Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Poets and Poems - Pris Campbell

Jump Start

You jump-started my heart.
It beats a forgotten rhythm.
Resurrected are old passions,
hid behind that fake indifference
I wore like a favorite dress.
Tossed are blindfolds I hastily tied
whenever couples kissed.

Aging now, my past
slid over the mountaintop,
a new sun has risen.
I imagine you inside me,
bodies creating our own
1001 nights as we shed
any veils left between us.

Pris Campbell

If you would like to participate in this series, send a photo of yourself composing a poem or writing or a picture of a location where you enjoy writing, along with one of your poems (the type/genre of poem doesn't matter). This series will allow us to see the various locations that inspire us or where we go to write.

Wednesday updates - 4/28/2010

Full Bloom Renga

Paul Conneally sent this:

Our Web Renga for the Full Bloom Renga will run over the two weeks between our live renga session at Cotehele (Sunday 25th April) to Saturday 9th May when we perform the second live renga at Acorn Bank in Cumbria. We are following the wave of blossom from South to North through England.

We welcome submissions for the web renga from anywhere in the world.

Interactive Full Bloom renga page:

I am master poet at the live renga sessions with 3 guest masters selecting the web renga submissions starting with Sheila Windsor, then Alec Finlay and finaly Martin Lucas.

Full Bloom Renga was devised by Anne-Marie Culhane with Jo Salter, Paul Conneally and Alec finlay

All that's best,


An Invitation to Submit Haiku:

The HSA Members’ Anthology 2010

In 2010, for the 17th consecutive year, the Haiku Society of America (HSA) will publish a members’ anthology. Members are cordially invited to participate! (If you’re not a member, please visit for information about joining.)

This is a wonderful opportunity to examine the work of a cross-section of HSA poets, who are among the best writers of haiku and senryu in the English language, and to see your work in print. The HSA members’ anthology also makes a great gift for family and friends—please consider ordering several copies and give the gift of haiku!

The 2010 HSA members’ anthology will be edited by Scott Mason.


This year’s anthology will have a theme—BIODIVERSITY—in keeping with the United Nations’ declaration of 2010 as the “International Year of Biodiversity.” Each haiku or senryu must name a particular species of plant or animal (besides humans). Here are two examples by this year’s anthology editor, one apiece with a specific plant and animal reference:

wind-carved sand . . .
I crumble a bayberry leaf
to bring her back

(The Heron’s Nest, Volume X, Number 3, September, 2008) 

rock wallabies return
to their Dreaming

(Paper Wasp Jack Stamm Haiku Contest, 2007) 

All terrestrial, aquatic and airborne species qualify. The more “diverse,” the better!


Each member of the Haiku Society of America may submit up to five haiku or senryu with a specific plant or animal reference. At least one—and possibly more—will be selected for inclusion.

All submissions must be sent by postal mail (no e-mail submissions). Send up to five haiku or senryu (no tanka, haibun, haiga, etc.). Please put all five haiku/senryu on one sheet with your name, address, and e-mail address (if any) at the top.

New work is preferred, but previously published haiku or senryu are acceptable. If a submitted poem has been published—or has appeared in the general results notification for any contest—please provide the type of information shown with the two sample poems above. You will be notified by e-mail which of your haiku or senryu has/have been selected. If you have no e-mail address but wish to be notified, please include an SASE (non-US residents should include an SAE and an IRC if you do not provide an e-mail address).

Deadline: IN HAND by June 30, 2010. Notifications will be sent by July 31, 2010.


The number of copies printed will be determined by the number of copies advance-ordered. Thus, we strongly suggest that you order your copies when you submit your haiku or senryu. The cost is US$14.00 per copy postpaid in North America (add US$3.00 postage elsewhere). Remit in US-dollar checks made out to “Haiku Society of America” or cash.


* One page with name, address, and e-mail address (if any) at the top.
* Up to five haiku/senryu, each naming a specific plant or animal (besides humans).
* Previous publication information where applicable.
* Number of copies of the anthology being ordered, along with your payment (ordering a copy is not required for inclusion, however).
* SASE to receive selection information
* All mailed to:

Scott Mason
P.O. Box 682
Mount Kisco, NY 10549 USA


If these instructions are not clear, or if you have other questions, contact Scott Mason by e-mail at or at the post office box address above.


In the second half of May 2010 the first issue of the bilingual (Dutch/English) haiku journal Whirligig will be published.


