Tag Archives: The Haiku Foundation

New Resonance Community video

Check out this video: “How I found my voice: A new Resonance Community Reading” from the Haiku North America Conference 2019. From Jim Kacian and Julie Warthers’s presentation on this Community of poets, including members reading out their work. Julie read out haiku by members not able to attend.


My own poem was read out, too:

the weight
of my dreams

The video was featured as part of this year’s Fundraiser running from Thanksgiving to St. Nicholas’s Day.

Clover and Cows


clover in flower
the Holsteins come
with four stomachs

This week’s poem by Dan Schwerin (Modern Haiku 49:2, Summer 2018), discussed at The Haiku Foundation feature Re:Virals, attracted delightful responses that illuminated the poem from different and serendipitously complementary angles.

The week’s winner, Garry Eaton, provided an interesting and robust commentary seeing the poem’s environmental concerns, alluding to 19th century farming changes by

… highlighting the mindless, mower-like and digester-like efficiency of cows as in massive numbers they convert landscapes into milk and excrement in an endless search for more green.

The other commentators too, in their own way, provided fascinating inroads to the ku.

One paragraph from Julie Warther’s commentary caught my eye:

We each have our empty places looking to be filled. We hold common yearnings for love, acceptance, safety, sustenance and purpose. The natural world and those in it have much to offer. Do we come ready to receive? Do we return hungry for more? Do we have the capacity (four stomachs worth?) to take in the goodness, beauty and bounty surrounding us?

In the commentaries, desire, pleasure and insatiable hunger come together through the poem’s image of cows with multiple stomachs, mowing down environmental resources. Perfect metaphors for humans for whom – on individual and societal levels – the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and who will employ all means necessary to consume, to obtain the next piece of land, the next oil field… The effects on nature, climate, resources are all around us to see. As Warther asks, do we have the capacity to process and digest what we receive, to ‘stomach’ it, to experience ful/fillment? To contain our desires? To create a sustainable environment, where the milk we receive is both sufficient and good enough to nourish us?

In Schwerin’s poem, c/love/r is in flower. It is not the first time, and it won’t be the last. In the optimist’s reading, the ‘clover in flower’ in this rural idyll has survived previous years, and it sounds that, with care, it is going to survive the next ones.

Refreshing to see clover — considered an invasive weed in the context of gardening — standing for ‘milk’ in its use as animal fodder, and the cows — whose milk is usually associated with nourishment — standing for ruthless, destructive urges. But that’s another poem, and another story.

You can find the full re:Virals post here.

If, like me, you enjoy thinking about these matters, make sure you receive The Haiku Foundation posts. Re:Virals, managed by Danny Blackwell, appears Fridays.

The Haiku Foundation Fundraiser: Check it out!

The Haiku Foundation,Fundraiser, Once a year, The Haiku Foundation asks for our help to meet the financial challenges it faces to continue its work. It does so during the period from Thanksgiving through St. Nicholas Day, the time set aside by many to think about our blessings and give thanks. Each day between the 23rd of November and the 6th of December, a blog post on the Foundation site highlights one of its many features, presents a video, offers a sale item from the Gift Shop, and more!

Do visit the blog every day, find out what the Foundation offers, what the people involved with it do, celebrate the offerings, and help in whatever way you can to support the Foundation continue to promote the cause of haiku.

Day 1

EarthRise Rolling Collaborative Haiku 2017

The EarthRise Rolling Collaborative Haiku 2017, the world’s longest poem, on the theme of Reconciliation, is now collated and ready to treasure! You can find it in The Haiku Foundation site by clicking here
Many, many wonderful haiku.

I copy below my own contributions to the poem:
melting snow…
a pressing need
to confess
and who would hear
the sound of the sea…
reed ears
Passion Week—
letting the wild garlic
daily grind
a stork pair picking
revving up the engine
despite the rain
because of it
First appeared in Haibun Today Volume 11, Number 1, March 2017
refugee child–
folding and unfolding
his paper boat
First prize, Sharpening the Green Pencil, 2017
a pen and a feeding spoon –
the baby’s laughter
First appeared in Inner Voices, International Women’s Festival, 2017



Fight on! (in re:Virals 80)

What does it mean to wake up facing a fist pressing hard against your window?
How does one cope with such a threat, day in, day out?

The morning presses
its hot fist against the window:
the fight starts.

