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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Haiku by Liz and Yours Truly in ACORN



Greetings, Poetry Friends! For those in the Northern Hemisphere, I hope you are having a lovely fall. Many recent weather challenges in parts of the US, I know.

Fall brings acorns, and if you are a serious fan of haiku, perhaps it should bring the haiku journal Acorn to your doorstep. When I first fell into the form, I fell in love with this gem of a journal. I enjoyed and studied it, and have been fortunate to have my own poems appear in it over the years.

Founded by A.C. Missias in 1998, Acorn was edited by Carolyn Hall when I discovered it. Susan Antolin took over editorial reins in 2012. The selective pocket-sized journal, with its simple layout and contributors from around the world, is published twice a year.

My poem in the current issue is one of several I've written after visiting our son, Seth, in Asheville. He is doing a service-year internship there with an urban ministry program which primarily serves those experiencing homelessness, as well as others in the community. After taking Seth out to breakfast one quiet Sunday morning, as we walked a few blocks back to our car, I was struck by the following image:


empty street
she stoops to pocket
a half-cigarette



©Robyn Hood Black
Acorn, No. 39: Fall 2017



This week Charlotte Digregorio asked if she could feature this poem as a daily haiku on her terrific Writer's Blog. (Thank you, Charlotte!)

(To simply move on from my poem without further explication, skip this wee paragraph.) Heavy-handed poetic devices are avoided in haiku, but subtle ones can be slipped in if they don't detract from the images. In this poem, I thought the consonance of "st" and "p" sounds worked, because the reader is stopped by them somewhat, as the subject stops to pick up a used cigarette. Also, the word "stoop" can carry more than one connotation. Its meaning as a noun might even come to mind, silently suggesting a resting place where an unhoused person might rest or sleep for a spell at the entrance to a building.

Back to Acorn...

I was delighted to see a poem by our own Elizabeth Steinglass in the current issue as well.

Liz is another big fan of the journal.

"I love holding a volume of Acorn in my hand," she says. "It's just the right size and the paper is beautiful, but in a subtle way that provides a perfect backdrop for the haiku."

In the way of haiku, hers is both timeless and timely. I believe many will find that it particularly resonates this week, so I leave you with her rich words.


hands cupped
around a fragile flame
candlelight vigil



©Elizabeth Steinglass
Acorn, No. 39: Fall 2017



(Thanks for sharing, Liz.) Love and light to those who especially need it this week.

One pocket of our Poetry Friday universe which always offers warmth and light is Jama's Alphabet Soup - Visit Jama today for both, and for the Roundup!
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Poetry Friday - Haiku Old and New (Anthologies)



Happy Poetry Friday the 13th!

Are you a fan of Dover Publications? I seem to have a few in various bookshelves and stacks, including some at my studio with such titles as Masterpieces of Illuminated Letters and Borders and Florid Victorian Ornament, among others. While online recently, I came across a Dover Thrift Editions volume titled THE CLASSIC TRADITION OF HAIKU – An Anthology, edited by Faubion Bowers. At just $3 for a new copy, I couldn’t pass it up! I’m not sure how it had evaded my haiku shelves before.

Originally published in 1996, it includes a short foreword with a bit of history and explanation, and then more than 150 poems written between 1488 and 1902 by Japanese poets, with translations into English by more than 40 scholars. Often more than one translation is provided for a poem.

I am enjoying making my way through this slim volume!

Here is an autumn poem, translated by Patricia Donegan and Yoshie Ishibashi:

akikaze no / yama o mawaru ya / kane no koe

the autumn wind
resounds in the mountain –
temple bell


Chiyo-ni (1703-1775), one of the few female haiku master poets of her time


You can find this paperback collection at Dover Publications or on Amazon , with online versions free or nearly free as well.

Speaking of anthologies, I’m also enjoying the new Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology for 2017, on down the road, edited by LeRoy Gorman. I don’t always have my act together to submit on time, but I did this year.
(Our own Jone Rush MacCulloch has a beautiful haiku in this collection as well.)

My poem seems timely right about now, so here you are:


sea fog
the ghost story
I almost remember


©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Speaking of ghosts, in my studio I’m conjuring up several pieces of haunted jewelry and slowly getting them listed in my Etsy shop this Friday the 13th. Mwah haaa haaa. (Update - I made a separate little "haunted jewelry" section this weekend - Click here if you'd like to see!)

