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.