— Bart Mesotten, Haikoe-boek (self-published, 1986; translation by Max Verhart)

Pleased to share that my take on Bart Mesotten’s excellent poem is featured in this week’s re:Virals, The Haiku Foundation’s haiku commentary feature.
Take a look here 

And try your hand at writing a commentary on the poem I chose (as this week’s winner) to be discussed next: LeRoy Gorman’s “the good soldier.”

re:Virals 49

A haiku is worth a thousand words: paraphrasing this well-known English idiom, I wish to point to this week’s re:Virals, the weekly haiku commentary over at The Haiku Foundation.
Robert Mainone’s poem

my haplogroup
shows the sponge gene —
distant lightning

(Modern Haiku 40.3, 2009)

was featured on re:Virals 49 and commented upon by a number of poets, yours truly included. So interesting to see how much is packed in this haiku! Take a look here


In my presentation ‘Arrivals‘, a HaikuLife format reading of some of my recent poems, I weave responses to the refugee arrival crisis in the Arrivals video trainsMediterranean, and the conflicting reception refugees received so far, with the more general human challenge of ‘arriving’ anywhere…

The film, edited by Rob Ward, After Effects artist and animator, was presented during HaikuLife 2016, part of International Haiku Poetry Day, an initiative of The Haiku Foundation, held 17 April 2016.

What a Day! International Haiku Poetry Day 2016

April 17, International Haiku Poetry Day, IHPD for short, is the day of celebration of all things haiku.  The Haiku Foundation encourages public events on local, national and global levels, including readings, exhibitions, excursions, collaborative projects and competitions. Since 2015, the event is listed in the World Kigo Database,  a great source of advice and information. (see Kigo Calendar).

pottery,jug, While waiting for next April 17 to come round, don’t miss the opportunity to watch the wonderful haiku films that were presented at this year’s HaikuLife, the Foundation’s Film Festival 2016.   And scroll through the longest haiku collaborative poem, EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2016. This year, in acknowledgement of the United Nations Year of Pulses, the theme of the project was Foodcrop Haiku.

Here are my own offerings to EarthRise:

the seed in the child’s
open palm
picking over lentils—
of the evening hour
mice-nibbled sack—
edging closer to
the real
at the back
of the late night bus
whiff of wild garlic
all seeds accounted for dawn chorus



The Haiku Foundation re:Virals 31 and my Commentary

This week, a terrific haiku by Melissa Allen was up for discussion at The Haiku Foundation  re:Virals. Interesting commentaries looking at the poem from different perspectives. You can read the whole post with the poem and all the commentaries  here. I am pleased to say mine was this week’s winner. I copy it below:
Melissa’s poem:

radiation leak moonlight on the fuel rods

          — Melissa Allen, Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (2013)

And my take:

In current usage, the word leak refers to a variety of situations: from leaking a document and bringing into the light a secret, to taking a leak, to a wasteful dripping of water, to seepage of radiation. This poem, with its radiation leak, immediately opens up a danger zone. Step in at your peril into an image that gives rise to paralyzing fears, to the dead zones of Chernobyl, Fukushima; to the forbidden zones. Anything could happen here.

From a leak to a fireball, from the atom to the apocalyptic mushroom cloud, you could be walking into a minefield of the results of unbridled ambition and unscrupulous greed, a Faustian deal . . . Whether the leak is from a technological or scientific project, where man sees himself tirelessly bent on expanding knowledge and power over nature, finding solutions to the human problems of illness, poverty, and environmental degradation; whether hubris or dedication to the common good, here is a consequence: the spewing of poisonous material, the fall into a dark, man-made Hell.

But now the poet brings moonlight on the scene. Like a benevolent, all-seeing Eye of God, moonlight bathes the fuel rods in light we associate with understanding, with cool logic, in forgiveness. I am reminded of the Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos’ Moonlight Sonata, where moonlight hides smaller-scale follies such as showing white hair as golden, at the same time relentlessly intensifying shadows. In Allen’s poem too, moonlight is both kind and cooling, as well as relentless and permanent, not allowing the fuel rods to hide in the shadows. An image burned into the mind.

Note that the fuel rods are not spent. The young man in Ritsos’ poem too, is present all through the poem, at the end leaving full of energy, bursting into laughter as he walks away. Life continues in its boundless energy, in its perpetual flow, beyond leaks, beyond the night, beyond our human follies, beyond life itself.