And one more thing about haiku anthologies - The Living Haiku Anthology is an ambitious, online project seeking to collect and present "all styles and approaches to haiku ... from a global perspective, for the benefit of those able to discern those true gems assurgent in the current foment," as described by Dr. Richard Gilbert, Professor, Graduate School of Social and Cultural Sciences, Kumamoto University, Japan, in his introduction at the LHA site. He adds, "Please reach out to other poets and let them know the LHA extends an open invitation to published haiku poets of all countries wishing to be presented and represented." I submitted several poems and my page was added this week. :0)

For all kinds of Friday the 13th fun, please visit our Irrepressible and Iridescent Irene, who is bravely rounding up this week!  Read More 
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Poetry Friday - Happy Fall, Y'all.... with Haiku


Happy Autumnal Equinox!

My favorite season, Fall - and I recall it's a favorite of many Poetry Friday-ers. I went hunting for some fall haiku written by yours truly and was surprised to discover I had far more from winter, spring, and summer. Maybe because fall always seems to be the busiest season?

I did make a fall-friendly note card for sale in my artsyletters shop on Etsy, featuring a poem by Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828) translated by poet and scholar Dr. David G. Lanoue, who kindly agreed to let me use it:


traveling geese
the human heart, too,
wanders


Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue.


And I discovered that one of my earliest published haiku was a fall one:


autumn breeze
escorted to the mailbox
by an acorn



Notes from the Gean, Dec. 2011 (No longer publishing.)


I also found another I wrote as a kind of "desk haiku" - not my usual, but it came about as I was describing 'process' for a blog post a while back, now an essay on my Haiku page. [The link is the second PDF under "FOR WRITERS" - (the 5-page one)!] Anyway, here's the finished sample haiku:


burning leaves
a V of geese
regroups



Poems ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


I hope your fall is full of all your favorite things - colorful maple leaves, woodsmoke, hot chocolate perhaps? Acorns and squirrel chatter? Holiday planning? By the way, which do you usually say - 'autumn' or 'fall'? :0)

Whatever you call it, it's a great season to visit a farm - especially a Poem Farm. Thanks to Amy for hosting the Round Up today! When you stop by, be sure to congratulate her on her brand new wonderful book, READ, READ, READ just released from Wordsong! (CONGRATS, Amy!)
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Poetry Friday - The Poems I Swapped this Summer


Thank Goodness it’s Poetry Friday – after quite a week.

I hope you and yours are safe and sound. We made it through Irma’s visit to the Lowcountry, though Monday here was wild and woolly. (Our house is on high ground. Unfortunately, some downtown businesses flooded, and there was so much damage to our local state park beach, Hunting Island, that after just barely opening after Hurricane Matthew’s devastation last October, it’s now closed for the rest of the year because of Irma’s destruction.)

With almost all of our family in Florida and North Georgia, we were glued to The Weather Channel and the cell phones. Evacuation here was not mandatory, and any friends and family we were originally planning to escape to ended up in Irma’s path! Most have power back now, though not all, and we are grateful for no injuries or serious property damage for our folks. Thoughts and prayers for so many who cannot say that this week, and for those in the Caribbean whose lives have been altered beyond recognition, and for those in Texas still reeling from Harvey.

Hurricane Season continues, but the calendar tells me we’re almost to fall. Today I’m sharing peeks of the three Summer Poem Swap poems I sent out. I’ve been so distracted this summer, I don’t think I took any pictures of the last two matted or framed! Pretend they're finished in the pictures. ;0)

For Joy Acey, I made a found poem taken from a wonderful vintage book she had given me a while back for my artistic pillaging, MARVELS OF ANIMAL LIFE by Charles Frederick Holder (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1885).


light givers,

like

moon

ripples of molten silver

appear

to

romancers of the pen in

words



I topped off the text with acrylic washes and a pearlized button, metal heart, pen nib, and watch face with patina – all vintage.

For Tabatha – Founding Mother of and Inspiration for our wonderful Poem Swaps (!) – I found myself wanting to do something with her “Poetry Monster” from a while back, after playing around with some old typewriter levers and feeling like they were some kind of fanciful creatures disguised in metal.

