Across the Haikuverse, No. 28: The On Beyond Zebra Edition
Sometimes 26 letters are not enough. Dr. Seuss fans will know what I’m talking about.
Anyone who writes seriously at all, I’m guessing, is frequently frustrated by the inadequacy of language to express the full range of things there are to express in the world. There aren’t words for everything. There aren’t even combinations of words for everything, although one of the things that great writers (and sometimes even we lesser writers) do is find new combinations of words to express things that haven’t been expressed before, or that have been expressed before but are in need of refreshing.
On my journeys around the Haikuverse that’s chiefly, I believe, what I’m looking for — people saying things in ways that are new, or new to me. I read a lot, I always have, so it’s not that easy for me to find words I haven’t found before. But it happens, still, many times each month. It’s one reason to keep going. There are others, but I keep coming back to words. I think language, for me, might occupy roughly the same space in my brain that religious awe occupies in the minds of many. We are endlessly finding new things to describe and inventing new ways of describing old things, as individuals, as a species; this seems like reason enough to believe in some form of eternity. Thanks to everyone who’s given me some reason to believe this month.
— Johannes S.H. Bjerg, 2 tongues/2 tunger
It’s been a long time since we It’s already autumn here . . .
— Rafael Zabratynski, DailyHaiku, 12/21/11
うごけば、 寒い 橋本夢道
if I move, cold
— Mudo Hashimoto, trans. Fay Aoyagi, Blue Willow Haiku World
glancing back at
—Don Wentworth, Tinywords
(Also, you should read this lengthy interview with Don from Christien Gholson’s blog.)
crow watching –
the unseen tree branch suddenly
— Angie Werren, feathers
dusk at the beach
a stone and I
touch each other
— Dietmar Tauchner, International Second Prize, The 15th Mainichi Haiku Contest
fuyu-bachi no shini-dokoro naku arukikeri
a winter bee
continues to walk
without a place to die
— Kijo Murakami, trans. Fay Aoyagi, Blue Willow Haiku World
the TV ignores
— John Stevenson, ant ant ant ant ant’s blog
a scream beyond my range
— George Swede, Mann Library Daily Haiku
made to last
— Johannes S.H. Bjerg, 3ournals and frags
hour upon hour
a veil of simple snow
falling without reason
I feel an urgency
to risk everything I know
— William Sorlien, Haiku Bandit Society
trailing my hand
through the water
for a moment
— Paul Smith, Paper Moon
Another grey day has fallen as a pall on the new calendar as if what makes a difference really doesn’t. Only the ticking clock and the distant squawking of a crow or better yet, complaint, as well as the deep sigh of engines passing by tell the trudge goes on. I look on the cypress with a creeping sense of sorrow. The deep cold has darkened its twigs. Gifts piled beside it now holiday debris. A black garbage bag rests folded in the bin. I gather the cards. The wishes slide off my fingers. A bag of pebbles waits to be planted on the vase. Like wishes that might take root, I would have to water them each day. But for now
blue notes waver under the lamp
— Alegria Imperial, jornales
No, It’s Not Japanese Short-Form Poetry, But It’s My Blog And I Can Do Whatever I Want
five forty five a.m.
close to a heater
night like wind
In the movies
of the beautiful things
has led me
And this poem
— Aditya Bahl, dipping butterflies
Gene Myers, the blogger over at The Haiku Foundation, asked a bunch of poets in December what their hopes were for English-language haiku in 2012. One of my favorite answers to this question, part of which I’ve quoted below, came from Scott Metz:
“One of my hopes is that the aesthetics and techniques—the poetics—that have become traditional (classical?), and entrenched, in English-language haiku (with all its wonderful and creative misreadings, limitations, misinterpretations and ahistorical stances) continue to flourish and intensify, and deepen. With an emphasis on transparency (and directness) of language, simplicity, plainness, literalism, direct experience, season words, and ‘ordinary reality,’ a remarkable, timeless foundation has been created.
