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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Ekphrasti-ku… Nunavut, Our Land

Ekphrasti-ku with Guest Editor Pippa Phillips

Once upon a time, under the dubious influence of Nietzsche, I grew despairing of the undeniable fact that I wasn’t a cool Dionysian at all, but a nerdy and visually fixated Apollinian. Once I got over myself, I leaned into it. There’s nothing I like more than taking a sketchbook to a museum on one of its free days. This time, I’d like to take you with me, to visit some of my favorite paintings, and the stories behind them, on a kind of digital ginko walk. These paintings are rich with detail and all are open to metatextual rumination. I look forward to seeing how they inspire you.

next week’s theme“Sunflower Seeds”

The link to “Sunflower Seeds” from Tate Modern, which houses Ai Weiwei’s installation piece is here.

I saw these sunflower seeds as part of an Ai Weiwei exhibit at the Gardiner Museum, Toronto, some years ago. It consists of 102.5 million ceramic sunflower seeds. I remember being surprised that the artist himself had not made them. Part of what would make the seeds impressive, I thought, was that one person produces so many seeds with such consistent realism. After all, Ai Weiwei is a ceramicist.

However, the seeds were made by 1,600 artisans in a town called Jingdezhen. At the time, I was unimpressed that the artist had outsourced the labor, and discussed with my companion whether it lessened the impact of the piece. It wasn’t until later that I understood outsourcing the project is the whole point.

Ai Weiwei is known for playing with found art in the tradition of Marcel Duchamp, but this isn’t quite that. It’s a commentary on labor and China – it is labor that produced this pile of seeds, all of this potential. In China, sunflowers symbolize longevity, health, and prosperity; in Maoist propaganda, they often stood in to represent the Chinese people. The artisans made the seeds using traditional techniques, working in groups and from home. The artist organized their labor and amassed their product for the purpose of exhibiting it – to be consumed.

We are confronted with the vastness of labor’s products, left to ponder how to best distribute it. Sometimes the seeds are artfully arranged in a pile, sometimes they are spread across the floor and you can walk over them. A seed is potential, yet none of these seeds will bloom. It’s only in their collectivity that they manifest their potential. Ai Weiwei’s piece is never fixed, not at a particular location, and never arranged the same way. Although it is often spread out in a carpet, when I saw it, it had been arranged into a pile. How will you choose to arrange your seeds?

The deadline is midnight Central Time, Saturday February 12, 2022.

Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry. (The Submit button will not be available until the Name, Email, and Place of Residence fields are filled in.) With your poem, please include any special formatting requirements & your name as you would like it to appear in the column. A few haiku will be selected for commentary each week. Please note that by submitting, you agree that your work may appear in the column – neither acknowledgment nor acceptance emails will be sent. All communication about the poems that are posted in the column will be added as blog comments.


below is Pippa’s commentary for “Nunavut, Our Land”:

siúil go séimh . . .
tá ár gcruinne
ag leá

tread softly . . .
our universe
is melting

Gabriel Rosenstock
Éire (Ireland)

This was the first poem I received as a submission for this week’s Haiku Dialogue, and I knew immediately I would comment on it. Although the poet is inspired by Yeats, it also brought to my mind one of Sonia Sanchez’s haiku, in a collection dedicated to Emmett Till.

Rosenstock’s haiku is a small sound that reverberates for a long time. Is it an invocation to sustain our habitat? Or a reminder that everything ends, is ending, even now, making the small bit of it that we possess precious? At any moment, we will fall through the ice.

A word about language… I regard any language as the greatest piece of collective art a society has, and its loss a great tragedy. Consequently, I am strongly committed to language preservation and reclamation. This is why I am grateful to those poets who translate their contributions to and from languages other than English, and always endeavour to preserve those translations. Gaelic is a language that has been intentionally and systematically eroded over the centuries, as are many of the languages native to countries subject to colonization.

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight those poems that have incorporated the Inuktitut language. It should be noted that the Inuktitut has many dialects, and is an agglutinative language, whose words comprise a base element that provides a basic meaning specified by affixes. As such, it is easy to create new words for a context by combining base elements and affixes. Furthermore, general terms can change meaning depending on seasonal context. Maujaq, which refers to ground into which one sinks, can refer to mud or snow. For this reason, the popular conception that the Inuit have an uncommon amount of words for snow is not a straightforward matter.

the long walk
to where we are

Helen Ogden
Pacific Grove, CA

The open interpretation of maujaq lends itself nicely to this haiku. No matter the season, or what we walk on, mud or snow, what we leave behind us bears deep impressions whose depth is determined by the weight of what we carry.