So on an actual 1909 map of Maryland that I clipped from an old atlas, I arranged elements from her blog, making a kind of found poem from a page posted three years ago:


Subscribe To
Wider Thoughts

Tabatha

your

Poetry
Art
Music

give us

life



(I took my ‘signature’name from that page too, from the comments!)

For fun, I arranged my fanciful creature – a magical horse? Dragon? – so that its head would arc right over Tabatha’s home town on the map.

Finally, for Amy , a haiku that came to me as spring began to fold itself into summer, while we were visiting family in Georgia. We happened upon a nest of robins in a hanging basket just outside my in-laws’ back door, about the time the babies were ready to go. Amy was in my heart as I thought of her sending her firstborn off to college.


approaching solstice
fledgling at the edge
of the nest



[Poems ©Robyn Hood Black.]


I matted the poem and sent it along. For an extra gift, in light of all the kitties Amy and her family have adopted and fostered and found homes for, I sent a new gift pack from my Etsy shop – for Cat Lovers! It includes a pack of my yin/yang – cats-on-a-rug note cards, a pewter bookmark with cats carousing from end to end, to which I’ve dangled another pewter cat charm (which is itself dangling a wee little mousie by its tail), and a magnet featuring a vintage cats US postage stamp.

A little poignant for me this week, as our beautiful Lance who photo-bombed my post a couple of weeks ago got some news that none of us wanted from the vet. He is acting okay for now, but he has cancer. He has had a good, long life and we will give him all the TLC and tuna he wants as we enter this bittersweet season with him.

Many thanks again to Tabatha for dreaming up and organizing the Summer (& Winter) Poem Swaps, and to all in this special community. If you missed any of the treasures I received from Joy, Margaret, or Michelle Kogan, just scroll back to recent summer posts!

Our magnificent Michelle Heidenrich Barnes has today’s Roundup at Today’s Little Ditty, and I’m thankful she and others in our Florida Poetry Family made it through the hurricane as well.  Read More 
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Poetry Friday - A Big Black Boot & Bottle Rockets Press (Haiku)




Greetings, Summer Poetry Friends!

I hope your season has brought fun in the sun and freedom to linger over late sunsets.

We've had a good summer over here on the coast, with a week of vacationing at the beach late last month with our visiting kids (& their dogs). I missed long walks on the beach, though, and proper frolics in the waves, as I've been trying to keep my Achilles tendon (what's left of it) in one piece since early June. It's the one I ruptured seven years ago, and for all those years until now its been fine - until an "overuse" injury sent me to my neuromuscular massage therapist/PT. (I still have to see her because of a neck injury three years ago, but that's another story.)

Anyway, she suggested the dreaded black boot. I evidently tossed the one I had before when we moved, so I had to go purchase one. I'm not in it every waking moment; I also wear an ankle brace when I have to drive, etc. - but it's been a couple of months of soaking in Epsom salts and icing and such. Soft sand is the worst for tendons and muscles, so I wore the boot clunking down the boardwalk and onto the beach, with one kitchen-sized trash bag inside as a liner and two on the outside. That actually worked to keep out sand, by the way.

One reason I'm recounting all this is because it was inspiration, as it were, for a haiku just published in the brand new issue of bottle rockets:


years later
my Achilles heel
still just that



bottle rockets, #37, Vol. 19, No. 1

If you don't know bottle rockets, it's a well respected print journal of haiku, senryu, & short verse published by Stanford M. Forrester, whom you've met here before! In addition to the journal, he also offers specialty letterpress printing services through Wooden Nickel Press. (His books are gorgeous.) Click here for more information about both.

Now, it's hard missing a big black boot, and I've actually high-fived similarly attired perfect strangers on the street in recent weeks, or at least exchanged knowing nods. Not all challenges are front and center like that, however. Did you read Tabatha's thoughtful, kind post about "invisible illnesses"? Here's the link if you missed it. I was also touched by the comments, including Margaret's, who reminds us that you might meet a cancer patient and not know it from that person's appearance.