With Whirligig it is our intention to exchange haiku between the Dutch language area and the rest of the world. This will work in two ways:

* Through English translations of original Dutch-language haiku, interested people elsewhere will become acquainted with haiku written in the Netherlands and Flanders.

* Through Dutch translations of haiku originally written in other languages, interested people in the Netherlands and Flanders will become acquainted with haiku written in these other languages. (If the original language is not English, the original version may also be presented in addition to an English and a Dutch translation.)

The name

* Whirligig is the English name for the small water beetle Gyrinus natans, the Dutch name of which is schrijvertje or schrijverke (literally: ‘little writer’).

Practical details

* Whirligig will be published twice a year: in May and November.

* The scope will be about 60 pages per issue, the size being A5 (15 x 21 cm). Every volume will be produced as a book, including a title on the spine. The cover will be in full color.

* The annual subscription rate, including postage, will be:

For subscribers in the Netherlands: € 17,50

For subscribers elsewhere in Europe: € 21,50 (GB £19,00) (standard mail)

For subscribers outside of Europe: € 26,00 (US $ 35,00)

* The price per single copy, including postage, will be:

Within the Netherlands: € 9,50

Elsewhere within Europe: € 11,50 (GB £10,00) (standard mail)

Outside of Europe: € 15,00 (US $ 20,00)

* Payments can be made either by bank (Netherlands and Euro countries), through PayPal or in cash (all other countries). Further details will be sent along with the first issue.

Compilation and editing

* The content will consist mainly of haiku (including senryu) and short haibun. In addition, new publications will be noted. No, or almost no, essays or reflective texts will be included.

* In compiling Whirligig both old and new material will be used. Texts therefore will be drawn from earlier publications, while new and unpublished poems will also be included.

* To obtain as yet unpublished work the editor(s) will actively contact haiku poets.

* In compiling the journal and in translating the poems, editor Max Verhart has obtained the assistance of Klaus-Dieter Wirth (Germany), Norman Darlington (Ireland) and Marlène Buitelaar (Netherlands), all of whom have an above standard command of Dutch and English, besides which several other languages are covered by this team.


* Unsolicited work may be submitted for publication, to be considered by the editor(s). However, no correspondence will be entered into concerning such submissions.

* It is not necessary to be a subscriber to submit material. However, when unsolicited work by a non-subscriber is published, the author will be expected to buy at least one copy of the issue in which it appears.

Submissions and subscriptions to be sent to:

By email:

By snailmail:

p.a. Max Verhart

Meester Spoermekerlaan 30

NL-5237 JZ Den Bosch


It’s possible to subscribe from this moment on!

With the subscription please add the postal address where Whirligig should be sent.

Forwarding this mail to other potentially interested parties is highly appreciated.

Kind regards,

Max Verhart

Monday, April 26, 2010

Thomas Heffernan - Three Questions

Thomas Heffernan has been making haiku since the mid-1980s in Okinawa where he co-founded the bilingual haiku magazine Plover/Chidori. His English-language haiku have received a number of Mainichi awards and also Itoen and JAL (Japan Air Lines) prizes; he was awarded the 2006 Kusamakura Grand Prize for haiku. He has published ten books and chapbooks. His The Liam Poems about an ancestral kinsman, the Irish-language Jacobite poet William Heffernan the Blind (as W.B. Yeats called Liam Dall O’hIfearnain), received the 1982 Roanoke-Chowan Prize.

[Photo of Thomas Heffernan and Roberta Beary by Curtis Dunlap]

1) Why do you write haiku?

To put into words traces of things I wonder at… to present what otherwise would be past.

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

Tanka. Ghazals. Sonnets: some are available on the Ploughshares website; others, here and there in my books.

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

Some haiku of mine, not necessarily favorites or even representative.

Such a being as this recalls the name of our Okinawan haiku magazine:

a one-legged plover
standing in the empty lot...

Mainichi Daily News, “Haiku Column,” March 9, 1991

even after
the operation
the midnight tomcat

International Herald Tribune/Asahi, July 24, 2002

shop window
reflecting the other side
of the street

Frogpond, Spring/Summer, 2007

now and then
night air moves
the reed curtain

Included in a haibun in Christmas Gifts in South Japan. Laurinburg, NC: St Andrews Press, 2003, 43.

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 Tom answered. You must be a published poet to participate.

