Monday, August 31, 2009

Two new issues - Notes From the Gean & The Heron's Nest

What better way to kick-off a new month than to have two quality poetry publications online and ready for viewing!

The September issue of Gean Tree Press's Notes From the Gean is available at Haiku, haiga, tanka, and more await the reader.

And why I'm on the subject of quality publications, be sure to read the reviews of A New Resonance 6: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku (edited by Jim Kacian & Dee Evetts) and The Onawa Poems 1999-2008 (edited by Paul MacNeil).

Expect a review of The Onawa Poems on Tobacco Road within the next couple of weeks.

A new issue of The Heron's Nest is also online at The Heron's Nest was among the first if not the first online haiku journal. It is a global literary phenomenon, publishing poets from numerous countries, the only place I know where you can read a new issue then browse through a decade of archived issues.

Happy reading!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Carole MacRury - Three Questions

Carole MacRury is a Canadian poet and photographer residing in Point Roberts, Washington, a very special place on the 49th parallel that is a haven for poets. She is affiliated with the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival and The Tanka Society of America. Her poetry is published in North American and International journals and anthologies and her photos have appeared on the covers of Ribbons and Modern Haiku. Her first book, In the Company of Crows: Haiku and Tanka Between the Tides, published by Black Cat Press, was released late 2008. This year she conducted haiku workshops for elementary and secondary students and created audio-visual slide shows for use as teaching aids.

1) Why do you write haiku?

I came to haiku through free verse and my actual journey began approximately 10 to 12 years ago, when I came upon a used haiku book titled ‘Sparrow’ from Croatia. I had no idea then, that my work would eventually be translated and published in Croatian journals and anthologies. In some respects it feels like coming full circle. The universality of haiku bridges cultures better than any other form of poetry and that has always been part of its appeal to me.

I continue to study the Japanese classics in the hopes that at least some of my small epiphanies might stand the test of time. I find writing haiku therapeutic and it has deepened my appreciation for life by making me more aware of the transience of all things. My haiku are an emotional response to things witnessed in nature and some are deep metaphors for the human condition. Sort of like the world in a dewdrop - or in my case, it’s likely to be in a bee, a leaf, or another old crow. This is what sustains me.

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I enjoy many forms of poetry, and have tried a few myself, a sonnet, or villanelle, but prefer to write free verse for the most part, although it’s not really free. Free verse has demands of its own. I like to read at venues in Vancouver, BC, including coop radio. This year I took part in our community Chamber Series and presented a fusion of poetry and music titled, “A Walk through the Seasons”. I’m always excited to find new ways to bring poetry to the people. Currently, I’m devoting more time to writing tanka and enjoying the many discussions on english-language tanka. I have a broad range of poetic tastes from Blake, to the Sufi poets, not forgetting Mary Oliver and more recently, Carole Ann Duffy’s work. I keep an ongoing file of favorite poems to read on rainy nights.

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

I could spend hours mulling over this one, so will pick a few chosen by editors. My favorites change day by day depending upon my mood. This one never fails to bring me back to the moment.

late afternoon—
the fullness
of the cow’s udder

Merit Award, WHR Fourth Annual Kukai
Haiku Canada Anthology, 2006
Snapshot Press, The Haiku Calendar, 2008

A few more of my favorites:

lilac in full bloom—
bees bumping
   into bees

Tinywords 2006-07-14
'Haiku Friends' ed. Masaharu Hirata, Osaka, Japan (2003)

death watch. . .
I freshen the water
of her bedside iris

Haiku Friends, ed. Masaharu Hirata, Osaka, Japan (2007)
“Carpe Diem”: Anthologie Canadienne du Haiku / Canadian Anthology of Haiku

I drive right past
my destination

Haiku Friends, Ed Masaharu Mirata, Osaka, Japan (2007)

Thank you for all you do for haiku, Curtis. I have enjoyed reading everyone’s response to your questions and appreciate all the news, announcements and u-tubes you share with us.


If you've been enjoying this weekly series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response (whether it be for haiku or tanka) to the three little questions that Carole answered. You must be a published poet in order to participate.

Michael L. Evans will be our guest next week.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Andrea Grillo - Three Questions

Andrea Grillo is a landscape designer, tree grower and tractor operator living and working on a nursery farm in northern NJ. Reading and writing haiku and tanka are very much a part of her everyday work and leisure.

1) Why do you write haiku?