Haiku Journey for HaikuLife 2015

At the beginning of this year, I wrote about my visit to Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge, to view their collection of paintings by  Alfred Wallis. At that time, I was inspired to put together a presentation for the HaikuLife FilmFest, organised by The Haiku Foundation. The presentation, Haiku Journey, was shown on International Haiku Poetry Day, April 17, 2015, together with a good number of other films. It is now archived on the site here.

Poetry and arrangement: Stella Pierides; film editing: Rob Ward

Images: by kind permission of Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge


International Haiku Poetry Day 2015

In 2015, The Haiku Foundation celebrates haiku on a global scale, encompassing the work and achievements of haiku poets from around the world. From this year on, International Haiku Poetry Day (IHPD), replacing the THF’s National Haiku Poetry Day, becomes the biggest celebration of haiku poetry word wide. On April 17 each year, haiku poets, haiku poetry fans, and organisations will be getting together under the auspices of the THF in order to honour the depth, reach, creativity, and joy of the genre we have come to love.

For this year, the Foundation has organised a series of events, from local haiku readings and celebrations, over HaikuLife, a FilmFest showcasing work submitted by individuals and organisations, to EarthRise, a rolling collaborative poem.

On April 17th, 2015, from 12:01 A.M. at the International Date Line, a wave of haiku contributions begins and rolls throughout the day, with poets offering their haiku at dawn their local time. The finished collaboration, on the theme of Light, will be permanently archived on the THF site.

I am very much looking forward to the day, and the many exciting contributions from poets around the globe. I will be setting my alarm, and posting my own haiku to the inaugural EarthRise.

I am also delighted that the FilmFest, HaikuLife, features a short film of my haiku together with paintings by Alfred Wallis (from the excellent Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge, collection). I created this film with the (much appreciated) support of Rob Ward, After-Effects Artist and Animator. Besides my presentation, there are at least 12 other contributions by haiku poets and organisations, amounting to almost 90 minutes of film.

I hope you will be able to join in the fun on IHPD.

For times, url, and other information about HaikuLife and EarthRise, as well as the local (to the US) readings, please visit the Troutswirl blog at The Haiku Foundation site.

Update April17, 2015

Happy International Haiku Poetry Day, folks! Contribute your poems to EarthRise, watch the HaikuLife films, go to the readings, enjoy the day!

My short film, Haiku Journey, is shown today — together with a number of other films — and will be permanently archived on the Haiku Foundation site. Please see here

For an introduction to the Foundation HaikuLife project, and the list of all projects shown, please click

‘winter wind’ on Per Diem: Daily Haiku!

Delighted to see my poem “winter wind” featured in today’s (5th November 2014) THF ‎Per Diem: Daily Haiku.

In case you missed it, after all it is only displayed for a day, here it is:

winter wind
feathers and fishbones shift
inside the eyrie

This poem was a runner-up in the Snapshot Press Haiku Calendar Competition 2012 and first appeared in The Haiku Calendar 2013 (Snapshot Press, 2012).

A big thank you to the month’s editor, Sonam Chhoki, for including it in her collection “Writing the Difficult Thing.” Sonam Chhoki’s collection runs all through November, with lots of poems about difficult things to write… Each day, a new poem here. Enjoy!

Blog Action Day 2014

On October 16th, 2014, a global discussion is being held on the topic of inequality. Organized by Blog Action Day, this year’s theme brings together bloggers from over 100 countries to contribute on a matter that becomes increasingly urgent.

Inequality, sunflower,daisies,

Wars, civil and religious violence, scarcity of materials and ecological concerns, the spread of disease, are increasingly diverting our attention from the inequalities that abound, and increase in our societies. Yet, to a large degree, inequality is the result of all those processes individually and cumulatively. Wars, for instance, are about real or perceived biases in resource distribution, in turn often resulting in huge increases in inequality. Just think of the thousands of refugees looking for safety in the Mediterranean, and the response they get when (and if) they make it to the European shores. (see here

night chill…
all the refugees asleep
behind bars

It is ubiquitous, but so are the processes that ameliorate and even help reverse it: awareness and reflection, empathy, generosity; pooling of resources and co-operation; language, art, literature; institutions, policies, humanitarian approaches at national and international levels are just a few that come to mind.