“Another one of my hopes for English-language haiku is that it will continue to diversify and evolve; that poets will continue to play (the hai in haiku) artistically (with language, modi operandi, imagery, structure, culture, media, history, literature), go where they need to go—go where they must go—and continue to question and resist. …
“I look forward to the craft and artistry and invitations in everyone’s poems: all the doors and windows left open and/or cracked, all the lights on in the attics, all the latches and locks left undone. I hope for more of all of it and thank everyone for sharing it.”
— Scott Metz, Hopes for English-Language Haiku in the New Year
Alan Pizzarelli and Donna Beaver, the team behind the haiku-podcast goodness of Haiku Chronicles, have once again teamed up with the astounding Anita Virgil to produce something amazing: a video exploration of the many dimensions of modern English-language haiga, narrated by Anita and set to music. You need to spend half an hour watching this: Haiga Gallery.
ant ant ant ant ant 12
Contact Chris Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the most recent issue of his intermittently-published and mind-altering journal, featuring the poetry of the great Jack Galmitz. [Apologies to Jack for leaving his credit off the original version of this post. All I can say is, I need new glasses.] I highly recommend the ant ant ant ant ant blog too.
The Heron’s Nest
to hold you
— Dan Schwerin, The Heron’s Nest, Dec. 2011
Amongst the usual THN goodness in the most recent issue was this haiku? senryu? which was discussed at length at the most recent meeting of (one of) the real-life haiku groups I attend, during a session on senryu led by the great Bill Pauly. The author, Dan, a wonderful person and poet, is a member of our group — he drives two hours each way to join us every month, which makes us all feel very lucky. This poem of his is so light and deft and well-constructed that it reminds me of a paper kite; I keep expecting it to lift into the air any minute.
bottle rockets #26
as if a second thought
starts to turn it
— Satoru Kanematsu
One day in December when I was feeling very gloomy Peter Newton’s new book showed up in my mail, with a cover illustrated by Kuniharu Shimizu and an interior designed (oh, and written, of course) by Peter, with the kind of attention to detail that one normally associates with the finer still-lifes of the Flemish Old Masters. Or, you know, something like that. What I’m trying to say, in my usual pretentious way, is that this book is a lot of fun to hold. And page through. And look at. And read. Plus, there aren’t enough orange books in the world.
on my ceiling
the untraceable wanderings
of an ant
someone’s words carved deep
on a tree in my mind
Photograph by Ian Britton
Across the Haikuverse, No. 23: Back to School Edition
My kindergarten teacher was worried about me because I liked to read. In those days kindergarteners were supposed to occupy themselves only with playing, and socializing, and coloring in the letters of the alphabet on worksheets just to familiarize themselves with the shapes that they would be introduced to more thoroughly in first grade. But I could already read and I was tantalized by the books on the shelves behind the teacher’s desk, which she read aloud to us before naptime. When the teacher’s back was turned I scrambled up on a stepstool and grabbed books and ran off with them to a corner to devour them before she could find me and take the books away and scold me for reading and send me back to play with dolls or something else I had no interest in. I felt like a criminal. I felt like a rebel. I felt like a five-year-old who was sick with love for stories and kept having her heart broken, day after day, by never being able to find out what the ending was.
Sometimes I dreamed the endings. Sometimes I wonder whether my own endings or the real ones were more satisfying.
first day of school —
out of time to decipher
the cicada’s drone
Haiku, Tanka, Haiga From All Over
I broke one of my own unwritten rules this edition. I usually try not to feature more than one poem per poet per edition, but I nearly went mad deciding which of the below three haiku by Johannes S.H. Bjerg I should include, so in the end I said the hell with it and decided to inflict them all on you. Please address any complaints to my alter ego, Ms. I.N. DeCision.
still air –
will a dead butterfly
become a butterfly?
stille luft –
vil en død sommerfugl
blive til en sommerfugl?