I fell in love with haiku as a student in grammar school, lost touch until I discovered Cor van den Heuvel's The Haiku Anthology and became totally smitten with English-language haiku. After that I could not read enough. It was around the time that my father was dying and reading/writing haiku helped me deal with my grief. Haiku deepened my connection to nature on such a simple yet truthful level that it became a life-affirming daily practice. At the same time - it's also a great delight! I have a lot of fun writing and sharing my poems. Even my friends who don't know the difference between haiku and a good tattoo will come to me and say " I just had a haiku experience".

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I also enjoy tanka, haiga and (very short) free verse. I truly have a limited attention span.

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

My three favorite poems at the present time:

she asks to borrow
my hippie jeans

The Heron's Nest - Volume X, Number 3

nowhere the wren song everywhere twilight

Presence #36

earthquake the night wobbles anyway

Presence #38

Thank you Curtis for providing a wonderful forum to get to know other poets a bit more personally and my own self too.

Andrea Grillo
Randolph, NJ

If you've been enjoying this weekly series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response (whether it be for haiku or tanka) to the three little questions that Andrea answered. You must be a published poet in order to participate.

Carole MacRury will be our guest next week.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Contest/Competition News

We had a record-breaking registration week at work folks!

Now, to get caught up on a few things:

This just in from Rick Black:

Turtle Light Press is glad to announce its second bi-annual Haiku Chapbook Competition. In general, we are open to both traditional and modern-style haiku but have a particular fondness for haiku that deal with both nature and people. Please submit an original, unpublished collection or sequence of poems on a theme of your choice between 12 - 24 pages, two haiku per page maximum, postmarked by December 1, 2009. For entry fee and more details, please go to:

And from Ms. Cathy L. Walker:

The 2010 Anita Sadler Weiss Memorial Haiku Awards

Announcing the 2010 Anita Sadler Weiss Memorial Haiku Awards, sponsored by the Haiku Poets of Central Maryland and dedicated to the memory of Baltimore-based haiku poet and teacher Anita Sadler Weiss.

Deadline: IN-HAND by JANUARY 31, 2010.

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-inch x 5-inch white 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 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 6, 2010, to commemorate Anita Sadler Weiss’ birthday. 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 also will be printed 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.

And from Alan Summers:

The Full Results of the 2nd With Words International Online Haiku Competition (2009) are now up:

The Competition Report plus the Judge's Commentary are now up to read as well as the winning haiku.

Backlinks will also go up to save a certain amount of scrolling for future viewing.

There will be changes to the 3rd With Words haiku competition and we will be happy to hear about feedback.

Details as to how to contact us are on the webpage:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Haiku North America 2009 Photos

This just in from Michael Dylan Welch:

Photos from Haiku North America 2009 in Ottawa

The tenth Haiku North America just took place in Ottawa, Ontario over the long weekend of August 5 to 9, 2009. Michael Dylan Welch sought to document as much of the conference (and a few tourist activities) as he could. His photos are now available in three albums at The photos cover many of the presentations and social events, and include photos of nearly all the individual readers in the regional readings, and everyone seated at all the tables for the banquet. The highlight of these photos are of the dance that took place on a chartered boat we took up and down the Ottawa River on Saturday night after the banquet. Charlie Trumbull called this the Haiku Hop, or the Shiki Shake. Michael called it a Discku Dance. Who knew that haiku poets could let loose like this? Can any other haiku event top this? Check out the photos and add your comments to the albums. Congratulations to Terry Ann Carter, Claudia Coutu Radmore, Guy Simser, and their team of volunteers for organizing a truly excellent conference, which had more haiku poets attending than any previous HNA conference.

And if you hadn't already heard, at the conference Michael announced that the 2011 Haiku North America conference will take place at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, hosted by Randy Brooks and Francine Banwarth. Hope to see you all there!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

ayaz daryl nielsen - Three Questions

ayaz daryl nielsen is a poet/father/husband/veteran and hospice nurse - his poems have hundreds of homes worldwide, and he is editor/custodian of bear creek haiku.

1) Why do you like haiku?