Greenwich,London,Tall Ships Festival,Inequality is an urgent and vital topic for discussion, and you may have noticed, I am taking part this year with a series of posts.* Are you? If you are not sure what to write about, Blog Action Day on FB has a number of tips for bloggers. If you don’t have a blog, you may use your FB account or other social media. See also the Blog Action Day 2014 site.

If you are looking for literary inspiration on themes of poverty, homelessness, begging, and poetic resonances to these issues reflecting perspective and culture, see The Kindness of Strangers, a six-part series by Swedish poet Anna Maris on The Haiku Foundation site (you’ll need to scroll down the blog entries for the earlier posts).

Bye for now! See you on the 16th,  online.

#Blogaction14, #Inequality, #Oct16

Anselm Kiefer at the RA and Museum Walter

Malevich at Tate Modern

Phyllida Barlow at Tate Britain

Kader Attia, Whitechapel Gallery

Frank Auerbach at Tate Britain

Blog Action Day 2014

NaHaiWriMo 4th Year!

February is National Haiku Poetry Month – wherever you might be on the planet. The shortest month of the year for the challenge that may become the longest-lasting commitment you will ever make!
But let’s start small. First write one haiku a day for the whole month. Join a community of poets around the world who endeavor to write at least one haiku a day. And see how it goes… I did, four years ago, when it all started.
The NaHaiWriMo Facebook community encouraged me, nurtured my writing; and this quiet, positive, non-critical presence of people helped me grow. This steady, unfailing presence provided a background for my daily attempts: poetic ventures, haiku versions to work on, check with others.
Other members let me know if they’d read my poem, if they ‘liked’ it, if a different version would work; if they shared my experience or predicament, my point of view, or appreciated my difference. Not often, but cumulatively, in doses that my ego could take…
It worked! I’ve made the commitment to haiku and its special way of seeing and conveying experiences.
Try it yourself. You may like it and start writing haiku each day of every month, all year round. It may help open up time, expand moments the way only haiku can.
To see how it works, take a look here
For how to go about finding out how to write these poems, there is help from the founder and co-ordinator of this project, Michael Dylan Welch here  and in more articles posted on this site
You will find the NaHaiWriMo Community here

And for inspiring, prize-winning as well as thematic collections of haiku by poets the world over, you will do well to visit the The Haiku Foundation site here

There’s also a daily poem treat, the Per Diem: Daily Haiku ready for you to pick up here

The THF’s new offerings

What an exciting month December has been! And it is only the 4th of the month!

The Haiku Foundation’s Per Diem: Daily Haiku, a feature I project manage, is scaling new heights this month. Michael McClintock, in his collection “31 Ways of Looking at a Mountain” is taking us for a mountain hike. Each day a new view here

BeFunky_pomegranate.jpgThe Haiku Foundation Fundraising campaign is continuing up to the 6th of December with a number of releases of new material and features. On the 3rd, the new social media account on Pinterest was rolled out. I am pleased to have played a part in this one.

Then there is a new haiga by Jim Kacian, a new digital library interface… there is an endless stream of enthusiasm and creativity coming out of the The Haiku Foundation. And the fundraiser releases continue for three more days!

Are you missing out? Register for blog post notifications via email (see the THF contact page), follow the THF on Twitter: https://twitter.com/haikufound

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/haikufound/boards/‚ and like it on

FaceBook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Haiku-Foundation/346457215437?ref=ts  

And above all, have fun with haiku!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Chanukah to friends who celebrate it. And to the rest of my friends, wherever they happen to be in the world, who would be happy for the opportunity to give thanks for blessings received any time of the year, Happy Thanksgiving too!

I am giving thanks for my family and friends, the creative, nourishing and supportive haiku communities and writers’ groups I am involved with around the world, and the gift of every day on this Earth I continue to receive.

deerweb.jpgA special note of thanks to the The Haiku Foundation for its breathtaking work on the many and varied haiku projects it sustains and furthers. It too is giving thanks and fundraising for its work during the period from Thanksgiving through St. Nicholas Day. Please take a look to see what they’ve been up to this year, as well as the exciting program they have planned for the coming days here.

While you are visiting their site, I encourage you to sign up for their email notifications, follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook: this way you will be kept up to date with all their offerings.

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season.


Surrealism and Haiku?