My own wonderful mom starts chemo for colon cancer next week, after a successful but intensive surgery last month. Her attitude and faith are strong - I don't know if I could be so positive myself in her shoes! She's taking everything as it comes and responding in inspiring ways. My folks live in Orlando, and most of the rest of my family members live in neighboring counties.

I want to drive down and be with her for some of those treatment weeks (she's scheduled for a six-month course), so I've extricated myself from some volunteering, namely, the Regional Coordinator position for the Haiku Society of America. I'll still be a supportive cast member in the wings. I'm grateful that one of our generous members and oh-so-talented poets, Michael Henry Lee, has stepped up to take over.

And I'm grateful for Tabatha's insights, reminders, and open heart.

And speaking of Margaret, I just clicked to see that she is rounding up Poetry Friday today at Reflections on the Teche! Thanks, Margaret. I do love this community so!
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Poetry Friday - Poem Swap Sparkles from Joy Acey (& ISSA book winner announced...)

Summer Greetings!

I hope you are enjoying some time by some body of water to enjoy poetry... or, for those of you Down Under or otherwise across the globe, some cozy reading time under a fuzzy blanket!

The Summer Poem Swap, lovingly coordinated by Tabatha , is ON. Funny, I was late getting my first poem out, and so was the person I was swapping with... Joy Acey. Ha! A perfect match.

Joy still beat me to the post office punch, however. I was delighted to open the above colorful painting with tiny letter blocks, which had traveled all the way from Hawaii. Here's the haiku:


just after the rains
over the long dewy grass
sparkling fireflies



©Joy Acey. Used with permission.

Doesn't that make you smile? (She even included instructions on how to use the shipping box as a frame!)

For me it evokes summer evenings in my Tennessee grandparents' back yard, which, back then, continued right through a fence into a hilly pasture. My brother and I would catch the blinking marvels in jars, and they seemed such a wonder.

Still do! We saw some last weekend at our little rental house in hilly Asheville while visiting Seth. Joy has some firefly-inspiring NC roots, too.

I recently shared with the HSA SE folks a firefly haiku by Issa, In David G. Lanoue's new WRITE LIKE ISSA:


the dog sparkling
with fireflies
sound asleep


Translated by David G. Lanoue.


Which brings me to.... (drumroll...) the winner of the WRITE LIKE ISSA book giveaway-- Big Congrats to Christie Wyman! (Christie, email me your real-world address, and I'll get your book on its way. Enjoy!)

Be sure to flicker on over to Random Noodling, where Diane is gathering up this week's Roundup. And for her purrrrfectly WONDERFUL feline HAIKU, scroll back through her recent posts!

Before you go, perhaps you'll leave a favorite firefly memory in the comments? :0)

(PS - I'll be traveling next week - a family member is having surgery - and might have to catch you again the week after. Wishing all a happy and safe Fourth!)
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Poetry Friday - Book Giveaway! WRITE LIKE ISSA by David G. Lanoue


Happy Summer-ing, Poetry Lovers (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway)!

Are you a haiku fan, or would you like to learn more about how to write – and/or teach – haiku? I have the PERFECT book, hot off the press and not even “formally” released yet, for you to tuck into your beach bag.

It’s Write Like Issa by one of my favorite champions of haiku, Dr. David G. Lanoue. (You’ve met David here before. Poet, author, and internationally recognized Issa scholar, he’s been the RosaMary Professor of English at Xavier University of Louisiana since 1981 and recently served three terms as president of the Haiku Society of America . Learn more about David at his rich website, haikuguy.com . For more about Issa, click here, and to search through an archive of more than 10,000 of Issa’s haiku translated by David, click here.)

Now for a little gushing about this new book. Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828) is beloved around the world, partly because he’s, well, so much like us. Fellow haiku masters Bashō (1644-94) and Buson (1716-1784) have lifetimes of wisdom to teach, of course. But Issa, whose personal history included much hardship, loss, and tragedy, captivates us with his compassionate, down-to-earth poetry, which also still somehow conveys joy and humor.

In a little more than 100 pages, Write Like Issa offers the reader six lessons highlighting Issa’s approach to haiku, in easy-to-navigate chapters. Issa’s own poems serve as guides, but so do poems by contemporary poets – 57 of them – who have either participated in David’s “Write Like Issa” workshops in recent years, or whose writings exemplify an Issa-like sensibility.