Monday updates - 4/26/2010

Raffael de Gruttola sent the wonderful reading below. He writes:

This is the piece that Judson Evans, Karen Klein, and I cross-adapted from Katherine Snodgrass' one act play called HAIKU. Katherine is the Director of the Boston Playwright's Theatre at Boston University. We took the dialogue of the play and adapted it as a renku for performance purposes. It was presented at the Mass Poetry Festival last year in October and was videotaped for the local Lowell TV Outlet. Katherine's play won the 1988 Heideman Award-Winning One-Act Play in the US.


Sculling Blackbirds from Eric Sack on Vimeo.

Carole Macrury sent this reminder:

The 11th Tanka Society of America’s International Competition Call for Submissions

Deadline: Postmark date of May 10, 2010.

Eligibility: Open to all, members and non-members alike, except TSA officers and judges.

Regulations: Any number of tanka may be submitted. Entries must be original, in English, unpublished, and not submitted for publication or to any other contest.

Entry Fee: $1.00 per tanka, U.S. funds only. Please make checks/money orders payable to the "Tanka Society of America."

Submissions: Submit each tanka on three separate 3 x 5 inch cards, two with the tanka only (for anonymous judging), the third with the tanka and the author's name and address in the upper left-hand corner. Type or print neatly please.

Submit entries and fees to: Carole MacRury, 1636 Edwards Drive, Point Roberts, WA 98281-8511 USA

Awards: First prize: $100; Second Prize: $50; Third Prize: $25. Amount of prizes may be reduced if an insufficient number of entries are received. Winning poems will be published in Ribbons, the Tanka Society of America journal.

Adjudication: The name(s) of the judge(s) will be announced after the contest.

Rights: All rights revert to the authors after publication.

Correspondence: Unfortunately, entries cannot be returned. Please send a business size SASE for answers to queries or for a list of winning entries. For foreign entries, send a self-addressed envelope and one international reply coupon.

Saša Važic' sent this update:

The 14th annual Mainichi Haiku Contest.

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Yuki Teikei Haiku Society
Annual Kiyoshi & Kiyoko Tokutomi Memorial Haiku Contest

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Apokalipsa magazine is issuing a call for


If a haiku is always derived from simplicity, brevity, and the use of least words possible – without redundancy, which express the whole dimensionality of a haiku moment, which is the starting point and goal of the haiku masters’ creativity, interpreting a comic we can speak about experimentation with time, i.e., moment. A haiku comic is a multifaceted experiment that incorporates various interpretations of a personal experience in form of a “frozen” moment – a quick sketch or illustration, an “explained” moment in form of banner short stories, which occasionally flirt with animation approaches, and one- or more-page form, which visualises a certain haiku or creates an atmosphere that forms a basis for understanding a certain moment, message or thought within its time frame.

Your haiku comics will be published in the September 2010 issue of Apokalipsa magazine and in its special volume Haiku comic 6 edited by Boris Bac'ic'. A special comic exhibition and projection within the project Ljubljana 2010 – World Book Capital, and Pecs 2010 –European Capital of Culture, is also planned. The authors will be notified about the upcoming events and will receive the publication by regular mail. Please send the contributions until 1 June 2010 to the following address: REVIJA APOKALIPSA, UI. Lili Novy 25, 1000 Ljubljana, marked Haiku comic, or via e-mail (in tif or jpg format, 600dpi BW or 300dpi GRAYSCALE) to the following address:
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Saša also needs your help:

Sasa Vazic, editor of the bilingual Haiku Reality/stvarnost, would like to kindly ask poets to resubmit their work to her email The fact is her hard disc burned up, so she has lost all emails with submissions.

Haiku Reality is open for submission to all other authors as well.

This just in from M. Kei:

Atlas Poetica Announces New Special Features: Romanian Tanka Poets

24 April 2010 — Perryville, Maryland, USA

Atlas Poetica : A Journal of Poetry of Place in Contemporary Tanka is proud to reveal the new ‘Special Features’ section of its completely redesigned website. The new website, designed by Alex von Vaupel, Technical Director for Atlas Poetica, hosts information about the journal, submission guidelines, ordering information, sample issues, and now the new Special Features section. It is located at .

Atlas Poetica is an international tanka journal that publishes tanka literature in many languages. However, it can be difficult for readers and poets to find venues to enjoy tanka featuring different languages and cultures. Therefore, Atlas Poetica has established the Special Features section to focus on different aspects of the international tanka community.