Over at the The Haiku Foundation blog, TroutswirlGene Myers asked “What do surrealists and haiku poets have in common?” A number of haiku poets contributed very interesting and varied responses. Spurned into action myself, I responded with the following comment:

Hochablass, Lech dam, Augsburg
Hochablass, Lech dam, Augsburg

“Thank you for sharing this, Gene. I have been thinking about connections between the arts and haiku poetry and so find it interesting to read people’s thoughts here.Re. your question: I understand (most) surrealists to have tried to bypass conscious mind and to make contact with the unconscious through dreams, word association, automatic writing, hypnosis, mind-altering substances… This aim to go beyond and beneath the conscious/reasoning mind and pull out a fresh, writhing, alive experience may be one of the things that surrealists and haiku poets share (though not all the means!).

Regarding two-part haiku, I like to see the juxtaposition of the two elements as displaying side by side, literally, unconsciously associated content. In a successful juxtaposition, a sense of strangeness, an uncanny feeling is being set up. Isn’t this central to the attraction for both reader and writer: looking at the seemingly disparate elements/parts of the poem, experiencing the tensions generated and their resolution in a moment of recognition in which the unseen / unconscious connections emerge?

In this sense, surrealists (at least those of the more constructive strand) and haiku poets may be said to use juxtaposition of the seemingly disparate as a means to reach underneath and beyond the well-trodden tracks of our conscious landscape; to (to use your words) ‘jar’ and encourage filling in the gaps/holes between the elements through reconnecting with deeper/hidden levels of the mind. Of course, this is only one of several commonalities; there’s also choice of words, images, form of presentation, and so on.

Happily, we have this month’s Per Diem, Kirsten Cliff’s collection “Dream Speak,” to help us explore this matter further.”

Noticed the last sentence? Why not keep me company, visit the THF Per Diem site, and pull out of the Per Diem box the daily poem; fresh, and only for a day, the daily poem can be found by clicking here


Fate and Destiny

“Fate” and “destiny” are often used interchangeably to refer to the notion of predetermination; of future events following a predetermined plan or path.

Paths Yet, implicitly, we also make a distinction between the two in terms of the    degree to which each is allowing for alterations in the course of events to  which it is applied. Fate is usually associated with unalterable events; we are  in the hands of the ancient Fates, Gods, or cosmic forces; our lives, and  actions, are out of our control. There is a belief in a prescribed future: a  higher/supernatural authority (or authorities) has the future laid out for us.

Destiny, on the other hand, involves a course of events where we have a say,  or a hand, in preparing or making our future. We may be destined in one  sense to higher or lower things, but we can underachieve or push ourselves  hard to achieve better than expected.

This month’s The Haiku Foundation Per Diem: Daily Haiku reflects on both of these concepts. Deb Baker, this month’s guest editor, using “Kismet” as the title of her splendid collection, invites us to reflect on the “hinge” moments” or forked paths we encounter and the outcomes that result when we follow one or the other road, believing in fate, in destiny, or a choice we made. She writes,

Poems like these can make a reader feel a sense of momentum, a possible turning or smoothing path. Perhaps such a poem helps a reader discern something happening in the present moment in his or her own life. Or to see a new possibility, a different way forward, through someone else’s hinge moment.

.I’ll be reading with an extra eye for the different ways Kismet appears in the poems. I’ll be having fun too! Join me? You can find the daily poem here


The photo is of a path taken, crossing the river Schmutter, near Neusaess, Germany.

On the Road

The new THF Per Diem collection, Songs of the Open Road, is up and running over at the Haiku Foundation site. Guest-edited by Tom Painting, it takes us on 31 exciting, meditative, and always inspirational journeys. Highways and motorways, straight paths and winding lanes are there for us to explore all through July. In his introduction to the collection, Tom Painting quotes from Walt Whitman’s poem, Song of the Open Road:

“ Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me…”

I very much look forward to these journeys. Join me on board the THF Per Diem for the ride. Each day a new haiku here


Uncanny Attractions (Posted in Haiku Matters 28 May 2013)

Uncanny Attractions

Photo of shopfront in Augsburg, Germany (by Stella Pierides)
Photo of shopfront in Augsburg, Germany
(by Stella Pierides)

I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of the Uncanny. Freud, the writer often associated with this concept, described the following uncanny experience when he came face to face with his own double. While travelling by train, Freud saw an elderly gentleman enter his sleeping compartment by mistake. Jumping up to let him know of his error, Freud realized it was his own image reflected in the mirror on the connecting door. He had found the appearance of what he thought was another man ‘thoroughly unpleasant.’ Without being frightened, he failed to recognise his ‘double.’ Or was the displeasure he felt, Freud wondered in the last note of his last chapter on “The Uncanny,” “perhaps a vestige of the archaic reaction to the ‘double’ as something uncanny?” He leaves us with a question, perhaps an encouragement to take this further ourselves.

