Sunday, September 28, 2008

Stephen Addiss - Three Questions

Stephen Addiss is the author of many books on East Asian art and culture, including A Haiku Menagerie, Haiku Garden, Haiku People, Haiku Landscapes, Haiku Humor, Haiga: Takebe Socho and the Haiku-Painting Tradition, The Art of Zen, and Zen Sourcebook. A painter and calligrapher whose works have been frequently exhibited and published, he teaches at the University of Richmond and co-edits South by Southeast: Haiku and Haiku Arts Journal.

1. Why do you write haiku?

I had been composing them occasionally for some years, but what got me fully involved was translating haiku for various book and catalogue projects relating to Japanese art. When I was in college more than 50 years ago, a poetry teacher named Edwin Honig told us that the great ages of poetry in English were also great ages of translation, and I believe that working tenaciously to get the meaning, sound, and rhythm across in another language, no matter how ultimately impossible, is a great way to develop one's own poetic sensibility and skills. My own haiku are the source and also the result of focusing my attention.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I used to enjoy and write sonnets, and now I occasionally work on tanka and linked verse, but aside from haiku my major interest has been 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)

    birthday snow—
stepping into holes
    left by the postman

South by Southeast 7/1, A Glimpse of Red, Frogpond 23/2

  the fisherman
  a fisherman

HSA Newsletter 12/1

  old pond paved over
into a parking lot—
  one frog still singing

Daily Yomiuri 2/5/96, Mainichi Shinbun, Haiku People

Next week, Mike Farley.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lynne Rees - Three Questions

Lynne Rees is a poet, novelist and short fiction writer who turned to haiku writing in 2006. Her work has been published in a number of anthologies and print and on-line journals, she's currently the haibun editor at Simply Haiku, and will be joint editor of The Biennial British Haiku Society Haibun Anthology in 2009. Lynne's website is and selected published haiku and haibun can be found at She lives in Antibes, in the South of France.

1. Why do you write haiku?

Most of the time I feel as if I'm 'trying' to write haiku. Some succeed, but most of them don't because they don't feel fresh enough, or they don't surprise me in any way so I doubt they'll matter to anyone else. But I love the process of 'making' them whatever the result, the feeling that I'm learning something about observation, sincerity, language and form.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I published a collection of free-verse before starting to write haiku, and I still write the occasional free verse poem, but mostly I write haibun now, though I've also written some tanka, and experimented at length with rengay with the poet Harriot West, an experience we both felt we learned a lot from.

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

I've chosen the following three (two of which dip into senryu territory) because I can still feel the truth of them now, some time after their making. They're also all connected in some way to Wales, where I was born, and my family, so of course that adds to why I feel fondly about them

sunlit garden
when did my father grow
an old man's neck?

Frogpond – Fall 2006

all this green forgiving the rain

he stretches his legs into
all this space

Blithe Spirit 16/3

Stephen Addiss will be our Haiku - Three Questions guest next week.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

bottle rockets new website

This just in from Stanford M. Forrester:

bottle rockets press has a new website:! The new site is very user-friendly and now it is much easier to order books and magazines on-line. (Please no longer use the old URL.) The website will also feature a bookstore where you can find new, used and rare haiku and haiku-related books. The new e-mail is: Come visit the new website & help us celebrate our 10th year in print!

bottle rockets press
P.O. Box 189
Windsor, CT 06095

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WHC-German Autumn Issue 2008

Angelika Wienert would like to invite everyone to visit the WHC-German Autumn Issue 2008

You'll find 50 haiku and senryu in German and English.

37 haiku poets from all parts of Germany, from Austria and Switzerland German haiku poets who live in the U.S.A., in Yemen and Japan.

Here are a couple of poems from the autumn issue:

verlassener Hof –
rot leuchten die Äpfel
im Gras

abandoned farm –
red apples glowing
in the grass

(Silvia Kempen)

vor sechzig Jahren...
in die Buche gekerbt
ein Name, ein Kreuz

sixty years ago...
carved in the beech tree
a name, a cross

(Helga Stania)

 Happy reading!


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Merrill Ann Gonzales - Three Questions

Merrill Ann Gonzales is our Haiku - Three Questions guest this week. She writes:

"My parents met in Grand Central Art School and Art Student's League studying under Arshele Gorky. My great grandmother taught art in Maine and I was married to the fine artist the late John L. Gonzales. I've worked in oil, watercolor, pen and ink, sumie, and have contributed drawings and cover designs for poetry magazines for more years than I care to remember (although I love remembering the editors!). I've published poetry, haiku, tanka, haiga and I've explored tanga. I created snowbird press on groundhog day in the snowy year of 2004/5.

"As you can see, art and poetry have almost been like breathing and waking and sleeping to me. It isn't something I do, it's something I exist in. It's my way of being part of the human race...where people are truly human."

1. Why do you write haiku?

I can't really say I write haiku, sometimes I think the haiku writes me. A haiku comes up from the deep as I'm doing other things and tells me something. Many times it will come while I'm drawing or painting and will enlighten the experience I'm trying to capture.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

Haiga and tanga are extremely gratifying to me. It's as if my whole being, emotional and physical, is joined as the two (the verse and the drawing) come together. I also write tanka. When I was a child I learned so much from ancient Chinese drawings and the mystery they revealed. I think Ikkoku Santo helped to explore some of those mysteries with new light.