The first Special Feature is ‘25 Romanian Tanka Poets’ edited by Magdalena Dale and Vasile Moldovan, with an Introduction by Moldovan and translations by Dale and others. The Introduction surveys the history of tanka in Romania from 1878 to the present, and highlights some of the accomplishments of Romanian tanka poets at home and around the world.

The Introduction is followed by twenty-five tanka in the original Romanian accompanied by English translation. Some of the poets featured are well-known to the international tanka community, but other poets are being translated into English for the first time. ‘25 Romanian Tanka Poets’ is a beguiling snapshot of tanka in Romania and provides citations for readers interested in reading more.

More Special Features will be coming soon, including ‘25 Canadian Tanka Poets in French and English,’ edited by Aurora Antonovic and translated by Huguette Ducharme and Mike Montreuil. It is slated to appear the first week of May. It will be followed by ‘25 New Zealand Tanka Poets,’ edited by Patricia Prime. It will appear in the first week of June.

A fourth Special Feature, ‘25 Poems on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Themes’ is in the planning stages. It is being edited by Alex von Vaupel. Queries about the LGBT Special Feature can be sent to with a subject line of “LGBT tanka feature”.

Anyone interested in being a Guest Editor for a Special Feature at the Atlas Poetica website will find guidelines on Special Features home page, below the Atlas butterfly that is the symbol of the journal. Anyone interested in being a Guest Editor should familiarize themselves with the project by reading the Special Features section and also a sample issue of the journal archived on the site. Atlas Poetica’s Special Features are published on an irregular schedule.

About Keibooks:

Keibooks is a micropress located in Perryville, Maryland, USA, founded by poet and tall ship sailor, M. Kei. Keibooks publishes select projects reflecting his interest in tanka poetry and the sea. Using print-on-demand technology, Keibooks is able to publish high quality literature in attractive, affordable editions. Keibooks is home to Atlas Poetica : A Journal of Poetry of Place in Contemporary Tanka, and previously published Fire Pearls : Short Masterpieces of the Human Heart, a classic anthology of tanka love poems, as well as several other titles. For more information, visit: <>.

M. Kei, publisher and editor
P O Box 1118, Elkton, MD, 21922-1118, USA
Email: Keibooks @

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Poets and Poems - Michael Dylan Welch

Flowers on the Roof of Hell

in this world
we walk on the roof of hell
gazing at flowers
                —Issa (1763–1828)

Today Issa came over for dinner.
Nothing fancy, just Thai take-out from the place down the road.
He came on foot, carrying a satchel.
I welcomed him at the door, and he removed his sandals.
The low evening sun sparkled
through the tall glass of water I gave him.
He admired it before he drank it in one go.
I showed him to the living room, where he sat on the couch,
almost delicately. Then, as if conscious
of his bare feet, he curled them up under himself.

We talked of poetry all through dinner,
stray noodles landing on the plain wooden table as we ate.
We talked of favourite poets and poems,
and the challenge of writing freshly about old subjects.
We talked of writing one’s joy in a fiercely crushed world,
of flowers on the roof of hell.

When he told me it was time for him to go,
I asked if I could give him a ride
but he declined, as I knew he would.
He had a long way to travel,
but held a finger to his lips and gently shook his smile.
Then Issa took his sandals in hand
and padded off into the dark.

I opened the satchel he left behind.
Inside it bloomed white asters.

Michael Dylan Welch

If you would like to participate in this series, send a photo of yourself composing a poem or writing or a picture of a location where you enjoy writing, along with one of your poems (the type/genre of poem doesn't matter). This series will allow us to see the various locations that inspire us or where we go to write.

Wednesday updates - 4/21/2010

Just a quick reminder about the 31st annual Haiku Holiday on Saturday, April 24th. I plan to attend. If you're in the neighborhood, please drop by. You'll find a friendly group of poets there, willing to share their knowledge and poems with you.

Richard Krawiec sent this update:

Fleur de Lisa wins Original Song competition.

This past Saturday Fleur de Lisa won the Original Song competition at the Mid Atlantic Regional Finals of the Harmony Sweepstakes National Competition for a cappella groups. The winning song, "Rainy Season" was written by Sarah Shunk, based on a haiku by Roberta Beary.