Freud was not the first of course to link the concept of the ‘double’ with mirroring, the image in the mirror as well as the ‘other.’ Ever since Plato conceived of material reality as a poor representation of the true Forms, others have found man’s double in several contexts. In literature, for instance, Mary Shelley made the monster his creator’s ‘double’ and leaving him unnamed, led subsequent generations of readers to refer to him with the name of his creator: “Frankenstein.” Conrad, too, wrote the ‘double’ in his stories (e.g., in “The Secret Sharer”).

So what has this ‘uncanny’ and ‘double’ to do with haiku, and my theme of reader-oriented matters? If you read my previous posts, you may have noticed I like playing with ideas; though more thought games than thought experiments.

Let me throw this thought in the pot: Isn’t there in haiku a situation in which, when you come to the poem, you become slightly disoriented by the presentation of the two separate, juxtaposed ideas? (Remember the field of energy, in the previous post?) I think there is. The ‘cut’ and the pause in the juxtaposition of two ideas/images are device(s) which open up the extra perspective(s), depth, for the reader; they also create a sense of strangeness, a momentary, uncanny disorientation… until there is the spark of realization that transforms what was strange and uncanny into familiar and understood. Once resolved, the two initially puzzling parts of the poem appear to us the way Freud, relating that vignette, stood in front of his earlier self and its reflection; the way we stand in front of a Moore, a Hepworth, a Lucian Freud, or the narrator in Conrad’s novel and his secret sharer.

Are you with me? What do you make of the thought that the moment of insight or realization is preceded by the uncanny? That the uncanny in haiku involves being confronted by the juxtaposition of two on the surface unrelated – but on a deeper level related – ideas within a limited space? That the haiku moment does itself involve overcoming this sensation of the uncanny?

Finally, before I go, and in case you are interested, I’d like to mention a couple of places, amongst others, I like to visit for reading poetry, essays, information, learning, fun (in addition to “Haiku Matters, haiku journals and the homepages of haiku societies!). Do let me know your favorites.

The The Haiku Foundation’s homepage and blog “Troutswirl.” On the same site, among many brilliant features, the THF “Haiku Registry,” the place to get a flavor of the work of haiku poets writing in various forms, from all over the world; the “Montage Archive,” the “Book of the Week,” the “Per Diem: Daily Haiku” panel, and “Per Diem Archive,” are my favorites (esp. since I help out with Per Diem!).

Also, World Kigo Database (whether you appreciate kigo or not), Graceguts, Issa’s Untidy Hut (esp. Small Press Friday and Wednesday Haiku), Shiki Kukai Temporary Archives, are full of essays, criticism, food for thought, poetry, poetry and poetry.

On this note, hopefully leaving you with more questions than answers, having raised smiles as well as eyebrows, I’d like to say a big thank you to Colin Stewart Jones, and goodbye to folks who found their way here, from both the writer and reader in me.


The Wikipedia on the Uncanny here
Sigmund Freud, ‘The Uncanny’ in The Uncanny, ed. by Adam Phillips (London: Penguin Classics, 2003) p. 121-161.
Conrad, Joseph, The Secret Sharer can be read here


Photo and image manipulation: Stella Pierides

The THF goes to work: Worker’s Haiku

After all this buzzing with insect haiku in January, February 2013 is a quiet, reflective month.

This month’s guest editor, Matthew Paul’s selection is on the ever-present figure of the worker in haiku. Dentist, doctor, driver, gravedigger, barber, policeman, the solitary worker seen at work, engaged or not, lively or bored, cuts an impressive figure.

Visit the The Haiku Foundation site and see the workers at work. Every day, one haiku/senryu will appear in the Per Diem: Daily Haiku panel, at the right-hand corner, lower down the home page. Let the workers speak to you:


First Ever Mindful Writing Day

  This coming Thursday, the 1st of November, is the first ever Mindful Writing Day, organised by Kaspa & Fiona at their blog ‘Writing Our Way Home.’

To join-in, simply slow down, pay attention to one thing and write down a few words from this experience (thus producing what is called a ‘small stone’).