— Johannes S.H. Bjerg, 2 tongues/2 tunger
swallows leaving youshouldhavesaidsomething
svalerne forsvinder duskullehavesagtnoget
— Johannes S.H. Bjerg, 2 tongues/2 tunger
yoshino cherry tree—
it was never a question
— Johannes S. H. Bjerg, Tinywords
high heat index–
my mosquito bite
the size of a fat raindrop
— Kathy Nguyen, Origami Lotus Stones
off key crooning
in the darkness:
a neighbor braces for fall
— Gene Myers, genemyers.com
All I can do
is point and say
— Kris Lindbeck, haiku etc.
sugar crystals travelling
— Stella Pierides, Stella Pierides
eastern daylight time
(this is a wonderful haiga; please go check it out)
— Angie Werren, feathers
from the beginning —
the moon &
love note after love note
— Patricia Nelson, Moon Viewing Party, Haiku Bandit Society
hiroshima ya tamago kû toki kuchi hiraku
to eat an egg
I open my mouth
— Sanki Saito, translated by Fay Aoyagi, Blue Willow Haiku World
Fay’s Note: This haiku does not have a kigo, but it is one of 8 haiku titled ‘Famous City’ by Sanki Saito (1900-1962). Soon after an atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, Sanki visited the city. When he started to eat a boiled egg for lunch, he noticed that was the first time he opened his mouth that day. He had been speechless with what he saw.
wet rain . . .
you keep telling me things
i already know
[Modern Haiku 40.1]
— David Caruso, DavidHaiku.com
Web Wide World
I’m just going to snap a bunch of links at you real quick like a bunny with a minimum of commentary because, you know, school’s starting soon and I should be doing stuff like buying textbooks and notebooks and sharpening my pencils and polishing shiny red apples to put on the desks of all my professors on the first day so they will be favorably disposed toward me and hopefully forgive me for scribbling haiku in the margins of all my notebooks around my notes on Electronic Resource Management. Ready? Here we go.
A Brief Survey of Senryu by Women, by Hiroaki Sato
This essay, published in Modern Haiku 34.1 in spring 2003, first makes a quick stab at trying to define how senryu differs from haiku, with a note that “the senryû is expected to deal with matters of human and social nature, often in a playful, satirical, or knowing manner” but also acknowledging that the line between haiku and senryu these days can be blurry in the extreme. Most of the piece, however, is taken up by samples of modern (mainly twentieth century) senryu by Japanese women, which are absolutely fascinating — not least because many of them make no attempt to be funny at all, in fact can be quite serious, and I suspect would not be considered senryu by most American haiku poets. They are powerful, compelling poetry, however, and I keep coming back to read them over and over. They seem to me to painfully and eloquently express the difficulties and limitations of many women’s lives.
The moment it blooms with full force it’s cut
— Inoue Noboku
The snow’s falling the snow’s falling these two breasts
— Kuwano Akiko
He leaves and I put away the lonesome sound
— Saigo Kanojo
Okay, so here’s something that’s genuinely funny. One workshop I was sorry I had to miss at Haiku North America was Jessica Tremblay’s session about her well-known “Old Pond” comics based on haiku. The next best thing, though, was discovering that Jessica had drawn a series of strips about her experiences at HNA. I laughed and laughed with recognition at so many of these and if you were there, or have read my reports from the conference, I guarantee you will get at least a chuckle out of them as well.
Another HNA connection: After I saw Eve Luckring’s amazing presentation on video renku at HNA I came home and Googled her straight off because I had to know more about her work, and discovered her astounding website, filled with her photography, short films, art, and poetry, which are often combined in wildly imaginative and original ways. Please go explore, you’ll be happy you did.
A funny and fascinating article by Marlene Mountain on English haiku poetics vis-a-vis Japanese haiku poetics made the rounds of Facebook a couple of weeks ago, provoking lots of interesting discussion: The Japanese Haiku and So On, first published at Paul Conneally’s haikumania (which is worth a look around) in 2004.
re zen. whatever.
