Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bill Ramsey - Three Questions

Bill RamseyBill Ramsey's new haiku book, More Wine, is now available from Red Moon Press. Warning: this book may be hazardous to postmodern angst. Its back cover states: "Haiku long has relished the quietistic impulse. Ecstatic verse has favored dramatic exuberance. These two traditions are stirred into a global mix in More Wine. Wine, an old symbol of human thirst for an intimate Beloved, here pours through yearnings of our postmodern sensibility."

Bill's first book of haiku was This Wine (Deep North Press, 2002). His selected haibun appeared as Ascend with Care (LeapPress, 2003). Other verse has appeared in Chiron Review, Christian Century, Commonweal, Exquisite Corpse, South Carolina Review, Southern Review, and others.

1) Why do you write haiku?

I write to pay attention to the internal self, to sustain an integrated life, and to record my 8 inches of snail’s progress toward the Divine.

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I've heard of the deep spiritual profundity to be found in limericks; however, I have not yet found it there. So I read Rumi, Hafiz, Rabia, and Kabir.

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

    the dead boy

on a Rwandan road

    as i eat shrimp

    born to live i hoe

and, ah, born to die

    i kiss the melon

    the light turning green

against a vast night--

    my turn to go

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

updates - 2/28/2010

Dear Curtis,

I wanted to let everyone know the latest news at Turtle Light Press. We have just selected the winner of the 2010 haiku chapbook competition -- All That Remains by Catherine J.S. Lee. Unlike Michael McClintock, a veteran haiku poet who won the first competition, Lee is a relative newcomer to haiku. She has been writing haiku for two years but exhibits an evocative, mature voice. You can take a look at this link, read the full award statement and sample some of Lee's moving poems. TLP is planning to release All That Remains this coming fall.

We had a lot of wonderful entries from several countries around the world and one in particular, Wing on Wing by Kathleen O'Toole, was given an Honorable Mention. I judged the contest again with Jamaican poet and writer Kwame Dawes.

Also, please let folks know that McClintock's Sketches from the San Joaquin, which took first prize in the initial TLP haiku chapbook competition, is now available through our website and we are working on a limited edition that will contain sketches based on photos of the valley taken by photojournalist Dorothea Lange. The book itself will open from two sides inward, giving readers a sense of entering the valley and discovering poems along the way. A publication date for the limited edition has not yet been set but I will let you know.

Many thanks,


Rick Black
Turtle Light Press
(732) 317-1308

I'm proud to say that Angelee Deodhar and yours truly are collaborators of a haiga. Angelee was inspired to pen a haiku to one of the pictures I took of a tree that had fallen during the recent ice storm in North Carolina.

Beginning tomorrow, five of my poems (a poem per day) will be featured on Shreve Memorial Library's Electronic Poetry Network. They will run all day (or all weekend) long on an electronic message board at the Main Library in Shreveport, Louisiana. They will also appear on the EPN library's web site:

Thank you Carlos!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Poets and Poems - Dannye Powell

Dannye Powell
Before John Died

he asked a group of friends
if we’d bake cookies for the gathering
after his funeral. The men
looked down at their black shoes
and shuffled, one, two. The women
were already flipping through
their recipes, trying to decide
what kind. While he still breathed,
we prepared a feast for his sure death.
Creaming the butter and sugar, alternating
the ghostly flour with the pulsing milk
situated us between here and there,
now and then. How like John
to invite us to a place
where nothing is as it‘s going to be
while everything still is.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Robert Epstein - Three Questions

Robert EpsteinRobert Epstein is a licensed clinical psychologist who practices psychotherapy in the San Francisco Bay Area. Robert came to haiku via a longtime interest in Eastern philosophy, aided especially by Alan Watts and D.T. Suzuki. In addition, Robert greatly appreciates the scholarly works and inspiration of R. H. Blyth and Eric Amann. Over the years, his haiku and senryu have appeared in Acorn, bottle rockets, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, moonset, South by Southwest and other publications. Robert recently edited a book called, THE BREATH OF SURRENDER on the subject of recovery; he is presently at work on two books of death awareness poems called, CHECKOUT TIME IS NOON and an anthology called, DREAMS WANDER ON.

1) Why do you write haiku?

I write haiku to stay alive. As a chronically ill person, who used to write prose regularly, I need to remain in contact with my spirit, and haiku affords me the means to do so.

2) What other poetry forms do you enjoy?

Most of my poetry writing is limited to haiku and senryu. Once upon a time I used to write free verse... and, who knows, I may sometime return to that form of poetry. When my father died nearly eight years ago, I was cracked wide open and wrote haibun for three weeks straight in hopes of capturing whatever memories of him I could.

