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Messages - meghalls

One place to look for what is new in haiku is the Heliosparrow Poetry Journal.
Contests and Awards / Heliosparrow awards
April 10, 2024, 04:23:58 PM
The Haiku Frontier Awards, new this year from Heliosparrow Poetry Journal, have been announced.

Some here may be interested to see them-- a bit of a contrast to the Touchstones.
In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Re: sine qua non
November 12, 2021, 04:09:52 PM

Looking at poems published in a different  journals one might come to the conclusion that brevity is the sine qua non of haiku-- at least it is the one element that a variety of work shares. I am sure that many readers and writers of haiku will say that a haiku must (usually via a cut of some sort) create that difficult to describe quality called Ma. Many haiku don't do that of course. I have a preference for those that do, but
don't reject those that don't. Similarly with seasonality.

For me, what is foremost is that a poem justifies its extreme brevity by being memorable, and moving in some way-- humorous, surprising, poignant, etc. I start from there. My haiku/not haiku filter is not very strong, but it does exist. Hard to look at something 17 syllables long or even shorter and not, at least in the back of one's mind, think is this haiku? I don't always answer the question.

But I agree-- it would be interesting to know what others honestly think/feel about your question.

And maybe Alan is right in his suggestion that it is a question of what one prefers.

Is someone willing to talk about that?

My sense is that the forum primarily serves people who have come to haiku only recently and wish to
learn more. In that, it does a good service. I don't get the impression that many of the more "established" writers come here, though occasionally one sees posts by Paul M, Lorin Ford, and a few others.

On Troutswirl, features like Richard Gilbert's "Creative Blooms" does stimulate some discussion, though
it has been a while since he has offered something new. (Which is understandable-- clearly a lot of work goes into it). Sadly, re:Virals has not lived up to its potential.
In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Deleted
May 01, 2021, 02:22:38 PM
In-Depth Haiku: Free Discussion Area / Deleted
April 27, 2021, 02:28:48 PM
With apologies to Lorraine Pester, I have deleted my posts which were an attempt to start a discussion
on haiku and poetry.

Hello Michael. Well, for my part I'm not sure why you think I'm decrying anything. I'm not. In fact, I thought I was celebrating the two poems. Maybe I should not have posted in this particular thread, where the context is "deja-ku" (and other phenomena which you have shed much light on)  as this might lead some to think that I am suggesting there is a problem here. Not my intent.

I do see a strong similarity, though it may reside a bit more in the depths rather than in the details. The similarity I see, however, or experience, is probably not one that furthers the discussion at hand.
In light of this discussion, it is very interesting to come across two haiku in the June edition of The Heron's Nest:

sweltering heat
a hole in the backyard
bleeds scorpions
                                       Anthony Itopa Obaro

and this one:

heat shimmer
a stick on the verge
of snake
                                        Lorin Ford

For sure, the strong similarity here is purely coincidental-- no question of any kind of conscious or unconscious hanky panky. But damn interesting, especially as one poem is Lorin's-- a very good one I think. The other is also good, but because the editors gave it their top award, it does invite comparison.

I would say Obaro's the most visceral-- it is all sensation. (I should say here I did not read the editor's commentary). It does have a bit of the psychological, the author experiencing or imagining the earth as a body (which can bleed, as he can), but this mostly enhances the physical experience.

Lorin's is also visceral, but I think the psychological, or even mythic, dimension is more present. I sense it in the word "verge", creating a threshold or liminal space where the inanimate may become animate, and where the beholder may question her perceptions of what is real and what is not. And where the world is not an objective or solid thing, but "shimmers".

Very interesting to see these side by side. Other comparisons can be made, but my child is crying.

If I had a book of haiku, I think I would probably check to see if another had been published using the same title I was considering. But how would one know for sure? An e-book might escape such a search.

What could account for Sylvia Forges-Ryan using this title, or writing two haiku which feature the line "what light there is"? We may never know.

In my opinion Lorin's poem is considerably better than either of Sylvia's, for what that's worth.

And for what it's worth, the Irish poet Eamon Grennan in 1987 published a book with the same title.

But Lorin, I think you are right to set the record straight.



sometimes discussions begin in the Troutswirl blog but tend to get lost because features get archived pretty quickly. This happened with the announcement for the Touchstone Awards (individual poems) except I couldn't find the archive. I had to look on Facebook to get the link-- turns out the announcement was archived under "Uncategorized"-- who would know? Anyway, some comments may be of interest for discussion, so I'm copying the page here in case anyone wants to pick it up. (Please not the order of comments, which appear here as third, first, then second.


The Touchstone Individual Poems Award recognize excellence and innovation in English-language haiku and senryu published in juried public venues during each calendar year. The committee received overwhelming response to its call for submission for poems published in 2016, with 660 nominations. To those many editors and individual haiku poets who answered the call this year, a sincere thank you.

After much deliberation, the panel has selected a shortlist of poems that will move on to the final round. Many thanks to the distinguished panelists, Gary Hotham, Ron Moss, Renee Owen, Michele Root-Bernstein, Dietmar Tauchner and Diane Wakoski, who have been so generous with their time and effort over the past few months.