this one dog
waiting for the sun


Qausuittuq means something like “the land where the sun does not rise.” It is also the name of a national park on Bathurst Island. Perhaps the dog is in that park – but what it is waiting for does not come. It brings to mind Hachiko, the dog who famously waited for his owner every day despite the fact that he has passed. This feeling conjures up the mythical feeling that the dog belongs to the sun – and sun dogs are characteristic of this polar region.

finding the long way home akurruttijuq

Kat Lehmann

In Igloolik, the four winds that hunters use to find their way are uangnaq, nigiq, kanangnaq, and akinnaq. Any wind that comes from between these cardinalities is referred to as akurruttijuq. The contrast between a wind whose direction the reader cannot easily determine is at odds with the purpose of the poet – or perhaps the way home requires the poet to navigate between, or perhaps even avoid, the main winds.

ulu moon
the silence

Florin C. Ciobica

An ulu is a semi-circular blade, which translates to “women’s knife” in Inuttut. It is often given to her by her husband or another male family member, and is passed down from generation to generation. The curve of the multi-faceted tool, and its association with femininity, lends itself well to the moon. The silence that the poet conjures with its light, and the red of the blood it releases, brings to mind the missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada. Jaime Black’s The REDress Project addresses this epidemic by symbolizing each of these women with a red dress.

stone upon stone
the inuksuk keeps vigil
over water and ice

Mona Iordan

reclaiming the past
with a change of direction …

Madhuri Pillai

An inukshuk is a manmade stone pillar used for navigation. In Iordan’s poem, the pillar stands alone, observed by no one – the poet turns it into an eternal watcher, instead, inverting its use. In Pillai’s poem, the journey is not physical, but historical and cultural.

seal hunting
a qayaq’s wake
divides the bay

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA

A qayak is a sealskin hunting boat. There is something darkly ironic about using the vestiges of the last hunt to aid the hunter in the next one, the power of the hunter in stark contrast to the hunted. The world is divided like the water in the bay – into predator and prey, water and sky, sun and moon.

yin and yang
the variety of siku
spins the earth

Marilyn Ward

Siku is a base word for ‘snow.’ Sikuaq, or ‘small ice,’ refers to the skim of ice that forms on a puddle when it starts to freeze. Sikuliaq, or ‘made ice’ refers to new ice forming. The yin and yang the poet invokes serves to combine with siku in infinite variety – enough power to turn the world.

the hills
we climb

C.X. Turner
United Kingdom

I mentioned last week that Kinngait means “where the hills are.” Many of the poems this week speak of travel and homecoming – but it is not clear whether the poet is departing or returning. What matters is the rise and fall of the land traversed.

slow dance of light
on still life

Ravi Kiran

Aksarnirq is the Inuit word for the aurora borealis. According to Inuit myth, the souls of the dead dance in the light. The final phrase has multiple readings – at first glance, we see the impossibility of capturing moving lights on canvas. However, there remains the choice to read the phrase as life that has stilled or to read ‘still’ as an adverb – still, there is life.

Of interest to haikuists, the Inuktitut sound system is not represented by an alphabet, but an abugida, which is similar to Japanese hiragana and katakana in that it represents combinations of consonants and vowels. You can learn more here. The Inuit Circumpolar Council is an organization aimed at preserving Inuit culture, including the preservation of Inuit languages. You can learn more here.

& here are the rest of the selections:

six seasons
mountain bound
to return home

Paul Millar
United Kingdom


sealskin longing for innocence

Daniela Misso


ice fishing
a direct line
to the ancestors

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC


a tiny whalebone
in the cradle

Bittor Duce Zubillaga
Basque Country


all the light we need to find our way home midnight sun



a circle
within a circle

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India


still hoping
I drop a line
through the ice

Maurice Nevile
Canberra, Australia


fish scales on his hands –
dreaming of a maiden

Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo
The Hague, Netherlands


circling around the epicenter our argument

Jackie Chou


softly falling snow
the silence between us
speaking volumes

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India


icy winds
the sun blooms

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
Kolkata, India


our story’s story
soft deep snow

Mariel Herbert
California, USA


from one root
to another till another
binding force

Lakshmi Iyer


frozen landscape
in the center of the world
the sun in bloom

Alex Fyffe
Texas, USA


hunger moon
polar bears circling
her plate

Dorothy Burrows
United Kingdom


ring of mountains
circling the seasons
of memory

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California


ice fishing
feeling the pulse
of a river

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA


from season
to season
look to the sky

Susan Farner
United States


many white words
deep drifts of snow
over the border

john hawkhead


Remember our world,
She swallowed the sun in ice,
the moon in snow

Sarah Davies
Bedford, UK


all in the eye
of the snowy owl

Margaret Tau
New Bern, North Carolina


polar lives –
the non stop debate
of climate change

Milan Rajkumar


no bIrds today
winter deepens
your absence

Maxianne Berger
Outremont, Quebec


the snow falls
on the distant hills –
a footprint of a bear

Dennys Cambarau
Sardinia, Italy


wandering moon —
from sickle to shield
from shield to sickle

Amrutha Prabhu
Bengaluru, India


her deft brushstrokes the enchanted owl i become

Joe Sebastian
Bangalore, India


vigil prayer
an old caribou crosses
the ancient forest

Eufemia Griffo


fisheye panorama—
all creatures that swim within
the night sky

Sonika Jaiganesh
United Kingdom


icy silence –
an owl’s cry pierces
the moonlight

Annie Wilson
Shropshire, UK


ice on the sea
all winter long
spirit companions

Xenia Tran
Nairn, Scotland


harmony the code of civilization in this wonderland

Melanie Vance


inverted world
the light that radiates
from within

Sue Courtney
Orewa, New Zealand


winter light . . .
the cold edge
of her shadow

Barrie Levine
United States


polar light
in the whiteness
one less igloo

Luisa Santoro
Rome, Italy


to great lengths . . .

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio, USA


time machine
an antique spinning top
comes to a stop

Robert Kingston
Chelmsford, United Kingdom


of the self …
deer antlers

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany


yet we keep in mind
our own businesses

Hifsa Ashraf
Rawalpindi, Pakistan


snowcapped trek
she tripped
over lies

Priti Khullar


ichor sweat
ancestors smile at their
soapstone garden

Subir Ningthouja
Imphal, India


colonial house
an iglu
in cupboard

Chittaluri Satyanarayana
Hyderabad, India


arctic winter. . .
the penguin walk
of an inuit baby

R. Suresh babu


every footprint
of the journey
my land

Margaret Mahony


stars swell
in the Arctic sky
snowy owl scream

Minko Tanev


yin yang . . .
to need nothing
but moonlit ice

Alfred Booth
Colombes, France


petal snow
the flower in my palm
becomes water

Alan Peat
Biddulph, United Kingdom


shadow prints
the path of the bear
among us

Peggy Hale Bilbro


home returning Nunavut returning home

Amanda White
Morvah, Cornwall, UK


arctic blue
whales chant
mourning hymns

Kathleen Mazurowski
Chicago, IL


divided land—
the border
deep in snow

Keiko Izawa
Yokohama, Japan


lunar eclipse
the part that I hide
even from myself

ਚੰਦ ਗ੍ਰਹਿਣ
ਆਪਣੇ ਤੋਂ ਵੀ ਲੁਕਾਇਆ
ਆਪਣਾ ਹੀ ਇਕ ਹਿੱਸਾ

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India


spring flurries
a flock of snow buntings
sings a way home

Kristen Lindquist
Camden, Maine, USA


new love
everything everyone
in rhythm with me

Neera Kashyap


midnight sun–
all living things bounce
in Inuit art

Teiichi Suzuki


light and dark
leaking into each other
shades of blue

Shalini Pattabiraman
Scotland, United Kingdom


carbon dioxide the transparency of thinning ice

Richard Matta
San Diego, California


chiseling sound
from where the hills are

Ram Chandran


grinding stone
nothing remains

Teji Sethi


our eye
the god of us
gives plentifold

Lynda Flint
United Kingdom


through boreal snow

James Gaskin
Fukushima, Japan


crumpled maps searching for what was

Pris Campbell


a garden of Eden
without Serpent


nu na wu te qu
qin fei shou zou ren huan teng
hao si yi dian yuan

Xiaoou Chen
Kunming, China


intrauterine igloo safety

Mirela Brăilean


new mittens
a song grandma sings
to the seals

Pat Davis


in a vagrant wind
the tang of saltfish

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton UK


as eager as ever even here there be crows

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia


cold moon
etching a place
for my sun

Firdaus Parvez


cold waters
caribou lap
my kayak

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK


midnight sun as if he owns the sky

Vandana Parashar


January sky-
its sheer so clear, so blue.
Nothing leaves a mark.