Fiona and Kaspa claim that ‘small stones’ are easy to write, and that they will help you connect to the world. Once you’ve started, you might not want to stop… I concur! You might want to polish your little ones too, expand them into a longer poem, or shrink them, prune them and polish them into a micropoem or haiku. It is up to you!

As an additional bonus, if you visit ‘Writing Our Way Home’ on Thursday you’ll find out how to download your free kindle copy of the new anthology, ‘A Blackbird Sings: a book of short poems‘. This is a lovely, richly-textured book of poetry and prose by several contributors who have been writing small stones this year. Two of my own poems are included in this book.

If you do write, you can submit your small stone and see it published on the blog, and be entered into a competition to win one of five paperback copies of the book.

I will be taking part. In fact, taking part in the Facebook community NaHaiWriMo (National Haiku Writing Month) which is on-going all through the year, I have been writing ‘smalls stones’ every day, several of them haiku, and have been posting at least one a day every day. For me to do something different on this Mindful Writing Day, may amount to not writing at all! Just joking, I couldn’t stop, if I tried!

But if, say if, you do not feel like putting pen to paper, or fingertips to laptop keys, you might visit the blog anyway, and read what the others have written; or start visiting the site of the The Haiku Foundation, in order to read one haiku a day, every day, expertly chosen for you by monthly poetry editors.  You will find this feature in the Per Diem: Daily Haiku panel, at the right hand lower corner of the Foundation Homepage. For the link click here

Whatever you decide to do, don’t forget to look at the sky. It is always there…



Per Diem Haiku on the theme of Hands

This October, continuing the The Haiku Foundation Per Diem: Daily Haiku series, Ruth Yarrow packs a punch with a collection to delight the heart.

Ruth’s wonderfully touching, and humorous collection is “Hands-On.”  Hands? Yes, hands. This is what she offers by way of an introduction:

“We are a species heavily dependent on our eyes, especially for connection with others and world around us.  But our hands also connect, and that connection often reaches the heart.  Right now my beloved mother-in-law, who doesn’t see well, is dying, and when you approach her, she reaches out her thin hand to connect.  These haiku about hands touch emotion.  They range from humor, as in Randy Brooks’ hand in the cookie jar, to sadness, as in Cherie Hunter Day feeling the weight and warmth of her dying dog’s collar. They include fear, as in John Stevenson’s shiver at a warm hand before diagnosis, sex, as in Sari Grandstaff’s total attention to the hand on her thigh, and even exasperation or anger, as in Kenneth Elba Carrier’s deaf man grabbing at the other’s hands.”

You can read the whole post by clicking here

Gabi Greve has a number of haiku on Hands too; see her blog Haiku and Happiness, where she features the THF Per Diem on Hands. Please click here

Follow the THF on twitter: https://twitter.com/haikufound

And start the day right: pick up your first haiku by clicking here




‘The Five Elements’ on THF Per Diem

A new collection of poems starts today on The Haiku Foundation homepage. Kala Ramesh is the Per Diem: Daily Haiku editor for September 2012. She offers the following by way of an introduction to the collection:

“The Five Elements

The Hindus and the Buddhists believe that all Creation— including human beings— is composed of five essential elements. When death occurs, everything is transposed into these elements of nature, thus balancing the cycle of evolution.

The elements and their associated sense perceptions are:

Ether – Akasha – space / sound

Wind – Vayu – sound & touch

Fire – Agni – sound, touch & form

Water – Jalam – sound, touch, form & flavour

Earth – Prithvi – sound, touch, form, flavour & smell

This classification is woven into the fabric of our day-to-day activities, and widely used in all our art forms, including poetry, literature, dance, music and painting. The haiku poems showcased here might not appear in the order I had originally arranged them, but you could use your ingenuity and guesswork to ‘sense’ how many of these elements are present in the haiku, when you read them.”

I am looking forward to this daily treat for the whole month, and beyond… If you enjoy haiku, you’ll love this.

For a new poem each day on the Foundation homepage (lower right-hand corner) click here

You can also follow THF Per Diem on Twitter, @haikufound, for a daily Per Diem-related tweet, in addition to Foundation news and announcements.

The Haiku Foundation: where the party continues…

The Haiku Foundation, a non-profit organization whose aim is “to preserve and archive the accomplishments of our first century of haiku in English, and to provide resources for its expansion in our next,” is the place to hang around if you are trying to make April, the National Poetry Month, last all year long!