Here are a couple of examples from Lesson 3 – “COMIC VISION. COSMIC JOKES”:


baby grass–
the stylish woman leaves
her butt print


Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

The author writes:

…the woman, we can imagine, is young, attractive, elaborately coiffed, and wrapped in a brightly patterned kimono of the latest style. The two images exude freshness and beauty, but surprisingly, when the pretty lady rises from where she has been sitting, she leaves an imprint of crushed grass. The “delicate” woman reveals herself to be, in fact, a gargantuan smasher of grass blades, viewed from the grass’s perspective….”

One of the contemporary poems offered to illustrate this approach is this one:

dinner time–
the old cat regains
his hearing


©Stanford M. Forrester. All rights reserved. Posted with permission.

David writes,

Poets who follow [Issa’s] lead find their own revelations of odd concatenations: a “deaf” cat that miraculously hears the call to dinner, [and other examples]… .

What’s a concatenation, you ask? I looked it up. “Concatonate,” which means “to link together in a series or chain,” was actually Merriam Webster’s “Word of the Day” on May 27. Here’s a short podcast explaining it.

(And if you can’t get enough cat haiku, check out our own Diane Mayr’s new series for summer launched last Friday.)

I’m honored to have a poem included in Write Like Issa, one of the most personal poems I’ve written. It appears at the end of Lesson 4 – “BOLD SUBJECTIVITY – THE ‘I’ HAS IT:

robin’s egg blue
how my father would have loved
my son


©Robyn Hood Black; originally published in Acorn 29 (Fall 2012).

If you’re serious about haiku, I heartily recommend reading as widely as you can in scholarly anthologies and books and journals to understand the history of English-language haiku and to inspire your own writing. BUT - whether or not that is your cup of tea, you can also start RIGHT HERE with this very accessible, hands-on, how-to volume full of insights and mentor poems to get you going.

If you’re a teacher, just a few enjoyable sittings will yield a greater understanding of haiku as you introduce it in the classroom, whether in an elementary school or a university. [Note – Some lessons explore Issa’s acceptance of all aspects of human and animal life – “potty humor” and lovemaking and flatulence not excepted! These discussions here, and in workshops I’ve taken with David, are actually helping me be a bit less uptight; in case you are on the somewhat reserved side like I am(?), I thought I’d pass along.]

By the way, have you had your Issa today? You can go to Yahoo.com (Groups) and subscribe to the DailyIssa Yahoo Group to have a randomly selected haiku, translated by David, appear in your inbox every day. (This is always the first email I open!) You can also follow @issa_haiku on Twitter .

In a note with one of this week’s poems, David writes:

Part of Issa's genius is his ability to imagine the perspective of fellow creatures.

In Write Like Issa, this idea comes to life in poem after poem, whether ‘fellow creatures’ are human or non-human. I dare you to reach the end of the book without trying out your own pen, writing like Issa to capture some honest moment experienced with sensitivity and compassion, or subtle humor, or delight.

Bu wait – there’s more! I love this book so much I bought an extra copy to give away in a random drawing. Just leave a comment below, and you’re entered! Make sure it’s connected to a valid email address (not published), so I can track you down for your real-world address.

[UPDATE: Just realized I never gave a "deadline" for adding a comment to enter the drawing. Let's say Wednesday, June 28, and I'll announce on Poetry Friday the 30th.]

Can’t wait? I understand. Order here at CreateSpace or here on Amazon, where an e-book is also available.

For more great poetry of all kinds today, pay a visit to the ever-curious Carol at Carol’s Corner for this week’s Roundup.  Read More 
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Poetry Friday - A Couple of Haiku and some Purring


Greetings, Poetry Lovers - I've missed you!

The last couple-few weeks were a whirlwind of getting our recent college grad Seth home, re-tooled, and back out the door to a neighboring state for a year's internship with a lively broad-based urban ministry program. There's nothing quite like leaving your (grown-up) baby in the tough inner city. Folks there are amazing, and prayers for all of them and the folks they serve would be welcome.

This week I'll just share a couple of recently published haiku, and next week - Woo-hooo! - I'll offer a peek inside David G. Lanoue's hot-off-the-press newest book, Write Like Issa - A Haiku How-to. My contributor's copy just arrived in my mailbox and I can't wait to fully dive in.