Rhonda Brown
United States


rim of mountains
hands cupped
around our warmth

Mark Gilbert


brutal winds
an igloo
for my mind

Geetha Ravichandran


the whisper
in a rock

Sherry Grant
Auckland, New Zealand


polar bears trapped
on melting ice floes

Nancy Brady
Huron, Ohio, USA


to follow
where polar bear lead

Mary Vlooswyk


Arctic moon
finding my way home
my identity

Sharon Martina
Illinois, United States


bird song—
the breath of a melody
on a winter sky

Sushama Kapur
Pune, India


so many reasons for snow in the stars

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, Iowa, USA


south wind—
the sound of everything

P. H. Fischer
Vancouver, Canada


I become
the owl asking

Kath Abela Wilson
United States


upside down
the world still
the world

James Lindley


your eye contains
sun moon fishermen fish
but mine holds the sky

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles


where the hills are
the sun and moon side by side
the heArt of life

Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo


Guest Editor Pippa Phillips is a recovering academic who hails from Cape Cod. Her micropoetry has been published in a variety of publications, including Cold Moon Journal, Frogpond, Failed Haiku, Modern Haiku, and The Asahi Shimbun. She also writes long and short-form fiction. She is interested in the intersection of ethics and aesthetics and walking the line between the populist and the experimental. You can find her on Twitter @IpsaHerself and Instagram @pheaganesque.

Lori Zajkowski is the Post Manager for Haiku Dialogue. A novice haiku poet, she lives in New York City.

Managing Editor Katherine Munro lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and publishes under the name kjmunro. She is Membership Secretary for Haiku Canada, and her debut poetry collection is contractions (Red Moon Press, 2019). Find her at:

The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy.

Please note that all poems & images appearing in Haiku Dialogue may not be used elsewhere without express permission – copyright is retained by the creators. Please see our Copyright Policies.

This Post Has 95 Comments

  1. Many comments added to this post by one commenter were not friendly, diplomatic, or respectful as required by The Haiku Foundation code of conduct. As a result, this person has been banned from adding comments to our site until further notice. We regret this was necessary.

  2. Hey Lori,

    All of this aside – are you okay? Are you safe right now? It’s difficult to know how to assess your comment here.

  3. Here’s my view of what happened in this thread.

    One of the poems submitted for this week’s Haiku Dialogue was very close to a published poem. We did not catch this, but our readers did, and they added comments to that effect. We’re glad that you reported this.

    The original poem was by Robin Anna Smith (GRIX). The submitted poem was by Florin C. Ciobica. Both Robin and Florin are respected poets. Feelings were running high. Some commenters accused Florin of plagiarism. Others did not agree and decried a rush to judgment. In his comments to this post, Florin says he did not consciously copy Robin’s poem. He asks that we believe he submitted in good faith. We decided to leave Florin’s poem in place among Pippa’s selections and to leave all of the comments in place.

    I like Jonathan Roman’s suggestion below. In the future, please consider reporting a challenging issue like this in private. That might be a good choice in some cases.

    If you choose to use public comments on our site to report a challenging issue, we ask that everyone follow our code of conduct:

    Relevant statements from this code include: 

    “Your participation in our discussion areas is contingent upon your interacting in a friendly manner with the community. …Comments should be diplomatic and respectful. …While we encourage spirited discussions, please be tolerant of other’s positions and feelings.”

    I’m sure people have their own opinions about what went wrong in this discussion. Here’s what bothers me most.

    We invited Pippa to be our guest editor. She spent many hours producing a good Haiku Dialogue post. Yes, she overlooked the fact that one poem out of many submitted was very close to a published poem. I’ll bet most people on this thread would have missed that similarity. For this oversight, Pippa was shamed and unjustly accused of not being well-read. She felt obliged to apologize, and did so more than once. I do not believe she needed to apologize at all for not recognizing a similarity between poems that would have escaped many well-read people in the haiku community.

    Even so, I’m not concerned for the general health of THF discussions. We’ve been going for over a decade, and significant problems in our discussions have been rare. I look forward to more good discussions in the future.

    1. Again, I say this as an educational opportunity: if you think a “good haiku” is a sentence in 5/7/5, then I’m sorry, but no, you are not well-studied and do not know the history of English Language Haiku. Editors should know the history, as well as how to correctly apply form and technique.

    2. I disagree with your interpretation of the events. I also disagree with your understanding of the core issues here.

      We will all have different interpretations of what happened and nuance is often lost in forum posts. However, once again, when people are being threatened because of this, I would hope that we recognize that people’s health and lives are not worth the discussion.

    3. I disagree with your understanding of the core issues here. We will all have different interpretations of what happened and nuance is often lost in forum posts. However, once again, when people are being threatened because of this, I would hope that we recognize that people’s health and lives are not worth the discussion.