Award-recipients will be selected from the following list. Final results are scheduled to be announced in mid April. Author names are in alphabetical order:

new home
we unpack
our old habits

     — Debbi Antebi, Failed Haiku 1.6

off to on I disappear into the visible

     — Francine Banwarth, Frogpond 39:3

winter sun
a crow gives in
to the wind

     — Brad Bennett, Presence 55


where the river ran
this bed of stones

     — Susan Constable, Acorn 36

the world winnowed down

to wheat

     — Alan S. Bridges, The Heron's Nest 18:2

midnight call
his car
a pumpkin

     — Helen Buckingham, Mayfly 60

night sky
I release the minnows
all at once

     — Glenn Coats, Acorn 36

late winter
I hit the bottom
of my fantasy world

     — Robert Epstein, Mariposa 34

slip one knit one the pattern of winter bones

     — Lorin Ford, Living Haiku Anthology contest

the length of the night when it matters why

     — Samar Ghose, Sonic Boom 5


     — LeRoy Gorman, is/let 1

drunk on snow melt
from your clavicles
wolf moon

     — Anita Guenin, Living Haiku Anthology contest

death what kind of plan is that

     — Carolyn Hall, Mariposa 34

the squeak of tulips
into a vase . . .
hospice reception

     — Michele L. Harvey, Frameless Sky 4

campfire light
the color returns
to dead leaves

     — Alexander B. Joy, The Heron's Nest 18:1

whale vertebrae
drifting from one god
to another

     — Nicholas Klacsanzky, A Hundred Gourds 5:3

all day rain
the weight of trees
in my bones

     — Ben Moeller-Gaa, Modern Haiku 47.3

the groundhog's shadow
white where there shouldn't be
on her mammogram

     — Elliot Nicely, Modern Haiku 47.2

November wind
the hollow places
that form a song

     — Peter Newton, The Heron's Nest 18:1

slow thunder

a lizard's ribs
 against concrete

     — Polona Oblak, The Heron's Nest 18:2

death anniversary . . .
his fading odor
in treasured shirt

     — Aparna Pathak, Wild Plum 2:2

wheeling her chair
through leaf fall . . .
we sure knew how to dance

     — Bill Pauly, The Heron's Nest 18:4

darkness . . .
her name slips
into it

     — Dave Read, Acorn 37

restringing fence wire —
meadowlark's song one post
ahead of the wind

     — Chad Lee Robinson, Mariposa 35

thin harvest —
I salt the bitterness
out of the gourd

     — Carl Seguiban, The Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Award contest

last day of summer
the taste of the wooden stick
inside the ice cream

     — Katrina Shepherd, The Heron's Nest 18:4

house clearance
room by room by room
my mother disappears

     — Alan Summers, Blithe Spirit 26.1

winter night —
the last tram carrying
only the light

     — Eduard Tara, 2016 Concorso Internazionale Haiku in Lingua Italiana

length of the night

on her knitting needles

     — Maria Tomczak, The Heron's Nest 18:3
Bruce Feingold
Chair, Touchstone Awards

Comment #3

Meg Halls says
April 15, 2017 at 11:11 am
Hello Peter and others who may be interested. I do agree with you. I have learned a lot from THF and am sorry, as I think I've said before, that there is not more discussion. I seem to have missed the more active years in that regard. // My remarks may seem mean-spirited or simply negative to some. Mostly, I am disappointed, and I do feel that it would be rare for a panel of judges to agree on a haiku with real edge. The tendency, it seems, is to choose some kind of "average". This is true of the Red Moon Anthologies as well, which includes (don't want to sound mean, but just say what I see) the "best of the average". // You know, when I first started reading haiku, including haiku from the RM Anthologies, I was very excited. I thought I'd stumbled on something new and fresh. I don't know when it happened, exactly, but at some point I felt that the poems I was seeing were not quite as good as they once were. Then I realized that was not really it. It was more that what I was now reading wasn't worse than before, it was just . . . the *same*, just variations on what I'd seen, repeated again and again. It no longer seemed new and fresh. My own fault? Maybe. // Some very good poets somehow manage to do "the same" but to keep it fresh. Gary Hotham for one. That's rare. And it's not like I think poems in Bones, for example, are always examples of what is new and fresh. Different, for sure, but even there, only a few poems stand out for me as really good. Most are exercises in willed surrealism.// Anyway, I do kind of wish there could be some more discussion of this kind of stuff– and yes, THF seems about the only place for it to happen: it just doesn't happen anymore.

Comment #1

Meg Halls says
April 10, 2017 at 8:57 pm

Some nice haiku. But . . .
Obviously a lot is determined by who chooses to nominate. Nothing here from
Otata, Bones, Noon, or publications like that. With only a couple of exceptions, the haiku here are pretty standard in approach and subject matter. Seems like when a group of judges come together to choose a poem for an award like this, edges get smoothed.
Nice haiku. That's kind of concerning.

Comment #2:

Peter Newton says

April 11, 2017 at 7:59 pm
In my opinion, it's not the publication as much as the poem. You may have noticed that there are a good half dozen or more poets here who publish regularly in the more contemporary journals you cite like Otata, Bones and Noon — all great outlets I think. Unless there are blind submissions, contests are subjective. Even then, there's always a judge's or panelist's personal taste. I love an edge to any poem. It's kind of a necessity. But I support, as I suspect you do, the effort and enthusiasm The Haiku Foundation offers the greater community of haiku poets.

I am happy that Paul stopped by. What he says makes perfect sense to me. I would speculate that a lot of the poems that qualify as what Paul calls "other kinds of little poems" wouldn't have come to light without some exposure to haiku. It would be interesting to see some kind of study on that. Is it just that a lot of people who started writing haiku of "haiku-like" poems kind of experimented themselves right out of the
haiku orbit? Or do they think of themselves as still in orbit, just far far from the sun?

Probably a lot of different answers to that, but kind of interesting I think.

Thank you.
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