For today, though here two other and unrelated poems - the first might remind us that as we approach the summer solstice, the wheel will turn toward fall again before we know it.


shorter days
the orb weaver gone
from her web



Modern Haiku, 48.1, Winter-Spring 2017


And the second features our above-pictured XL-sized kitty, sometimes slightly demon-possessed, 13 and still full of himself. "Lance" does love to join anyone doing yoga or meditation, though, so he has a sensitive side....


morning meditation
the cat in my lap
purrs in, purrs out



The Heron's Nest, Volume XIX, Number 2: June 2017

Poems ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Hope you are enjoying these long days if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, shorter ones if on the other side of the world.

Thanks to our wonderful Mary Lee for hosting the Roundup this week at A Year of Reading! Poetry in, poetry out... Read More 
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Poetry Friday - Our Earth Day Haiku Weekend Recap!

“HONORING THE EARTH” – that was the theme of our Haiku Society of America Southeast Region’s meeting and workshop last weekend, over Earth Day. Eighteen of us from eight states gathered under the Spanish moss and ocean breezes at Epworth by the Sea, a Methodist conference center in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Epworth is home to natural beauty and a staff beyond compare.

Not sure how we managed it, but the weather was perfect. As regional coordinator and facilitator of this shind-dig, I was thrilled that even things out of my control went pretty smoothly, including travel Friday from New Orleans for speaker David G. Lanoue - poet, professor, Issa scholar, past president of the Haiku society of America, and author of several books You’ve met him here, when I recapped a terrific meeting put on by my predecessor, Terri L. French. Be sure to check out David’s multi-layered Haiku Guy website, where, like our lovely Linda Baie, you can learn how to sign up for Daily Issa poems!

Friday evening we got acquainted over dinner and later enjoyed readings by the “Coquina Circle,” a handful of haiku enthusiasts in the northern Florida/southern Georgia area. Paula Moore had a few poems by each member printed up on a gorgeous broadside and gave one to each attendee. (Thank you, Paula!)

I shared Robert Epstein’s new animal rights haiku books , and just before wrapping up, our other two speakers appeared at the door – Tom Painting and Stanford M. Forrester. Both are award-winning haiku poets; Tom and his students have been “regulars” here, and you might recall a brief blog wave to Stanford, a past president of the Haiku Society of America and founder and publisher of bottle rockets press.

The two travelers had driven from Atlanta, after Stanford’s flight from Connecticut was delayed. Stanford was not too weary to share his latest work – a wonderful, hand-printed, hand-bound mini chapbook titled “matcha.”

On Saturday, we added a commuting attendee to our ranks – our own Michelle Heidenrich Barnes! I loved having another Poetry Friday-er in the room. Tom led a workshop about bird haiku, and facilitated a writing exercise that was rich and inspiring. Then we grabbed binoculars and followed him outside. The birds were beginning to quiet down for the middle of the day, but we still encountered several, including an osprey and her chick on their nest at the top of a pole. Over the course of the weekend, expert Tom filled a list of 34 species; he said some more would no doubt come in the day after we left, because of an approaching front. (Of course, Tom was up and out at the crack of dawn each morning, and dusk, too.)

After lunch we had a business meeting, and then the aforementioned lovely and talented Terri L. French led us in a 10-minute standing yoga break outside on the grass. Perfect for loosening up muscles and brain cells. (Thank you, Terri!)

David led an afternoon workshop in an ongoing series he’s developed called “Write Like Issa.” Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828), perhaps the most beloved of the haiku masters, expressed compassion for human and nonhuman animals through his poetry, and touches of humor, despite his personal history of loss and poverty. Children in Japan are well acquainted with his work. According to David, one trick to writing like Issa is to express emotion without using emotional words. (Perhaps not as easy as it first appears, eh?)

During an afternoon break, many of us took Tom up on his offer to lead another bird walk, and we were soon rewarded with observing some active blue-gray gnatcatchers flitting up in the trees, and a couple of gorgeous wood storks, striking in black and white, soaring overhead.