  4. Here’s an excellent article on plagiarism vs honkadori vs homage/allusion:

    Here’s a solid follow up essay by Michael Dylan Welch:

    Also, here is an essay about a known plagiarist:

    as well as MDW’s follow up:

    An important quote from this follow up: “Yet no one owns experience, so what are we to do? That is the endless challenge with haiku and experience. The solution is to write from the heart, to write as freshly as possible, and, before publishing, to know the literature as best as one can to prevent oneself from submitting poems that are too similar to existing poems and to accept the help of editors and contest administrators in pointing out excessive similarities…”

    Clearly, somebody dropped the ball here. It’s been brought up, addressed, and the powers that be have decided to take certain actions or inactions based on the idea of educating the public. So be it. Whether or not we assign blame at this point may not matter as much as recognizing that a mistake was made and learning and growing from it as a community of readers, writers, and advocates.

    However, I also think the other takeaway is that while editors may not need an encyclopedic knowledge of haiku (and let’s be explicitly clear that at no point did anyone say they should) they also need to be willing to accept criticism for their choices. Whenever I edit a journal or anthology, I take the chance that I will publish something that’s a problem for a reader. This could be based on content, but it could also personal taste, poet’s reputation, etc.

    As editors, volunteer, paid, or otherwise, we must take responsibility for our choices and be willing to accept criticism from readers. We also need to be willing to accept when we make mistakes and learn from those mistakes, whether or not they were intentional or not. We also need to be willing to reject criticism that doesn’t educate us or help us grow in a graceful manner.

    Reading this thread, there’s a lot of animosity and heated dialogue, which can sometimes be healthy, but also scary and threatening to some people, especially when it seems like people are deliberately distorting things that were written to support a narrative that’s much more insidious than necessary. The fact that this animosity has resulted in threats and personal attacks both here and on social media elsewhere for multiple parties should be a sign that the conversation has moved from the educational to the personal, that damage is being done and, if we’re not careful, said damage may be irreparable. That would be unfortunate for everyone involved and I certainly hope that, once things settle, people can peacefully resolve this issue.

    1. Yes, we should all be careful. That’s why the best way to handle this would have been to bring it to the attention of the guest editor & organizers privately. If they failed to respond or take action, then public discourse could have been utilized to bring attention to the matter and remedy the inaction. But that is not what happened.

      Reading through the comments, I observed no instances of the guest editor rejecting criticism or failing to acknowledge the situation and their part in it. On the contrary, I observed multiple apologies, acknowledgements, even offers to step down so as not to sully Haiku Dialogue or The Haiku Foundation. There is humility and self-awareness in that. I also observed no unsafe situations. This is a public matter now and everyone’s behavior—good or bad—is on display. Let’s not escalate the situation any further by inventing narratives. The organizers & guest editor are handling the situation. The poet who was wronged has been heard. The poet who erred has come forward to apologize.

      1. I disagree with your interpretation of events.I think it’s clear that people in this discussion have felt threatened and attacked. Whatever people’s intentions, people are getting emotionally and psychologically hurt, which is causing damage, and the core issues of this discussion are being ignored or dismissed in lieu of hurt feelings and lashing out at each other.

        Furthermore, this has now moved beyond THF, and people are being threatened and attacked on social media outside this immediate discussion.

        All I’m arguing is that people work to recognize that throwing gasoline on the fire isn’t helpful at this point. I think discussions about plagiarism and appropriation are necessary and valid, but not at the expense of people’s health and lives.

        1. People’s emotions did not seem to be an issue as long as the editor was at the bottom of the dogpile. Does the editor have emotions? Do I? Do you?

          Let’s all learn from this experience. The next time an issue like this arises, we can all remember to begin at an appropriate base level, not escalating things unnecessarily. In that way, no one will feel unnecessary emotional distress.

      2. “I also observed no unsafe situations”

        Oh whatever. I’ve been threatened, deleted, blocked, and literally had people tell me my Autistic meltdowns cause them stress. Just because you’re not in my inbox to see it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, so PLEASE gaslight me harder.

    2. Is there another forum you could recommend where we could continue this interesting discussion?

  5. Hi all,

    If l May add a few thoughts, having experienced the issue of plagiarism, both as a poet and as an editor ( cattails journal).

    The 12th century Japanese practice of honkadori made allusion to an older poem. This allusion was expected to be recognised by the potential readers and honkadori was often a witty reference to an image or idea or place in the older poem. The key issue here is that it was openly recognised. The poets also had a compendium of kigo, which again was openly recognised when used by several poets.

    The problem we have in ELH, is that we often allude to or use images, ideas from an older poem but without any acknowledgement of the other poet. Robin’s “ulu” poem is dated 2019, the poem in this Haiku Dialogue feature by Florin C. Ciobica is 2022. A clear line of precedence can be seen here.

    It does not diminish the poet in any way to acknowledge the impact/ influence of another poet. But time and again, we disregard this basic courtesy and the result is rancour and upset. Robin has said that if the poet reached out to her, she would respond. We are somewhat caught up in a frenzy of writing and being published and seem to forget that writing is communication and dialogue.