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

zen garden
stands out

-- HSA Member Anthology, 2007

checkout time is noon
I turn in the key
and everything else

-- forthcoming book by same title

80th birthday
almost all her potted plants
still in bloom

-- Modern Haiku, 37:3, Autumn 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 Robert answered. You must be a published poet to participate.

Updates - 2/15/2010

Kaji Aso Studio Haiku Contest

You may send as many haiku or senryu as you like at $2 each: type or neatly print your submissions (you may put them all on a single sheet of paper if you wish). If you send senryu, please mark them as such. Be sure to include your email address and/or an SASE so that we can notify you of the results!

Our first prize is $250; second $100; third $50; senryu $50. We also offer an Elizabeth Searle Lamb award of $50.

Please send all entries to:

Kaji Aso Studio
40 Saint Stephen Street
Boston, MA 02115

If you'd like to see the winning entries of recent years past, please click here.

All entries must be mailed by APRIL 15, 2010. All rights revert to the authors after June, 2010 when the winners will be announced.

The Kaji Aso Studio is a center for the arts in Boston founded by Japanese painter, poet, and musician Kaji Aso to promote a positive, nature-centered philosophy and practice of art. We have held classes and hosted hundreds of exhibitions, concerts, and readings reading for over thirty years. The Studio is also the home of the Boston Haiku Society, which meets here every third Saturday of the month. If you live in or near Boston or are in town, please join us!

John Ziemba

Kuni Shimizu sent this:

Curtis san:

I recently found an interesting website where you can publish e-books. I've put together some of my haiga.

all the best,

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Margaret Hehman-Smith - Three Questions

In the fall of 1997, I drove to Borders Book Store in Long Beach, California. I had read an item in Borders Newsletter stating there would be a haiku meeting that afternoon on the second floor. I took the stairs and expected to see a group of people gathering around. I looked all over but could not find what I expected. Then I saw a distinguished-looking gentleman sitting on a couch, reading. I approached and asked, “Excuse me. Would you happen to know if there is a haiku poetry meeting?” He looked up, smiled, and said, “I’m it.”

This is how I met Dojin Jerry Ball and I have enjoyed his dead-pan humor ever since.

I was the first to join the Southern California Haiku Study Group. It took us six months before we found committed members. After several years of meetings, we had to leave Borders because they were remodeling. Then, Jerry and his wife Sandy moved to northern California. We looked all over for a meeting place. Finally, Debbie Kolodji secured a spot for the SCHSG at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena. We’ve been there several years now and it has been the perfect setting.

1) Why do you write haiku?

Haiku is such a challenge for a small poem. The idea is to write something about nature that caught your eye. But don’t tell the reader how you feel about it. Let him add his own emotions. I had to learn a new vision such as perceiving a poem one way, and then something appears that wasn’t there before. At times it is other-worldly. I love to have my eyes opened wider reading someone’s haiku.

2) What other poetry forms do you enjoy?

I have written free verse for years. My best publication was a full page of poetry with a photo of me and my dog Jason in “The Chiron Review,” a national magazine. edited by Gerald Locklin. I have also published a novella about baboons living in Africa titled “Mystories of the Savannah,” available on Amazon.

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

Here are some of my favorite haiku.

December chill
the thinness of her body
as we hug goodbye

Frogpond 2001

full moon
the static
in his touch

The Heron’s Nest 2007

small window
wail of the loon pulls me
past the ticking clock

Modern Haiku 1998

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

Robert Spiess Memorial Award Haiku Competition

Here's a quick reminder from Billie Wilson:

The in-hand deadline for this year’s Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Awards is March 13. Details are available at Modern Haiku.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A message from Penny Harter

Because I just learned that att.worldnet will no longer be hosting personal web sites after March 15th, I want everyone to know that the William J. (Bill) Higginson's "renku" and "haikai" sites that were still being hosted on have been moved; now all of Bill's sites are now available on our (my) domain,

That link takes you to the main gateway to both my and Bill's sites. Links in "Bill's Main Menu", found on his home page, are active if underlined. Since Bill's att-hosted sites will disappear on 3/15, please take note and update your records. And please forward this change to any other lists or folks who might want to know.

Thanks from snowy & "blizzard conditions expected later today" New Jersey,


Here are most of the current locations for important pages on Bill's migrated sites:

~Bill's press kit is archived on this site, at:

~Bill's general book reviews can be found at:

~Bill's old Publications Received page is archived at

~Haikai Home can now be accessed at, and is the entry point for his whole haiku and related genres web site

~Renku Home is at, and takes visitors into the world of Japanese-style linked poetry with examples and articles on how-to and the background on this fascinating collaborative poetry.