Although Fleur de Lisa didn't win the overall competition, the judges and audience were impressed with all six original songs they performed,which included three written to haiku by Beary, one based on a haiku by Richard Krawiec, another written to Jaki Shelton Green's free verse poem, and one original song written by Sarah. In addition to the Original Song winner, the audience favorite from their set was Slicing, also based on a poem by Beary.

Fleur de Lisa'a new CD, The Unworn Necklace, features songs written to a variety of poetic forms, including haiku by Basho and Issa, a relationship suite written to a series of haiku by Roberta Beary, and longer poems written by Jaki Shelton Green, former NC Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer, and Wendell Berry. You can hear samples at their website(link below). "The Sound of the Name' is from their relationship suite. 'Fireflies' combines Japanese Death poems written by Chine and Kagai.

Lenard D. Moore forwarded this news to me:

The Jerry Kilbride Memorial 2010 English-Language Haibun Contest

Sponsor:  Central Valley Haiku Club

Deadline:  In hand by October 1, 2010

Submissions:  All entries must be unpublished, not under consideration elsewhere, and in English.  No limit to the number or length of any submissions.  Submit three copies of each haibun, two (2) copies without author information attached for anonymous judging, one (1) copy with author’s name, address, phone number and e-mail address for notification purposes.  A first prize of $100 and a second prize of $50 will be awarded.  Honorable mention certificates also will be given.  Winning entries will be published  in an upcoming CVHC chapbook and  will be available at the CVHC website..  The entry fee $5 (US) per haibun should be paid by check and made out to:  Mark Hollingsworth (CVHC Treasurer).

Eligibility:  Open to the public; CVHC officers are not eligible.

Correspondence:  No entries will be returned.  Send business-sized SASE for a list of the winning entries.  Please note that entries without SASE, insufficient postage, or that fail to adhere to contest rules will be disqualified.

Judges:  Will not be disclosed until the contest winner has been decided.

Send entries to:  Yvonne Cabalona, 709 Auburn Street, Modesto, CA  95350-6079.

Penny Harter will read at the 2010 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. The festival will take place October 7-10, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey.

More information is available on the festival web site:

Saša Važic' sent this update:

The Haiku Now! Contest 2010 winners have been announced:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ellen Olinger - Three Questions

Ellen Olinger has been writing poetry since high school. She lives with her husband, Karl, by Lake Michigan. She recently began a poetry blog and welcomes you to visit when you have a moment: Poems from Oostburg, WI, USA.

Ellen's poems have been published in a wide variety of journals. Examples include Hermitage, Hummingbird, LYNX, Modern Haiku, Parnassus Literary Review, and SMILE (non-profit bold large print publication).

1) Why do you write haiku?

By God's grace, I was able to give 20 years to the field of special education and contributed in many ways. During this time, I also discovered the small poetry presses. Then my life took a dramatic turn, as a chronic illness resulted in major surgery. My 40th birthday was in the hospital (1993). I found during recovery that while the content of many things I was reading was helpful, I could not absorb the material. This was quite an adjustment, as I was used to reading and writing academic articles in my field. A few collaborative pieces have survived the test of time.

My mother, Enola Borgh, was an English professor. She saved the magazines where my poems appeared and wrote the page numbers on the covers. She also suggested I learn a form, and I found haiku. Then during my recovery, a few years later, I found that the short forms, including haiku, were writing I could read. I also began ordering books and loved their simplicity of design. Not too much on the page, room to breathe, a way to learn something new: exactly the kind of thinking I was trained to do in special education.

Life came full circle and grew in a new way, and I then had the privilege of helping with my mother's care.

The poets I met through the short forms continue to be so kind. Mail is a special blessing.

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I grew up in a Lutheran church and loved the liturgy, hymns, Bible readings, and sermons. While I do not belong to a denomination now--my husband and I have lived in different places and have offered our gifts to different ministries--poetry began in church. "In the beginning was the Word..." (John 1).

Also, I have been reading the Psalms aloud in various English translations since my recovery. This comforted me and helped me get writing again too.

I try to read widely and stretch to read different forms and authors with various perspectives on life. I read far more than I write. Poetry helps me feel whole.

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

rarely at your grave--
    geranium blooms freely
        on your workshop stool

Modern Haiku, Vol. XXVII, NO. 3. Fall 1996.

at the local store...
Christmas at Nanna's

cross-stitch from the
grandmother I didn't meet:
"Put the coffee on"

Parnassus Literary Journal, Vol. 28, NR. 3. Fall/Winter 2004.

