebrations at Tenri in NYC and here in NJ in the spring), as well as personal things. And then I guess he was ready and just let go.

He knew we agreed with his decision, and though Beth and I cried, we affirmed that decision and said that though we'd miss him terribly, it was time. He'd been through enough. He will be cremated, and the only service anytime soon will be a family graveside ceremony in about two weeks or so. I have Beth with me and family coming tomorrow. I'll be going down to my daughter Nancy's for about a week to recover a bit from the strain of recent weeks, leaving on Tuesday or so. Then I'll start dealing with things here.

Bill and I both have been most grateful for all the cards and e-mails of support we've received over the past weeks. Bless you all! I won't be checking e-mail much while at my daughter's, but may do so once in a while. I'm not ready for engaging in much personal correspondence yet.


On a personal note, I'm honored to have met Bill at Haiku North America 2007. He and Penny have inspired and nurtured me through their poems and many books. (Practically every serious haiku poet has a copy of the The Haiku Handbook, right?) We have lost a friend and pioneer in English language haiku and Japanese poetic forms. Please join me in expressing our sincere condolences to Penny, family, and friends of William J. Higginson.

William J. Higginson
Due to this very sad news, the weekly Haiku - Three Questions post will be postponed until next week.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mike Farley - Three Questions

Mike Farley writes from Red Lodge, Montana, where he lives with his wife Shirlee on a hay and cattle ranch. He is 68 and has six grown children and fifteen grandkids. Mike's poetry is rich with the images of the mountains, plains, weather and animals with which he is daily surrounded.

He was introduced to haiku in 2002 by fellow haijin and long-time friend Darrell Byrd, and although he has contributed his work to many online haiku lists, he has not yet been published in print.

Mike's favorite haiku poets are those who have inspired him over the years, including Naia, Cindy Tebo, Tom Clausen, George Swede, Timothy Russell, Earl Keener and Johannes Manjrekar.

1. Why do you write haiku?

I write haiku for the sheer pleasure of it. I absolutely love reading good haiku and I've saved quite a long list of my favorites from other poets. Writing my own haiku, however, really good ones, is not easy for me. Juxtaposition and the images that can (and should) spring unspoken from between the lines is the key to the whole thing (for me anyway). It's so hard to do and so delightful when it happens.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I enjoy almost all forms of poetry, but haiku is my favorite and the only form I've seriously attempted to write myself.

3. Of the many haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three?

I've gone through the several hundred I've written over the years, and tentatively ear-marked 50 or so I was really pleased with thinking that I would then pare down that group to "my three favorites". I'm delighted and surprised to report that it was impossible to do. There are many that I found to be my favorites, but here are three that are close to my heart and which I feel "do what they're supposed to do" as haiku.

a darker blue
in the hoofprints

uprooted iris
the muddy puppy
wags its body

spring snow
the warm spot where
the dental nurse leans

And here are my three favorite senyru . . .

when I used to smoke

Jack Daniels
just a splash
at the river's edge

rustling leaves
just a glimpse
of her thigh

Peggy Heinrich will be our Haiku - Three Questions guest next week.