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D. Claire Gallagher



1941 – 2009

D. Claire Gallagher, a woman of boundless energy and enormous talent, extraordinary haiku poet and friend to many in the community, passed away at home, surrounded by family, on Friday, July 17, 2009, after a long bout with cancer. She left this world as gracefully as she lived in it. Surviving her are her husband Patrick Gallagher, also a haiku poet, and loving children and grandchildren.

Claire became interested in haiku in 1991 after reading Wes Nisker’s commentary on haiku in his book Crazy Wisdom. Two years later she attended a meeting of the Haiku Poets of Northern California (HPNC) and quickly became active in that group, the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, and the Haiku Society of America, and remained so till the end of her life. She served as HSA Regional Coordinator for Northern California. She was co-editor of Mariposa, the membership journal of HPNC, from 1999 to 2007 and played a major role in shaping this fine periodical. She served also on the editorial staff of the Red Moon Anthology. Her haiku have been published in numerous journals and anthologies and have won or placed in many contests in the USA and abroad. Among her many honors were a First Place in the 2007 HSA Harold Henderson haiku contest and Second Place in the 1998 HSA Gerald Brady senryu contest, as well as top honors in the HPNC San Francisco International contests, the Snapshot Press Calendar Awards, the NLAPW Poetry Contest, the British Haiku Society’s Hackett Award Contest, and the Yuki Teikei Society’s Tokutomi Contest. As winner of the Virgil Hutton manuscript contest, her chapbook, How Fast the Ground Moves, was published in 2001 by Saki Press. A newer collection of her haiku, The Nether World, is forthcoming from Red Moon Press.

Claire described herself as having been “born a Californian in Wisconsin.” She was raised in Western Pennsylvania and it was 43 years before she arrived physically on the “Left Coast” in Sunnyvale, California. Her career included incarnations as a potter, educator, radio journalist, technical writer, and naturalist hike leader for a land preserve agency. In addition to reading and writing haiku, which contributed to her living “more mindfully and more heartfully,” among the joys and talents that enriched her life were hiking and traveling with her husband, gardening, ikebana, collage, Chinese brush painting, and spending time with her family and friends. She was always keenly aware of the world of natural wonders around her, and she delighted in sharing her excitement and knowledge with friends and family, most especially with her grandchildren.

She will be greatly missed.

Carolyn Hall


                                         A selection of her work:

                                                        I sprinkle chili powder
                                                        across the ant trail —
                                                        that tune in my head

                                                        (frogpond XXVII: 1)

                                                        breakwater —
                                                        the hush after
                                                        my opinion

                                                        (frogpond XXVII: 2)

                                                        perfume vial —
                                                        the unstopped

                                                        (frogpond XXIX: 2)

                                                        seeds planted —
                                                        counting the seconds
                                                        after lightning

                                                        (frogpond XXVII: 3)

                                                        full briefcase—
                                                        ragged clouds follow
                                                        ragged clouds

                                                        after love
                                                        the sweet burst
                                                        of cherry tomato

                                                        (How Fast the Ground Moves, 2001)

Special thanks to Carolyn Hall for sharing her thoughts and words on her dear friend.

For additional news on Claire’s passing, and different selections of her work, Curtis Dunlap has two posts here and here in honor of her on his Blogging Along Tobacco Road.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Wonderful tribute & selection of haiku.

    I’m particularly struck by the pun, Proustian theme, and aptness of this one:

    perfume vial —
    the unstopped

Comments are closed.

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