[Photo of Ellen by Karl Olinger.]

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 Ellen answered. You must be a published poet to participate.

Several publication and contest updates

Carolyn Hall sent this update:

The Spring issue of Acorn is hot off the presses. For ordering information and sample poems from this issue, please go to the Acorn website at

Dietmar Tauchner sent this:

Dear Haiku-Friends,

Chrysanthemum 7 is now online and ready to be viewed at:

This just in from Carolyn Thomas:

The Saigyo Awards for Tanka 2010

In hand August 1, 2010

$100; $50; $25. Honorable Mentions. Winners living outside the US will receive subscriptions to tanka journals in place of cash prizes.

Open to everyone.

Entry Fee:

All tanka must be the entrant’s original, unpublished work, and not under consideration by any publication or other contest.

Up to 10 tanka in English, typed (or printed legibly) on one sheet of 8 ½ by 11 paper. Submit 2 copies. Provide name and address in upper left corner of one copy only.

Send #10 (4 1/8 x 9 ½) SASE (outside US, SAE and 1 IRC) for notification of results. No entries will be returned.

Mail entries to:
Carolyn Thomas, 7866 Hogan Circle, Hemet, CA 92545 USA.

Saša Važic' sent these updates:

Kids Count for Earthday 5-7-5 Haiku Contest 2010

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International Capoliveri Haiku Contest 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dirty Laundry (Not poetry related)

I was recently reproached by a family member about my church-going. This person's assessment of me was that my life isn't or was never perfect, that I don't live the life of the standard picture perfect Christian. I reckon this family member's assessment of me is that I'm a dabburn hypocrite for living my life the way I do and then going to church on Sunday. Okay, to this person whom I love very, very much: Nope, I ain't perfect. I'm flawed. I've made mistakes and I've made my mistakes with you and I will continue to make mistakes as long as I roam this little blue planet. But I like going to church. I like the way I feel when I'm sitting there listening to a good sermon from the Good Book. I like singing the hymns. It makes me feel good about all the wrong or bad things I did during the week, primarily because I know that we all do wrong or bad things and the Christian faith is about love and forgiveness. I look at some of the people Christ chose for disciples, the conversion of Saul to Paul, and I figure that there's still hope for me. The way I see it is that church is for fine upstanding Christians and it's for sinners too, and I know that I'm more apt to fall into the category of the latter than the former.

So, say or think what you will about me. You can judge me, convict me, sentence me. I can only and will only think of good times with you. Focusing on the good times and forgetting the bad is a form of forgetfulness that I've been afflicted with since I passed the half-century mark. Life is too short to wallow in the bad.

Now, that being said, I know that this person is going through some tough times, has their own problems and was lashing out, trying to peg someone to blame. If you need someone to blame, I'm your man. Blame me. Everything that's been done to you and your current life situation is my fault. Get it out of your system and maybe we can move on, sit down, have a laugh or two and enjoy each others' company again before our time on this little blue planet expires.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Poets and Poems - Gene Murtha


Let us walk for awhile. Bring along the pick ax, spade and knapsack hanging in the shed. You will find them on your right just inside the split barn door.

Walk through the trellis in the rear garden, it is the trailhead that leads through the forest. Be careful, there are roots to your left sticking up from the grade from an old pin oak—I don't want you to spill me, well, not yet.

Follow the trail until two paths merge, then stop. Take the pick and break up the hard pan. You will find ribbons of clay and sand. Mix them together with the shovel to create loam.

Add the ashes from the velvet bag that you will find inside the sack, this will improve the soil too. If you feel inclined to say something over my remains, then, that is fine, but it is not important, since you have done enough.

It will be spring soon. Already, you can hear the chickadees.

recycle day
a washed out worm
in the rain puddle

[Originally published in contemporary haibun online]

If you would like to participate in this series, send a photo of yourself composing a poem or writing or a picture of a location where you enjoy writing, along with one of your poems (the type/genre of poem doesn't matter). This series will allow us to see the various locations that inspire us or where we go to write.