    The scenario for the editor in such a case is not an easy one. Often we’re alerted by someone else but then it becomes incumbent on us duty to resolve the issue.

    The only way we can “resolve” such instances of plagiarism is by communicating to each other instead of ignoring to acknowledge the influence of another poet.

    This is an opportunity to reach out to each other and be kinder and more humble.

    Lori has raised a pertinent issue of gender appropriation. This is a question that is currently being asked of the works of the Bard and other literary stalwarts. I hope it opens doors to discuss and share.

    Charlie Trumbull has with dedication built a compendium of ELH published to date. A worthwhile reference.

    Sonam Chhoki

    1. I am curious…In your capacity of editor for Cattails, do you check all poems against the Trumbull compendium?

      1. Thank you for your question.

        We don’t routinely run all poems by Charlie’s compendium, only those which have been flagged with plagiarism concerns.

        The compendium has details of the date of publication, name of the journal, number/ volume of the issue etc.

        Plagiarism is a hugely fraught problem and we try to deal with any issue with tact and discretion.

        I hope this answers your question.


    2. Thank you Sonam for your thoughts. I think it would be great if we could acknowledge the inspiration of, or allusion to, other work when having poems published, but generally I find there is resistance to this from editors. I believe they are more interested in preserving ‘white space’ and do not want any kind of explanation or dedication to clutter up the presentation of each haiku. Once I had a haiku which openly (in my view) took another piece of work (not poetry) as its starting point but left in references to the previous work, because I wanted it to be clear what I was doing. When it got accepted for a journal, I suddenly realised I didn’t want anyone to think that this haiku was all my own work, because some might not be aware of the source material (and the artist is alive). So I asked if I could add an ’after x’ after it, to make this clear, or at least acknowledge it publicly. The editor said no, so I withdrew it, eventually rewrote it and got the revised version published elsewhere (without a note). That’s one of my ‘plagiarism’ stories.

      1. Thank you for dropping by Mark and sharing your experience.

        You’ve raised a very important point about the artist who might be alive. We haikai poets often acknowledge the old Masters or well-known literary giants like the Bard, Celan, Rumi or Joyce etc but seem reluctant to acknowledge the influence of a contemporary artist or poet.

        I like your idea of including such an acknowledgment and l am sorry that your generous offer of giving some attribution to the artist, who inspired your poem, was turned down. The point you make about the enduring allure of “white spaces” is very true.

        I hope such open discussion will go some way of addressing an issue which affects us all in some way or the other. The late George Steiner, said that not since the invention of the printing press, has the written word been so widely and one might add speedily, disseminated as in this age of inter-connectivity of the internet. The wide range of online journals and other outlets make what we write widely available. As such the issue of plagiarism is bound to recur. A willingness such as you have argued for, to acknowledge and share attribution of our work to those who inspire and influence, would seem sensible and also doable


    3. Another point I would like to add is that for on-line publications, which are now the majority in the haiku community, it should be relatively easy to remove ‘problematic’ work after the initial publication. This provides an additional safety net. If we are going to require individual editors to be responsible for screening submitted haiku against the body of previously published work we will never have any new editors and all editing – and ‘gatekeeping’ – will be done by a tiny cohort of ‘respected’ voices. I don’t think that would be healthy.

  6. Thrilled (kilig) and surprised to be included in this lovely selection. Thank you so much Pippa, for your generosity and enthusiasm in sharing your passion for art of any form and allowing us to explore and enjoy both worlds of poetry and painting. For me, as a newbie to haiku and its family, your challenge, the selected poems by wonderful poets from all over the world, and the comment section are a rich ground for education and appreciation to understanding better what haiku is to me and hopefully be a better poet/person.

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you everyone. Have a great day.

  7. Dear Pippa, Thank you for introducing me to the art of Kenojuak Ashevak and her lithograph, “Nunavut, Our Land”. I found this artist to be the most inspiring of all the art works so far. It was wonderful to research her and learn about the Inuit culture, a subject, prior to the challenge, I knew very little about. I loved your introduction last week and the commentary on the selected haiku this week, further adding to the enjoyment of reading them. I loved the way you started this week’s commentary with

    tread softly . . .
    our universe
    is melting
    — Gabriel Rosenstock, Éire (Ireland)

    Also your commentary on language, and the use of Inuktitut language, and that it is not an alphabet language but a sound system that would be of interest to haikuists. I wrote a haiku referencing the language, then I wasn’t sure whether to submit to not, so I didn’t. But in light of your comments I’ll share it here.