— Marlene Mountain
If you haven’t discovered the “Montage” archive at The Haiku Foundation website, you need to run right over there and check it out…for about nine months in 2009 Allan Burns put together this fascinating weekly gallery of haiku, each week featuring haiku by three different poets on a different theme. The whole thing has been turned into a book now which can be yours for a $50 donation to The Haiku Foundation, but while you’re saving up for that, you can download each week’s gallery as a PDF and enjoy yourself mightily reading some amazing poetry.
Charlotte DiGregorio is the Midwest Regional Coordinator for the Haiku Society of America, which is my region and so I get to benefit from her energy and organizational ability as she organizes so many enjoyable and successful events for us here in flyover land. She also has a blog on which she posts many interesting musings about haiku. Quite often she invites audience participation and recently she sent out an email soliciting answers to the question, “Why do you write haiku?” The answers she got back were thoughtful, often funny, usually thought-provoking, and all over the map: well worth reading. Check them out.
Roadrunner published a new issue a couple of weeks ago, which besides being, as usual, one of the most thought-provoking reads in the Haikuverse, is also graphically appealing this time around. Every ku is enclosed in a box with a background of a different color and with a different typeface, and with the author’s name left off — only to appear at the end of the issue in a box matching the color and typeface of his or her contribution(s). (Full disclosure: I have a ku in this issue, in a highly appropriate color, but I’m not gonna tell you what it is.)
I don’t usually think of myself as someone who is overly influenced by the famous “fourth line” in haiku, but I was amazed at how different an experience it was to read these poems without knowing who had written them. I had to force myself not to keep scrolling to the end to read those names. But I ended up wishing that more journals would do something similar. See how you feel.
And finally, here’s an announcement for what promises to be an exciting new online journal, A Hundred Gourds:
The editorial team of ‘A Hundred Gourds’ welcomes your submissions to our first issue, which will be published online in December, 2011. ’A Hundred Gourds’ is a new journal featuring haiku, haibun, haiga, tanka, resources (articles, commentaries, reviews and interviews) and special artwork. ’A Hundred Gourds’ is managed by its editorial team: Lorin Ford, Melinda Hipple, John MacManus, Gene Murtha and Ray Rasmussen. Ron Moss will continue to support us in his valuable role of contributing and consulting artist. We are dedicated to producing a high quality journal, and look forward to your submissions. Books for review (hard copy only) may be sent to John McManus or the haiku, tanka, haiga or haibun editor respectively.
Submissions for the first issue of ‘A Hundred Gourds’ close on September 15th, 2011. Submissions and enquires may be addressed to : Lorin Ford, Haiku Editor: email@example.com ; Melinda Hipple, Haiga Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org ; John McManus, Resources Editor: email@example.com ; Gene Murtha, Tanka Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Ray Rasmussen, Haibun Editor: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dead Tree News
Once again, lots of print, little time.
Journals: Bottle Rockets, Ribbons
I love both these journals and you should too and here are some examples of why:
From Bottle Rockets 25:
was it the dark
or the candle
— Susan Marie La Vallee
wet bike seat
must be a poem
— Lucas Stensland
here with me distant train
— John Hawk
a low stone wall
neatly topped with snow
— Bruce Ross
on the concrete path
very still with ants crawling
over my skin I did feel loved
— Joey Jenkins
And also in this issue of Bottle Rockets, you must read the wonderful anthology/essay by Michael Fessler, Remarkable Haiku, a collection of the author’s favorite haiku with trenchant commentary on what makes them so memorable for him.
From Ribbons 7:2, Summer 2011:
outside, the crickets
continue to sing,
though they would
never think of it
— Rosemary Wahtola Trommer
oh the places
rather than go
straight to the place
we’re all going
— John Stevenson
snow melt —
watching the world
— Paul Smith
Books: Beyond the Reach of My Chopsticks (Fay Aoyagi); Where I Leave Off/Waar Ik Ophoud (Jim Kacian); Penguins/Pingviner (Johannes S.H. Bjerg)
I’m slowly working my way through the stacks of haiku books I bought this summer: first at Gayle Bull’s amazing bookshop in Mineral Point, Wis., The Foundry Books, which may have the best haiku book selection in the United States and is, terrifyingly, located only an hour from my house; second at Haiku North America. I’ll start with a couple of little books (little only in the physical sense) because somehow that makes them seem less intimidating, although on the inside they are as big as any haiku book ever written.