Updates: Kuniharu Shimizu, Contest, & Contest Results

Here is a message from Kuniharu Shimizu:

Collaborating with more than 250 haijin, I made more than 1000 haiga. From the stock of haiga, I am now making a series of haiga books in ebook format. The first of the series is called  "wind", and it is now available at the following URL:

The second book will be "water", and the third "fire, light"

all the best,
Kuniharu Shimizu
see haiku here

Saša Važic' sent this:

Single Island Press Haiku Contest:

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Japan-EU English Haiku Contest:

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The 2nd Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum English Haiku Contest:  

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NCSU Insect Museum Annual Hexapod Haiku Challenge (RESULTS):

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nora Wood - Three Questions

Nora Wood grew up near the Tetons in Wyoming. She is a writer and poet living in Atlanta, Georgia with her two daughters. She took up haiku-writing in 2007 as a discipline and creative outlet. Nora's poems have been published in The Heron's Nest, Frogpond, Simply Haiku, Magnapoets, contemporary haibun online, and more. She is the first runner-up for The Heron’s Nest 2009 Reader’s Choice Poet of the Year. You can find her blog at

1) Why do you write haiku?

Like many haijin, I can’t not write haiku. A few years ago, wanting to follow the dictum that to be a writer, you must write every day, I decided on blogging a daily haiku. I love Japanese culture, and it seemed like a manageable commitment. Of course, those first 5-7-5 verses were not what we’d consider haiku, but it put me on this path. I am fortunate to have had the support of experienced mentors who welcomed and guided me. Though I do not write a daily haiku any more, the years I did instilled in me the quiet awareness of haiku mind.

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I am a huge fan of Richard Wilbur’s in general, and specifically his poems that follow the traditional haiku syllabic form. He is such an artful master of any form. I have written poems in various forms, including free-verse, though my focus these days is on haiku. As I have begun experimenting with haibun, I find it another interesting and therapeutic challenge I want to explore more.

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

morning star
the newborn's fontanel
pulses softly

Frogpond 32.2 • 2009

winter sky
a skein of wild birds

my breasts

The Heron's Nest Volume XI, Number 1: March, 2009

Thank you very much for the honor of participating, Curtis, and for this invaluable service you provide the haiku community.



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 Nora answered. You must be a published poet to participate.

Issa, Renku, and Andrew Vachss news

A message from David G. Lanoue:

Dear Haiku Friends,

This May will mark the 10th year anniversary of my Haiku of Kobayashi Issa website. As part of a month-long celebration, I'd like to post your messages to Issa. These can be in the form of short notes addressed to Issa, telling him what he means to you--and, if you feel inspired, a haiku on any topic.

Along with these messages and haiku, I'm planning some other special surprises for my website in May--so be sure to stop by!

I appreciate your participation. Thanks!

David G. Lanoue

Francine Banwarth sent this reminder:

The Bernard Lionel Einbond Renku Contest deadline is quickly approaching: in-hand April 30, 2010. Contest information is posted on the HSA website:

Robert Moyer sent this:

Jetted a review link off, a mystery novel by acclaimed writer Andrew Vachss. It's a decent hard-boiled novel that dances around haiku principles.  It's rare to find a mainstream novel that deals with haiku let alone one that does so with respect and competency.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Poets and Poems - Raffael de Gruttola

pen and ink drawing

from an open window
a woman
watches the world
of butterflies
transparent waves
of sun and air
in her gaze
a certain wistfulness

the landscapes
the soil is still
deep red
on the cement walls
staid epitaphs--

from her brush
black paint
from her lips
the memories
that mix
today with yesterday
trees with trees
and an occasional song

Wednesday updates -4/7/2010

I received this wonderful message from Angelee Deodhar:

Dear Curtis,

Here's wishing you,your dear family and the readers of Tobacco Road a very Happy Easter. May you have a wonderful day.

You will be happy to know that my husband,Shridhar, is much better now and able to walk with the help of a walker. He is also able to examine his patients.We are very grateful to all our friends worldwide who have been keeping him in their prayers.

With lots of love,

white Easter lilies
along the churchyard path
-fragrance of her hair

Dave Russo sent this:

Haiku Holiday: Sat April 24

Don't miss Haiku Holiday, our biggest event of the year! I just posted the schedule. Details on our Web site.


We now have a Facebook Fan page for the NCHS. This will be a modest effort for a while, but for those of you on Facebook, become a fan!

I've just posted a gallery of the Haiku Canada 10th Anniversary Holographic Anthology from 1987.

Pamela A. Babusci sent this:

Moonbathing a journal of women's tanka is now open for submissions for Issue two. Deadline May, 1, 2010

The second issue of Moonbathing will be a larger issue including more tanka poets from around the world. You can submit up to 10 tanka for consideration.