~Wordfield's Haikai Pub, with its reviews of newly received or acquired books, journals, and other haikai materials, will remain at its present location on the Web site.

And, should you wish to research a comprehensive listing of Web resources related to haiku, senryu, tanka, haibun, haiga, and the publication and enjoyment of same in English, the Open Directory's "Haiku and Related Forms" pages are still here:


Penny Harter
poet, teaching artist, children's author

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Yu Chang - Three Questions

Yu Chang resides with his family in Schenectady, NY. Since 2001 he has been editor of the biannual anthology of haiku and senryu, Upstate Dim Sum ( His first collection of poems, seeds, is now available from Red Moon Press.

1) Why do you write haiku?

I don't really know. All I can say is that I like the feeling I get when I write haiku: life is free and simple; I can put mud on my face and laugh at the same time. Maybe that's why I am always looking forward with pleasure to our Upstate Dim Sum monthly haiku meetings.

2) What other poetry forms do you enjoy?

I also enjoy dabbling in haibun, haiga, and renku.

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

Today's choices:

new in town
the scent
of unknown flowers

(1999 Henderson Award)

old passport
the tug
of my father's smile

(Upstate Dim Sum 2001/II)

different pace
at the water's edge
the sandpiper and I

(Acorn 2004)

Thank you so much, Curtis, for doing the series.

Happy New Year!


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

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday updates - 2/6/2010

Krawiec to Teach Haiku Seminar
at World View Conference

Richard Krawiec has been asked to teach a seminar on 'How to Teach Haiku' at the 2010 World View Conference, which will be held at UNC Chapel Hill this year. This is an international conference that trains K-12 and community college instructors on 'Best Practices in Education' from around the world. Richard will train teachers on how to teach haiku.

The offer came about because of feedback and observations of workshops that Richard has been teaching funded by the Duke East Asia and Pacific Studies Program. Richard writes: "So it's based on direct observation of the work I do, by people I don't know, which makes it especially rewarding for me."

The 1000 Verse Renga

Alan Summers sent this message to the members of The 1000 Verse Renga:

Please check out Area 17 blog:

about a number of 1000 Verse Renga Projects.

This is going to be the second exciting year for the Project.

founder/writer With Words

Sea, Mist and Sitka Spruce

William Scott Galasso announces a new book. Sea, Mist and Sitka Spruce is a new collection of over 150 haiku, senryu, tanka, haibun and short poems, 100+ pages w/ color photography. The book is $15.00 (includes postage & shipping), checks payable to the author. Address: 724 Walnut St. Edmonds, WA 98020. Further info is available via my new email address: Thanks for your support.

May you enjoy a wonderful and inspiring 2010.

My very best wishes,



An open theme haiku contest with proceeds going to the Haiku Pathway project.

Thanks to Katikati Advertiser for sponsoring the bulk of the cash prizes - 18 & over: $NZ100 for first; $NZ50 for second and $NZ25 for third; 17 & under: $NZ50, $NZ25, $NZ15.


- Poems should preferably be typewritten, otherwise clearly handwritten.

- Haiku should not have been previously published (including on the web or broadcast).

- Unlimited entries.

- Submit 2 copies of each haiku with 1 only including your name, address, phone number (no mobiles, please), e-mail address, and for the junior section only, your age. Putting several poems on an A4 sheet is fine.

- Entry fee: Within NZ: 18 & over $5 for 3 haiku or $2 for 1 haiku. 17 & under $1 for up to 2 haiku. For overseas entrants: $US5/3 haiku or $US2/haiku.

- Entries in hand by Friday, April 16. Post to: Katikati Haiku Contest, PO Box 183, Katikati 3166, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

- Results will be announced and presented on Sunday, June 6.

- A judge’s report will be sent by email, otherwise please include a stamped addressed envelope.

- Any entry not accompanied by the correct entry fee will be disqualified. Entrants send cash at their own risk.