Fay Aoyagi’s third collection of poetry, Beyond the Reach of My Chopsticks, is as thrilling as her first two, Chrysanthemum Love (2003) and In Borrowed Shoes (2006), and is even more thrilling for the fact that it includes extensive excerpts from both these books as well as a large selection of new poetry. Fay manages to employ fairly traditional haiku aesthetics — kigo, kire — in the service of extremely striking and original images and ideas, often funny and subversive.
another day without
steals my pen
he criticizes my graceless use
in the pool
she sheds everything
she wants to shed
a plum tree
in its third trimester
— Fay Aoyagi
Jim Kacian’s Where I Leave Off is both a collection of one-line haiku and an examination of the poetics of one-line haiku: When and why do they work? He briefly describes various one-line techniques (these were also the subject of the talk by Jim I attended at HNA) and gives numerous striking examples from his own work.
1. “One-line one-thought”: “Rather than a piling up of images upon the imagination, a single image is extended or elaborated into a second context, stated or implied.”
reading the time-travel novel into the next day
— Jim Kacian
2. “Sheer speed”: “The rushing of image past the imagination results in a breathless taking in of the whole…”
in this way coming to love that one
— Jim Kacian
3. “Multiple kire”: “The advantage of one-line poems is that any of several stops can be made by the reader, and a different stop each time.”
where the smoke from a chimney ends infinity
— Jim Kacian
4. And then there’s “one-bun”: “a haibun where the prose element must be contained in a single line.”
the second week
traveling by myself i cross the continental divide, and everything that once ran in one way now runs in another, down and down
on the surface of dark water my face
— Jim Kacian
When Johannes S.H. Bjerg’s (yes, him again) new chapbook, Penguins/Pingviner, appeared in our mailbox last week, there was much rejoicing in our household, since we are all both rabid penguin fans (no, not fans of rabid penguins, for goodness’ sake) and also staunch Johannes fans. So we sat around the kitchen table reading and laughing and musing philosophically. Go ahead, try it.
on the backside
of the moon
the need for bridges
of chrome and sugar
no respect for
in softdrink vending machines
hole in the sky
penguins knead a blue scarf
into a human
in all things flying
— Johannes S.H. Bjerg
And on that note… I think I’m going to drift off to sleep now, off to the far reaches of the Haikuverse, where the penguins fly and no one ever makes you stop reading just when you get to the good part. You’re welcome to join me, that is, when you’ve finished reading everything I tell you to. What, you thought you were gonna get out of doing your homework? Think again, kids.
(Artwork by Rick Daddario, 19 Planets)
Prune Juice 6, July 2011
April 10: 1-2: Books and libraries
wild nights —
Emily Dickinson asleep
on my nightstand
he reads my mind
(NaHaiWriMo prompt: Books and libraries)
Moving on: NaHaiWriMo prompt for April 11th
Really big things (it’s all relative, of course)
See this post for an explanation of what this is.
See the NaHaiWriMo website.
See the NaHaiWriMo Facebook page, and contribute haiku there if you want. (It doesn’t have to have anything to do with this prompt. It’s just a suggestion.)
Across the Haikuverse, No. 16: National Library Week Edition
Hi haiku folk,
This is the beginning of National Library Week in the U.S. I don’t care where you live, you are going to be celebrating this with me, because in case it hadn’t registered with you before, I am studying to be a librarian when I grow up. (In case, you know, the whole fame-and-fortune-through-haiku thing doesn’t pan out for me.)
So here’s my obligatory public service announcement: Please do your part to support libraries
so that I will be able to find a job when I graduate from library school so that we can facilitate the free flow of information that is necessary to the health of a democratic society. Or something.