There’s a lot to do there! There’s the Per Diem: Daily Haiku, in its box, on the Home page, bringing you specially selected haiku each and every single day of the year;  the Haiku Registry, with over 400 poets and poems to browse through; archives of contest-winning poems, and awards, with judges’ commentaries; an exciting blog with thought-provoking posts and information; contest and event calendars, a digital library, and forums for any haiku-related questions you can come up with…

And now, there is going to be more! The Haiku Foundation plans to create

“the first collection of in-depth interviews documenting the development of 20th century haiku. Poets, translators, and scholars…will share their work and discuss their ideas. The resulting video and audio recordings will be available FREE of charge on the The Haiku Foundation (THF) website: http://www.thehaikufoundation.org …”

Now that’s a worthy cause!

The Foundation is asking for your help with this project. Running a Video Archive Campaign, it aims to collect through donations the $6,000 it needs to buy the audio and video equipment necessary. Will you help them reach their goal?

They say:

“Imagine if you could watch your favorite poets talk about their craft and lives and respond to questions you always wanted to ask them. While the technology wasn’t available during the lifetime of some of our favorite poets, today we have the opportunity to create a rich resource for our generation and those to come. As we move forward into the 21st century, many haiku poets who led the way in the 20th have already passed away. We need to start working immediately to preserve the voices of those who are still with us. Their stories deserve to be heard.”

I can well imagine…

“If a haiku has ever stirred your heart, pitch in! We will return your generosity with hours of enriching interviews, and you will help preserve a fast-fading history.”

Please follow this link here for a lot more information, including various gifts/perks you receive with your donation, tax free advice, gallery of gifts, comments etc.

National Poetry Month: Margaret Dornaus

Well, April, the cruelest month, is upon us! Thank God we have poetry to help us survive it. Poetry, Poetry, Poetry, Poetry!

The Haiku Foundation, the Poetry Foundation, Poets.org, brim with wonderful poetry to feed the soul – and the senses! Visit them and forget about April; or at least enjoy it! There is also Per Diem, the Daily haiku offered by The Haiku Foundation on their home page (bottom right-hand corner); Couplets, the multi-author poetry blog, coordinated by Joanne Merriam of Upper Rubber Boot Books, the Facebook pages of NaHaiWriMo,  and numerous other projects, workshops, readings, and poetry-related events.

On this first day of Poetry Month, I am very happy to host Margaret Dornaus, ‘writer, a teacher, wife, traveler . . . as well as a haiku-doodler.’  Margaret says about herself, ‘I live in a beautiful woodland setting, surrounded by native oak forests, that inspires me to record haiku snapshots of luna moths and our resident roadrunner, and even an occasional black bear as it hightails it across the top of my road, my mongrel dog barking at its heels as I watch with wonder’.

In her post hosted here, Margaret  kindly states, ‘I’m thrilled to exchange places with Stella for the day in observance of National Poetry Month and to have her wonderful work featured on my blog, Haiku-doodle (http://www.haikudoodle.wordpress.com).

Margaret herself chose to offer three poems (see below).  This is how she reflects on her offering:

‘After we decided to share three of our poems on each other’s site, I contemplated whether I should contribute haiku or tanka.  I    began writing both about a year and a half ago, and, although I was already familiar with haiku, I knew nothing about tanka until I accidentally stumbled upon a call for submissions to Pamela A. Babusci’s journal Moonbathing.  When I started studying this ancient lyrical form and reading the work of other tanka poets, I knew I’d found a home . . . .  And so I’ve chosen three tanka to feature here today.’


you remind me

how it felt that night we met . . .

our universe

filled with possibilities

and the soft hum of tree frogs


Simply Haiku, vol. 9, no. 1, Spring 2011


years from now

I promise to remember

how you looked that night

alone on the verandah

holding moonlight in your hands


First place, Tanka Society of America

2011 International Tanka Contest 


in darkness

we forget our anger . . .


the sound of wild geese

piercing the starless night


Ribbons: Tanka Society of America Journal,

vol. 7, no. 1, Spring 2011


This blog post exchange is part of the Couplets project, a multi-author poetry blog tour coordinated by Joanne Merriam of Upper Rubber Boot Books “to help promote poetry and poets for National Poetry Month“.