We also came upon a discovery that stopped us in our tracks. On the Epworth campus, in a peaceful setting looking across green space to the river, is a memorial plaque set along a walk in memory of Peggy Willis Lyles. Peggy was a very fine, highly regarded poet, and she had been active in a north Georgia haiku group among many other endeavors. I happened to get serious about haiku around the time she passed away. I remember feeling such a loss that I would never have the chance to meet her. A few folks last weekend had known Peggy, and it was a poignant moment to discover her and her work celebrated in such a way. The plaque is shown above; here are a few poems featured on it:


wind and rain
the hand I reach for
in the dark


I brush
my mother’s hair
the sparks


waves beat
against an ocean
full of stars


spring sunbeam
the baby’s toes
spread apart


dragonfly
the tai chi master
shifts his stance


into the afterlife red leaves



All poems by Peggy Willis Lyles, from a plaque in her memory at Epworth by the Sea, St. Simons Island, Georgia.


On Saturday evening we enjoyed some informal haiku sharing and folks finished up entries for a modified kukai (haiku contest). One of our attendees, Joette, is also a musician and played some beautiful Japanese songs for us. (Thank you, Joette!)

(A few of us might have gone out afterwards to a somewhat hidden local watering hole for more discussion and even some pool-playing....)

Sunday morning, Stanford presented a session on Santoka Taneda (1882-1940). Santoka’s life, like Issa’s, had been wrought with pain and heartache, and his haiku reflect Nature in a much harsher light than in Issa’s poetry. It was fascinating to look at this aspect of works from both men as we assembled on Earth Day decades, and centuries, later.

David led the last session, sharing from his new book, Issa and Being Human. Issa wrote about every class of people, David reminded us, with ability to see from each person’s perspective. (We could use some more of that these days.) Issa could see life from the perspective of even the “lowliest” animals, too.

Our last scheduled event before our farewell lunch was the announcement of the kukai winner. Dennis Holmes (a.k.a. Gobou) judged our contest – and took photographs all weekend. (Thank you, Dennis!) He didn’t know who penned each poem, but the winning haiku he chose was by one of my favorite haiku poets, and all-around great guy, Michael Henry Lee. (Congrats, Michael!!) He received a nice monetary prize donated by a generous member. I’m not including Michael’s poem here, in case he has designs on submitting it somewhere.

But I did ask Dennis for permission to share one of the haiku he posted with his photos. It’s the perfect way to end a post about a weekend which filled our minds and hearts with inspiration and camaraderie.

a tern
in the sunset...
Earth Day


©Dennis Holmes, aka, Gobou

(Thanks again, Dennis.) I’m deeply grateful to Tom, David, and Stanford for leading us, for all who helped behind the scenes, and to all who came - each talented, fun, kind person I’m honored to swim in the haiku soup with: Joette, Sandi, Terri, Raymond, Paula, Michael, Kent, Dennis, Shirley (from Oregon!), Robyn (like the way she spells her name...), Michelle - :0) - , David, Jane, Perry, and Toni (long-distance). Thanks as well to our current HSA president, Fay Aoyagi, who planned to attend but could not because of a family emergency. We missed you!

And now for this last Poetry Friday of National Poetry Day, enjoy all the great offerings rounded up by JoAnn today at Teaching Authors.  Read More 
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Poetry Friday - Robert Epstein Discusses Animal Rights Haiku


Greetings, Poetry Month Celebrants!

I’m happy to share space here today with Robert Epstein, a California haiku poet and anthologist who is also a licensed psychotherapist. I mentioned his new anthology, Every Chicken, Cow, Fish and Frog (Middle Island Press), compiled with clinical psychologist and animal rights activist Miriam Wald, Ph.D., back in December, when I shared the poems of mine that appear in it. I promised more with Robert soon, and here we are!

Before the anthology, Robert also released a personal collection from Middle Island Press, Turkey Heaven: Animal Rights Haiku. I was delighted about the appearance of both of these books, as I’ve been an “ethical vegetarian” for nearly 30 years.

Next weekend is "HONORING THE EARTH" - the Earth Day weekend Haiku Society of America meeting and conference I’m coordinating in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Though Robert can’t join us in person for that, I look forward to introducing these two books to our attendees. And I’m happy to share a Q&A with Robert here today.  Read More 
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