… No, seriously. I know you all probably love libraries already, but in case you didn’t know, a lot of politicians don’t. They think libraries are frivolous institutions that exist only to provide a lot of namby-pamby middle-class people with books of poetry (honestly, could anything be more…irrelevant…than poetry?) and the latest romance novels. They don’t see any relationship between the health of libraries and the health of the economy. They think everyone gets their information from the Internet these days anyway. They’d rather spend the cash on bombers.
Guess what? More people use libraries now than ever before. In America, a huge percentage of the population has access to the Internet only through their public library. Librarians help them look for jobs, figure out how to pay their taxes (did you hear that, politicians?), study to become more qualified for jobs, determine whether those emails from the nice Nigerian businessman are actually legitimate, and yes, occasionally even obtain print and audiovisual materials that improve their lives in a myriad of ways. And that’s just public libraries. Don’t get me started on all the other kinds.
So if you haven’t been to the library in a while, why not make a trip this week? And say something nice to the librarian. And if you happen to run into your local legislator somewhere, tell him or her about all the stuff I said. Forget the bombs…bring on the books.
(Note: Because this blog believes in truth in advertising, all the blatant public service announcements promoting libraries in today’s column will be printed in bold. Enjoy.)
Haiku of the Week
A couple of great red dragonfly haiku showed up in my feed reader this week. Because I am shamelessly self-centered, they get to go first.
From Lunch Break:
the red dragonfly
— gillena cox 2011
From see haiku here (as always, includes a haiga that must be seen):
red dragonfly —
I am now alive
admiring the height of sky
— Natsume, Soseki (with haiga by Kuniharu Shimizu)
Next in order of priority are the cherry blossom haiku. Japanese cherry blossom haiku. Need I say more? Both of these are from Blue Willow Haiku World.
From March 31:
hanabie no kagi wa kagiana nite hibiku
cherry blossom chill
a key resonates
in the key hole
— Takuya Tomita, translated by Fay Aoyagi
From April 2:
moji wa te o oboete itari hana no hiru
who wrote them
cherry blossom afternoon
— Tomoya Tokita, translated by Fay Aoyagi
Okay, the rest of you can be seated now.
From La Calebasse (sorry, no translation today, but French really isn’t a difficult language to learn — run along now and pick up some instructional tapes from your local library):
la première abeille
jusqu’au quatrième étage
pour la première fleur
— Vincent Hoarau
From old pajamas: from the dirt hut:
Hurry, children we could not have // Come cross the lotus bridge //
Play with mother under the plum tree
— Alan Segal
From Mann Library’s Daily Haiku:
a flock of blackbirds
turns inside out
— Tom Painting
From Crows & Daisies:
on the tax form…
all day rain
— Polona Oblak
in the wind—
the rush at my wedding
— Alegria Imperial
From Morden Haiku — a great echo of Basho’s famous haiku:
day after day
on the inspector’s face
the inspector’s mask
— Matt Morden
From Beachcombing for the Landlocked:
following their directions i find myself in someone else’s lost
— Matt Holloway
long afternoona squirrel’s leapfrom tree to tree— Bill Kenney
From Haiku Bandit Society:
the queue come full stop
a stolen glance
at the nape of her neck
— William Sorlien
From Daily Haiga (with, naturally, a haiga…go look, pretty please)
i touch it
— Brendan Slater
Wonders of the Web
Springtime with Issa
Tom Clark of Beyond the Pale gives us an explosion of Issa spring haiku, accompanied by amazing photography. Just go read it and look at it and breathe. We made it through again. (This link courtesy of Don Wentworth . He always knows about the coolest stuff. Probably because he’s a librarian.)