    Inuktitut script
    where syllabics
    — Sue Courtney (unpublished)

    Congratulations to all the poets who had a poem selected and thank you again Pippa for the effort you put into this column for our enjoyment.


    1. I adore that poem… I would have included it. Well, at least you can submit it elsewhere, I look forward to seeing it again.

  8. Well. Paintings don’t have to be rectangular! Who could have imagined that! I am so pleased to have been introduced to Kenojuak Ashevak’s work by Pippa this week and I’m looking forward to producing (more) for next week also. I was inspired by the history and the story behind ‘Nunavut – Our Land’ too. Thanks Pippa for selecting one of mine. I liked these three which tried to explore the context of the Inuits’ position on this planet:

    a circle
    within a circle

    Minal Sarosh

    ring of mountains
    circling the seasons
    of memory

    Cynthia Anderson

    upside down
    the world still
    the world

    James Lindley

    Another good thing to come out of this week is that I’m sure it has raised awareness of the existence of Nunavut, the modern homeland for the Inuit people.

    1. I’d like to second Mark’s recent comment and thank Pippa for introducing me to Kenojuak Ashevak’s work. I’ve spent much of my working life writing about art and artists and it was fascinating to have a torch shone on a new area of interest. My sincere thanks to Pippa for that and for the enthusiasm she has brought to the column. I look forward to continued submissions and Pippa’s future challenges. ?

    2. Ah, thank you for bringing attention to these poems, they were especial favorites of mine, and the arts of Nunavut. It’s an interesting case since you don’t often come across a place where art plays such a central role. It would be really interesting, I think, to see what an Inuit artist would do with haiga– and it would be wonderful to see haiku composed in Inuktitut. Given its morphology, it seems to be like a language particularly well suited to the form.

  9. Thank you Pippa for your wonderful posts. I’ve enjoyed each one. A very educational journey. Your selection and commentary on the haiku have been very thoughtful and enlightening. I’m really enjoying it and being inspired each week. 🙂

  10. I realize it’s unfair to demand a reading list when you have no idea what I have and haven’t read, and since I think it is a productive conversation to have, allow me to outline my little journey into haiku. The pandemic coincided with me leaving my PhD program in philosophy, and I lost my job as well, so I admittedly had a lot of time on my hands.

    Let’s see, I suppose it all began with Sato Hiroaki’s One Hundred Frogs, which I read in middle school. For a long time, I preferred to read Japanese prose, especially the classics—I was obsessed with Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji, Sei Shonagan’s Pillow Book, the tale of the Heike. I loved Showa-era literature, particularly Dazai Osamu and Natsume Soseki—and it was the latter that brought me back to haiku. This remains a favorite of mine:

    Oh leaves, ask the breeze
    Which of you will scatter first
    From the verdant trees

    I was also gifted a compilation of haiku that had been featured in the Asahi Shimbun by my boss when I was working in Hokkaido, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that I really looked into English-language haiku. The person who made me fall in love with, well senryu really, was Orrin Prejean. In setting about to educate myself I focused largely on technique at first. Of course I listened to all the Poetry Pea episodes, read Sato Hiroaki’s On Haiku, Jane Riechhold’s Bare Bones of Haiku, Lee Gurga’s The Haiku Handbook, Richard Gilbert’s The Disjunctive Dragonfly. I read many articles, Clayton Beach’s “The Pig and the Boar” remains a standout. I became interested in analyzing the phrase structure of haiku, so I went to the initial issues and what is publically available from The Heron’s Nest, Frog Pond, Prune Juice, Modern Haiku, and started to collect issues of Mayfly and the Cicada’s Cry. You can find old tweets of mine on @pheaganesque of my initial analyses.

    At first I really wanted to concentrate on Japanese haiku, so I made my way through the following books:

    Reginald Horace Blyth, ed.: Haiku in Four Volumes

    Ueda Makoto, ed.: Far Beyond the Field

    Basho: The Complete Haiku (which can be found on the Haiku Foundation website)

    Burton, Watson. Introduction. Masaoka Shiki: selected poems

    Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson Paperback

    The Poems of Issa

    Ozawa Minoru: Well-Versed: Exploring Modern Japanese Haiku

    Zen Haiku: Poems and Letters of Natsume Soseki

    Mountain Tasting: Zen Haiku of Santoka Taneda by Santoka Taneda

    Tohta Kaneko: Haiku as Life

    These are not haiku, but I have a weakness for tanka:

    Yosano Akiko: Tangled Hair

    Tawara Machi: Salad Anniversary

    I also have a weakness for Nakahara Chuuya’s Goat Songs.