I've had a renku and a renga published in the past, but the artistry of the poets I was working with, Alan Summers and John Stevenson, deserve all the credit for their merits. It was an extreme honor to have written with such accomplished poets. And I have also written western poetry in free verse which has been published over the years.

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

ocean breezes —
an awareness comes
in a thousand voices

originally published in REEDS: Contemporary Haiga 2005

new moon —
the path emerges
from darkness

originally published in HSA 2007 MEMBERS' ANTHOLOGY

stone in my pocket —
the brook cuts deeper
into the mountain

originally published as 2006 Harold G. Henderson Award Honorable Mention

These three haiku were seminal in my life with profound implications for my comprehension of the world I live in.

I would be most honored to be included with so many of the haiku poets who have given me so much throughout the years. As I look down the list of poets I see friend after friend. A spirit of unity that binds and enriches us. Thanks for a new way to join in the spirit of haiku.

In the river flow...I remain...yours, Merrill Ann Gonzales

Lynne Rees shares her response to three questions with us next week.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cor van den Heuvel's Baseball Haiku Talk now on video (free)

This just in from Cor van den Heuvel:

Dear HSA Member,

In case you've not heard, my talk and reading from Baseball Haiku given at the Chautauqua Institute in June with Al Pizzarelli and Ed Markowski is now on line as a video at

When you get the home page, just click Culture, then click Sports and you will get a Sports features page with the talk as one of the spotlighted features. You can then click on to the video for highlights or for the complete talk and readings.

This is an important website, famous people from all fields are presented giving talks, interviews, or readings in a variety of impressive venues. (fora is the plural of forum). The talks are rated as to how many times they've been played (viewed), so please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested.

The video is now rated fifth among all the sports talks. If we can get it higher this could encourage interest in haiku and hopefully make publishers more receptive to our books.

This is not the same talk as the one I give on the Haiku North America 2007 Winston-Salem video. (That one includes readings by nine of the poets from Baseball Haiku.)

Cor van den Heuvel

Folks, we may all benefit from Cor's request. Please support Cor and the other poets in Baseball Haiku by visiting and watching the video.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Basho Haiku Challenge

Don Wentworth over at Issa's Untidy Hut has created The Basho Haiku Challenge contest.

Here's a snippet:

"So, here's the deal: for the next four weeks, send along up to 5 haiku to lilliput review at gmail dot com (spelled out to fend off pesky bots) and the best haiku wins the review copy of Basho: The Complete Haiku. Minimally, I will need your name and email to contact you with the results. In the subject line of your email, please put "Basho Haiku Challenge" so I can easily differentiate it from the scads of other things that come my way. The final date for submissions will be October 2nd and the winner will be announced in either the October 9th or October 16th posting. My definition of haiku is about as liberal as you can get: I follow no one particular method, school or theory and there is no seasonal requirement. Your haiku can be 1, 2, or 3 lines (over 5 would be a bit much, folks, but I will keep an open mind for experimenters). The one restriction would be that it be in the spirit of haiku (I've always liked the definition of English haiku as lasting the length of one breath, in and out and pause, but that's just me - and, oh yeah, I'm the judge, but, again, it's the spirit of the thing that counts) and that the haiku be previously unpublished in either paper or electronic form (ok, that's two requirements)."

Please visit Don's blog post for more information.

Have fun and good luck!

BTW, I'm currently reading Basho: The Complete Haiku. I'll post my review of this book soon.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Willow Songs sampling

I've received a couple of request from readers who would like to hear a track from Fleur-de-Lisa's Willow Songs CD.

Fleur-de-Lisa's rendition of the haiku below (first published in Beneath the Willow Tree) can be heard by clicking on this link:

reading Shiki
in the morning dark
a rabbit's death-cry

--Dave Russo

I hope you enjoy this unique way of presenting haiku. There are many more beautiful songs on the CD.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Angelee Deodhar - Three Questions

Angelee Deodhar is a poet, translator, and artist from India. A member of several haiku groups worldwide, her haiku and haiga have been published internationally in various books, journals and on the Internet. She has been an invited speaker at several international conferences. She has made the promotion of haiku and its related forms throughout the world her life's work. She has translated five books from English to Hindi as resource books for haijin in India.

Angelee is an eye surgeon, and has also been published in medical magazines. She lives in Chandigarh with her physician husband, her son and daughter-in-law and a cocker spaniel.

1.Why do you write haiku?

For me writing haiku is a way of life, of living in the now. I observe that each day my own nature unfolds in response to the changing seasons. I try to capture something each day, the essence of that day in a haiku. It helps me to simplify my life and live more fully and peacefully.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I enjoy all forms of poetry, but find shorter forms like the tanka, and the haibun are more attractive now.

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

pail in hand
I trace the muddy path
of childhood mushrooms

Haiku World, An International Poetry Almanac, William J. Higginson, Kodansha International 1996.

harvest moon
scooping it out of the lake
the rustle of leaves

Honorable Mention,

rumors of war
up into a darkening sky
- a child's newsprint kite

Third Prize, The Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Award for 2003

Merrill Gonzales will be our Haiku - Three Questions guest next week.

Willow Songs

A new CD by the a cappella group, Fleur-de-Lisa, is available. The CD entitled Willow Songs contains 27 songs based on haiku by members of the North Carolina Haiku Society. Perhaps we are witnessing an exciting new way of blending art forms (think haibun or haiga).

The group is currently working on songs based on Japanese death poems and on haiku by Roberta Beary.

For more information about this fabulous new CD, check out Dave Russo's North Carolina Haiku Society blog post.