Asahi Haikuist Network
Sheesh. Somebody should have told me about this a while ago…a whole column in a Japanese newspaper featuring English-language haiku. There’s a different theme for every biweekly issue, which includes commentary by the editor, David McMurray. (You can send him your own haiku — see the directions at the bottom of every column.)
my son wants to know
all about tsunami
–Ralf Broker (Germany)
On the NaHaiWriMo Facebook page the other day, Alan Summers shared a link to an amazing animated haiku presentation by Jeffrey Winke, and now I have to go there every single day and stare at it. Very moving haiku. In both senses of the word “moving.”
tears that start in her eyes
run down my face
— Jeffrey Winke
At the Border of Silver and Tacky: Meet Ed Baker
Ed Baker is a sui generis poet whose poetry sometimes looks like haiku and sometimes like itself; he likes to call a lot of what he writes “shorties,” which works for me. He’s also a painter and a sculptor. You should get to know him a little bit, which you can do by going to visit him with Geof Huth of dbqp: visualizing poetics. Geof spent a day with Ed a few years ago and has the photos to prove it. (Thanks to Joseph Hutchison over at The Perpetual Bird for sharing this link.)
Afterwards (or beforehand, I suppose, might be even better), you should go over to Ed’s own site and read what he writes. Like this:
far beyond___frog___moon leaps
— Ed Baker, from Neighbor Book 6 Afterwards
How To Get Rid Of Your Money
An anonymous haiku fan who apparently has some spare cash (I knew there had to be at least one!) has offered to triple any donations given to The Haiku Foundation in the month of April. So if you got a bigger tax refund than you expected and you have all the groceries you need for a while, you could send them some money to fund, you know…haiku stuff.
(Then if you have any more spare money? There’s this deserving not-quite-young-anymore haiku poet and blogger who’s accepting donations to fund her lavish haiku-writing lifestyle. Contact me for details about where to mail the check…)
Dead Tree News
I really hope I’ve mentioned this before, but all the women out there in the Haikuverse need to think about submitting your best haiku (and senryu) to Aubrie Cox for her groundbreaking anthology of women’s English-language haiku. The deadline is April 15th. The relevant email address is paperlanternhaiku AT gmail DOT com and you should include 5 to 15 poems, your name, country, a brief bio of 150 words or less, and any applicable publication credits of submitted poems.
When Aubrie started this project she mentioned that although no anthology of women’s English-language haiku had yet been assembled, Makoto Ueda had put together a fine one of Japanese women’s haiku, called Far Beyond the Field. So I got it and I’ve been wandering through it delightedly for the last month or so. It’s a physically lovely object, tall and narrow and outwardly dressed in spring green, with lots of white space inside to create room for thought around every haiku. There’s lots of space for thought around every poet, too; Ueda has created a substantial section for each woman with a preceding brief critical and biographical essay.
I don’t want to blather on about this too much because the haiku stand on their own, and if you’re interested you should find yourself a copy of the book. (This is a link to the WorldCat library catalog, which will help you find a copy of this book at a library near you.) I’ll just throw out a few of my favorites to make your mouth water and then run away and leave you hanging, because I’m heartless that way.
behind, before, behind
a woman on the road
lost in the woods —
only the sound of a leaf
falling on my hat
— Tagami Kikusha
no longer seeking
the sun, a magnificent
— Takeshita Shizunojo
home from blossom viewing —
as I disrobe, many straps
cling to my body
— Sugita Hisajo 
[Ueda’s note: “Kyoshi said at the time that this was a woman’s haiku that no man could imitate.”]
the baby carriage
and the wild waves
side by side in summer
— Hashimoto Takako
up on a hydro pole
the electrician turns
into a cicada
— Mitsuhashi Takajo
their lives last
only while aflame —
a woman and a pepper-pod
— Mitsuhashi Takajo
at spring dawn
something I’ve spat out
— Ishibashi Hideno
a man enters
the room, disturbing the scent
— Yoshino Yoshiko
the instant it flies up
loses its shadow
— Inahata Teiko
saffron in bloom—
the movie yesterday
murdered a man
— Uda Kitoko
each fresh day
inflicting new wounds
on a white peony
— Kuroda Momoko
with a pencil
I torture an ant
on the desk at night
— Katayama Yumiko
choosing a swimsuit —
when did his eyes
— Mayuzumi Madoka
Thanks for your attention, folks…Hey, where did everybody go? Oh, to the library? That’s all right, then.