- Inquiries to

Details about the World Haiku Festival 2010 In Nagasaki are located at the following link:

Charlie Smith sent this link to the 3rd Annual Hexapod Haiku Challenge:

Saša Važić sent the following links to the 2009 and 2010 Haiku Presence Awards:

Saša also sent this link to the 2009 Haiku Senryu Tanka Rengay results:

Kate MacQueen and Deborah Finkelstein submitted these links:

Sun CEO Tweets His Departure

Sun Microsystems' 'CEO no more': a haiku for his last day

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Poets and Poems - Bud Caywood

Mt. Le Conte
For John Coltrane

I imagine sheets of a slow sipping sound
in the black corners of a coffee house;
guttural chords etching the film of cigarette smoke
into the burnt tin ceiling tiles,
and the red neon sign outside jumping
like skinned knuckles bleeding.
The first time I heard a John Coltrane song
my brain formed echoes of a generation gone;
shadow people, projected on coffee house walls,
hot passions and indigo moods smoldering,
that big brass sax rattling every ear
as they begin to snort, smoke and carry on
like Sodom and Gomorrah.
In his mellow fallow of dizzy sounds
I wish I could have seen his desperate cheeks
swelling like black balloons,
that rat-tat-boom he played in those dark places;
lips, fingers, eyes, gone or going,
breath burned out, his warm-wet air tasteless;
the sax like sex has no inhibitions with strangers,
morning comes and you hide your eyes
from the thick sin between music and heavy breathing,
and he played that way.
His horn in darkness is a kind of blue note
sliding away from synthesis of pain,
and burns in my ears like the hum of a moving river;
my spine feeling his fingertips pumping rhythm
like the rolling mimes of the encroaching Eros
moving toward a slow warm night.
When he died on earth,
one large soundless hole was left wide open.

[Bud Caywood will be reading his work at the Bethlehem Branch Library Poetry Reading in Bethlehem, NC on February 18th at 7:00pm along with Anne Chandonnet, Scott Owens, and Tim Peeler.]

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.

A New Year's Message & A Haiku Workshop

Here is a wonderful message and beautiful artwork from Merrill Gonzales:

Happy Lunar New Year of the Tiger

The Tiger is compatible with the Dog and the Horse and is also in harmony with the Pig. The sign opposite the Tiger is the Monkey and it is said that if the Monkey and the Snake (which also has a hard time in the year of the Tiger) puts a Pig in their pocket it will ease their way through the Year of the Tiger.

I enjoy the myths surrounding these ancient ways of seeing the world and making sense of things in their lives. I am reminded of the old Jewish saying that "God made man because he loved stories." And although I am a Christian it is not incompatible with my own belief in GOD and JESUS to try to understand what the ancients were trying to explain with regard to the people and events in their lives. I find it very interesting and rewarding.

I wish everyone a very Happy Lunar New Year of the Tiger. It may be a hectic year ... so hang onto your friends everyone... Let's give everyone a little extra care as some may be having a hard time...but with a little grace it could be the best year yet.

first laugh —
the baby makes a face
at his toy tiger...

[Art and haiku by Merrill Gonzales]

Deborah P Kolodji posted this message on Facebook. I repost here for readers who are not members of Facebook.

Raining Haiku...

On Saturday, Naia and I attended a "winter rain" haiku workshop at the Penisula Center Library in Rolling Hills Estates. Oleg Kagan was the facilitator and he developed a wonderful program around Penny Harter's haiku workshop chapter in The Haiku Handbook (Chapter 12).

Although the workshop was named "winter rain" after a David Lanoue translation of Issa, the day was bright and sunny. Oleg took it in stride. "This should be the beautiful day haiku workshop!" he said.

But all sun aside, it is raining. Raining haiku. It is splashing up everywhere, in unexpected places like road signs in WeHo.

In addition to Rebecca Lowry's haiku art installation, haiku has been recently spotted on Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry, in a J.D. Salinger obituary, and in Valentine displays at local bookstores, filled with Love Haiku, a new book of translations by Patricia Donegan with Yoshie Ishibashi.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday updates 2/2/2010

Here is a special message from Norman Darlington:

The Plenitude of Emptiness: YOUR ASSISTANCE REQUESTED

Dear Friends

Following on the news of the very serious nature of our dear friend Hortensia Anderson's illness, we announce our intention to make available in print, The Plenitude of Emptiness: Collected Haibun by Hortensia Anderson.

This book, in accordance with Hortensia's wishes, will be edited and published by Norman Darlington and Moira Richards during 2010. It will be made available throughout the world via POD, at only the cost of printing and delivery. The book will include as many of Hortensia's published and unpublished haibun as we are able to find, and in which search we request your assistance.

Please mail us at (plenitude.of.emptiness [at] gmail [dot] com) with information about any material that might add to this, a lasting tribute to the brave and gifted woman who is friend and inspiration to so many.

Norman Darlington
Moira Richards

The new issue of Sketchbook is online featuring cover art by Gillena Cox.

The February issue of The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature is online, featuring Six New Black History Month Poems.

The New Issue of World Haiku Review is online:,january2010

Saša Važić sent this:

Periplum #7: Saša Važić by David G. Lanoue

Saša's poems are also featured this week on the Shreve Memorial Library's Electronic Poetry Network.