Some premier issues of Moonbathing are still available, please contact the editor for details at:  moongate44(at)gmail(dot)com or if you have any questions or concerns.

The premier issue of Moonbathing has already had two very favorable reviews in Blithe Spirit Journal from the UK and in Kokako Journal from NZ.

Thank you for supporting Moonbathing with your tanka, your encouraging words and your subscriptions/donations. They are greatly appreciated.


Pamela A. Babusci, Editor of Moonbathing

M. Kei sent this:

Catzilla! Cat Tanka open for submissions April 1 - June 30, 2010

A reminder to poets: Catzilla! an anthology of cat tanka is now open for submissions. Submissions will close on June 30. Guidelines can be found at:

Please be sure and include 'Catzilla submission' on the subject line.

Reprints and originals may be submitted, as long as reprints are accompanied by prior publishing information. No simultaneous submissions.


M. Kei
Catzilla! Editor

M. Kei
Take Five : Best Contemporary Tanka
P O Box 1118
Elkton, MD 21922-1118
take5tanka (at) gmail (dot) com

Also from M. Kei:

If you have been planning to buy a copy of Atlas Poetica : A Journal of Poetry of Place in Contemporary Tanka (, or my new novel Pirates of the Narrow Seas (, or one of my previous titles, such as Fire Pearls : Short Masterpieces of the Human Heart or Heron Sea, Short Poems of the Chesapeake Bay, April is the month to do it!, home to Keibooks, is offering a special coupon for a discount of 10% off the cover price of one purchase. Visit and at check out, enter the code 'SHOWERS'. You may use it once during the month of April for a single purchase. Discount applies to book cover price, and does not include the cost of shipping and handling. The coupon can only be used for a single purchase, but you can buy as many books or journals as you wish in that purchase.

Happy reading!


publisher of literature for discerning readers

P O Box 1118, Elkton, MD, 21922 USA
Keibooks (at) gmail (dot) com

Haiku Reality/stvarnost has a new web address:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Gillena Cox - Three Questions

Gillena CoxGillena Cox, lives in St James, Trinidad in The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. She is a retired library assistant. Her poems have been published in several anthologies and online zines. Moments, published in 2007 by AuthorHouse, is her first solo publication. Gillena has two adult children, a daughter named Yanda and a son named Khama. She writes: "I am married but living alone."

1) Why do you write haiku?

Writing began as a fun thing to do, scribbling my thoughts on paper. Then, in the late 90s, I bought my first computer and remembered studying haiku in the '70s at the University of West Indies. Researching haiku via the Internet led to Yahoo's haiku groups and eventually to the World Haiku Club. My haiku journey had begun. . .

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I like linked verses, collaborations, the uncanny way experiences meld and mix, fall into place, bridging far away places, merging worlds oceans apart.

Presently I'm enjoying RENHAI, a form created by Vaughn Seward; there is a story behind this though: I had been enjoying the challenges of writing collaborative poems. Vaughn and I attempted to write a rengay and, for some reason, we just didn' I remember telling him in an email that this was the worst writing experience I'd ever had. We stopped writing rengay. Sometime later, I received an invitation from Vaughn to write a new collaborative form called renhai. I joined a renhai Internet group, read all the introductory papers and dove in, partnering and writing with many poets. If I remember correctly, my first partner for renhai was Shanna Baldwin-Moore. I've continued experimenting with this new form. I enjoy writing solo and collaborative renhai sets. I also enjoy reading Shakespeare's sonnets, though I haven't written many. I like haiga and I'm currently journaling in this form on my 'Lunch Break' blog.

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

I don't think I have a top three as such...or, maybe I do. I really don't know.

I remember my first haiku accepted at The Heron's Nest, a poem that is very dear to my heart. That first haiku is also on page 15 of my book 'Moments'.

a trapped bird flutters about
at church

The Heron's Nest; Volume IV, Number 4: April, 2002.

Then there's this haiku, written within a haibun entitled 'Hurricane Ivan' accepted and published at Simply Haiku in 2005.

hurricane warning
in the uncanny stillness
a hazy sunset

Simply Haiku - Spring 2005, vol 3 no 1

This haiku was the first post to my blog:

bird songs
including the rooster's crow
again dawn

'Lunch Break' Wednesday, January 18th 2006

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 Gillena answered. You must be a published poet to participate.