In Poet's Market, bear creek haiku's listing ends with "write, create your poems - the heart, spirit, shadow, ancestors, readers, other poets, an occasional editor, etc., will benefit deeply", and this, for me, summarizes the essence of haiku. Within, around, beyond, underneath, before, and after all poetry, there is haiku - its poetic essence is within and embraces all ever-changing cultural, political and philosophical entities, past, present, future. It's an intertwined, mutually nourishing flow - within ghazals, the essence of haiku. Within haiku, the essence of ghazals -same with sonnets, triolets, you name the form, also the same with ever-emerging forms, peogles, Fibbing, sci-fi, dark fantasy - you name the form, the essence of haiku is there, and vice versa. Haiku, as with all poetic forms, is a beginning (which poets can always return to) - as Red Pine says of Basho's teachings in Narrow Road to the Interior (and I paraphrase), abide by rules, then throw them out, and wham! you are in the realms of ancients, elders and beyond to the genuine, soulful, wondrously transcendent poetic realm of you, ours - your own! Wow! Cool beans!

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

Within all cultures are versions of the one original poem of creation - recently, I have been astonished, impressed at the high quality of poetics emerging - reemerging? - from eastern European countries, also, by what is overlooked in our - in my - own back yard(s).

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

I love them all - here are three -

home, alone - dusk
     enters my living room
         forgets to leave

Lilliput Review

kestrel, hovering -
so, too,
the moment

accepted by Modern Haiku

fisherman's hat
on moonlit waves

his song, deep
within the river


thank you for your extensive time and effort on Tobacco Road.

If you've been enjoying this weekly series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response (whether it be for haiku or tanka) to the three little questions that ayaz answered. You must be a published poet in order to participate.

Andrea Grillo will be our guest next week.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Peter Newton - Three Questions

Peter Newton is a poet and stained glass artist living in Winchendon, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of The University of Michigan and Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English--where he has worked for the past seventeen summers. His poems are included in Haiku: A Poet’s Guide by Lee Gurga as well as Take Five, The Best Contemporary Tanka of 2008, edited by M.Kei, Other poems of his have appeared in the Atlanta Review, The Adirondack Review, Prairie Schooner, Modern Haiku and Modern English Tanka, among others.

1) Why do you write haiku?

To slow down the world.
To exercise my awareness.
To inhabit the quiet places I discover in my life.
To breathe in an experience.
To truly absorb it.
To break someone’s heart, if only my own.

I love the one-breath poem. The challenge. I find it’s a balancing act like running a race while carrying an egg in a teaspoon. Looks like fun, but not an easy task. The bigger challenge is to do it with a reverence for the grass, the breeze and everything around you. A light heart helps. I write haiku to learn how to write better haiku. The sculptor, Henry Moore said, “Your life’s work is that which you find impossible.” Somehow, I know I’ll spend my life attempting haiku. Trying to chronicle the perfect moments.

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

Tanka has been a favorite of late. But free-verse was my beginning. I suspect I’m also writing free-verse tanka. No matter what poems I write they all seem to be small poems. I think in parentheses, write down asides. All to end up with a nugget of truth. Most mornings I begin simply writing in my journal as a way to record the inner life. Long walks help, a good run. Staying up late to solve the world’s problems with a friend. Poetry is a way of life now. And I’m grateful for the solitude it brings. Each day includes some form of writing. My stints at Bread Loaf are a life-saver. Vermont in July—can’t beat it. There’s so much to learn. Why not return to summer school for my 22nd consecutive year. I read poems by a variety of poets. It’s a revolving list with many main-stays: Rumi, Dickinson, cummings, Kunitz, Ammons, Bishop, Huddle, Gilbert, Hirshfield, Dunn, Oliver and the myriad of unknowns I discover in a library or a journal somewhere. I am drawn to the succinct and the wry smile that says: yes, we are in this together.

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

First, I like the question—couched in a compliment. Today, I like these three still:

guzzling the fountain shimmering pigeons

        wind chimes
we gave each other

laundry room
folding together

Each of the above poems appeared in Modern Haiku.

Many thanks for this on-going, interactive conversation on poetry.


If you've been enjoying this weekly series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response (whether it be for haiku or tanka) to the three little questions that Peter answered. You must be a published poet in order to participate.

ayaz daryl nielsen will be our guest next week.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Helen Losse reading Part 3

Moonbathing: A Journal of Women's Tanka




Pamela A. Babusci

Cathy Drinkwater Better

Published by Black Cat Press

Founding Editors Pamela A. Babusci and Cathy Drinkwater Better, and Black Cat Press, are proud to announce the first all women's tanka journal: Moonbathing.

Moonbathing will publish two issues a year: Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. The journal will be small in size but huge in the quality of the tanka that is accepted and published.

Premiere Issue Tanka Contest:

For the Premier Issue (Fall/Winter 2009–10), the Editors are sponsoring a "moonbathing" tanka contest. Tanka poetesses may submit one tanka on the subject of “moonbathing”—whatever that means to you—for consideration, along with their regular submissions. The winner will be featured in the premiere issue of Moonbathing and receive a complementary copy. (Be sure to label your entry “moonbathing contest” if sending along with a regular submission.)


Moonbathing will feature only women poets. Send a maximum of five (5) tanka per submission period. Submission deadlines:

Fall/Winter Issue: In-hand Deadline: November 1st. Fall/winter or non-seasonal themes only.

Spring/Summer Issue: In-hand Deadline: May 1st. Spring/summer or non-seasonal themes only.

No previously published tanka or simultaneous submissions; no tanka that has been posted on-line, whether on a personal website/blog or on a tanka discussion group; and no publicly workshopped tanka will be considered or accepted.


Tanka poets with last names beginning: A-M:

Send your tanka IN THE BODY OF AN EMAIL to: Pamela A. Babusci: moongate44(at)gmail(dot)com. PLEASE NO ATTACHMENTS. Or mail to: Pamela A. Babusci, 150 Milford St., Apt. 13, Rochester, NY 14615 USA.

Tanka poets with last names beginning: N-Z:

Send your tanka IN THE BODY OF AN EMAIL to: Cathy Drinkwater Better: cbetter(at)juno(dot)com. PLEASE NO ATTACHMENTS. Or mail to: Cathy Drinkwater Better, 613 Okemo Drive, Eldersburg, MD 21784 USA.

Submissions will not be returned, so keep a copy of your poem(s). If sending a submission by snail-mail, please enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply. We cannot respond to submissions without SASEs.


The Editors are looking for the "crème de la crème" in contemporary English tanka being written by female poets. Moonbathing will accept one tanka per poet per issue, and one poem will be featured per page.

We are seeking to recognize, honor, and praise the unique "female voice" and perspective in tanka. The Editors are excited about being the first women editors to offer this type of literary venue to female tanka poets, and we hope all women poets will feel honored and enthusiastic as well.


Unfortunately, at this time the Editors will not be able to provide contributors’ copies.

Due to the current economic situation—as well as our shoe-string budget—we hope that all tanka poets who have their work accepted will support Moonbathing by purchasing a copy or a subscription. If we are to succeed, the magazine will need your support—and we will be most grateful for it.


Moonbathing does not assume liability for copyright infringement or failure to acknowledge previously published tanka.


Subscriptions: $10 for one year (two issues) U.S. and Canada; $5 for one copy (includes postage). Overseas: $14 U.S. dollars. Make checks—or send cash or international money orders—payable to “Cathy Walker” to: Moonbathing, Cathy Drinkwater Better [Walker], 613 Okemo Drive, Eldersburg, MD 21784 USA.

The Editors of Moonbathing are looking forward to receiving your best tanka. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail either Pamela A. Babusci (moongate44(at)gmail(dot)com) or Cathy Drinkwater Better (cbetter(at)juno(dot)com).

Respectfully submitted,

Pamela A. Babusci,

Cathy Drinkwater Better

Co-editors/Co-founders, Moonbathing

Sunday, August 2, 2009

William Cullen Jr - Three Questions

Bill Cullen published his first haiku in Modern Haiku in 1988. His poems have appeared in many of the major journals over the years as well as several of the Red Moon Anthologies and in a number of contests (Henderson, Mainichi, Mie Times among others). He lives with his wife and fellow haiku poet Brenda Gannam in Brooklyn, New York. They have two college-age sons, Emmett and Charlie.

1) Why do you write haiku?

To release images within me that yearn to be free, so maybe, someday when I die, someone will take kindness on me and release my soul from the prison of my body and mind.

Other reasons I hope I aspire to include elevating the moral imagination of my people, making a contribution to the literature of my age, and learning to be a better husband, father, and friend.

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I can’t think of a poetic form that I don’t enjoy.

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

It’s hard for me to say whether any of the haiku I've written qualify as 'wonderful', but three haiku of recent years that I have recalled are:

All Souls' Day
drop by drop by drop
yesterday's rain

Modern Haiku, 37.1, Winter Spring 2006

full moon
mist from my whisper
on her silver earring

Frogpond, 29:1, Winter 2006

a yacht on top
of a sand dune

Mainichi Daily News, March 3, 2009

If you've been enjoying this weekly series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response (whether it be for haiku or tanka) to the three little questions that Bill answered. You must be a published poet in order to participate.

Peter Newton will be our guest next week.