    I of course did look at Touchstone winners—I probably did see Robin’s poem, so really my oversight was an oversight and should have been caught. I also read all of the Frog Pond poems that have been selected for recognition. When I was offered the opportunity to be a book reviewer for Frog Pond, I endeavored to prepare for the position by live-tweeting chapbooks that were available on the Haiku Foundation’s Digital Library, which is an incredible resource. Here are some of the chapbooks I read:

    The Call of Wildflowers, Julie Bloss Kelsey
    Into Breath, Victor Ortiz
    Seaside Moon, Deborah Kolodji
    I am, Vandana Parashar
    This Moment, Margaret Chula
    Chrysanthemum Love, Fay Aoyagi

    I have not tweeted about Prejean’s October’s Kid or Quiet Enough by John Stevenson. I am of course leaving out all of the journals that I regularly read (Cold Moon Journal and Failed Haiku are particular favorites) and of course I have a lot more reading to do. So I invite all to share their recommendations here.

    1. Hi Pippa,

      For reading recommendations, I also like The Essence of Modern Haiku: 300 Poems by Seishi Yamaguchi by Seishi Yamaguchi (Author), Takashi Kodaira (Author), Alfred H. Marks (Author).

    2. Some other favorites:

      The Unswept Path: Contemporary American Haiku, ed. by John Brandi and Dennis Maloney
      The Haiku Anthology, ed. Cor van den Heuvel
      Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years, ed. Jim Kacian, Philip Rowland, and Allan Burns
      Jack Kerouac: Book of Haikus, ed. Regina Weinreich
      Wishbone Moon, ed. Roberta Beary, Ellen Compton, and Kala Ramesh

    3. To be a good haiku editor, you must know the basics: fragment and phrase, kigo, juxtaposition, link and shift.

      “Oh leaves, ask the breeze

      Which of you will scatter first

      From the verdant trees”

      This is not a haiku. This is a poor English translation of a haiku. There is no cut phrase. There is no juxtaposition. There is no link and shift.

      It is a sentence, question, whatever you want to call it, but it’s all one phrase and not a haiku.

      However, if you send me the Kanji for Soseki’s haiku, I’d be more than happy to accurately translate it into English for you.

      I think this proves my point. Editors should be well-read and well-studied. They should know the form, technique, and know how to correctly apply them so we don’t poorly educate people on what haiku is. Translations like the one above are exactly why people write jokes in 5/7/5.

      1. This poem will always hold a place in my heart because it was the poem that made me interested in haiku again, and this was the translation I encountered. I’m sure there are arguments to be made for better ones, but I maintain that there’s a real charm to this one, I like sentence haiku and there is the rare example to be found in many journals. I particularly like the mixture of imperative and interrogative, but that’s just me being a speech act theory junkie.

        Translation norms are very different now from what they used to be. It was conventional for decades to translate haiku into three lines of a 5-7-5 syllable structure, just as it was conventional to write it. That did not preclude a usage of traditional aesthetic techniques. I think there is still worth to the poems of this era. Richard Wright is one of my favorite haikuists. Furthermore, as exasperating as it is that the popular conception of haiku is limited to syllabatics, I don’t regard 5-7-5 as an invalid form of haiku. But them, I am absolutely a haiku permissivist.

        Back to the poem. Soseki was friends with Masaoka Shiki, who was most famous for his shasei technique. One can see, even through the lens of translation, that the question paints a picture of falling leaves. Moreover, Shiki emphasized the use of fantasy (kuusou, 空想) and realism (shajitsu, 写実), which one can see in the light personification of the leaves– although figurative techniques are often eschewed in English language haiku, many poets do artfully and lightly employ them, and Showa-era writers were known to be influenced by Western literature.

        Anyway, the original: 風に聞け何れか先に散る木の葉
        kaze ni kike izureka saki ni chiru ki no ha

        I asked Alex Fyffe for a translation, he suggests the following:

        ask the wind
        which of the leaves
        will fall first

        (I’d never claim to be a translator)

        So for sure, the translation I first encountered has a real turn-of-the-century poetic sensibility, with the moony “O!” and the rhymes and oh no! a purple adjective like ‘verdant,’ well I never! But really, it captures the spirit of the haiku, does so in a traditional syllable structures, and lives as its own lovely little thing.

        Anyways, Soseki Natsume was known more for his prose and wrote a limited amount of haiku. You should all go out and buy I am a Cat right now.

        1. Just to clarify, a more literal translation might be something like,

          ask the wind
          which will fall first
          leaves on the trees

          However, the “fall” (chiru) runs into “tree leaves” (ki no ha) as the final five on in the poem. If we count this as the cut (a hard stop after chiru), then only the last three on (ki no ha) make up the fragment.

          Anyway you look at it, the older style translation obviously took liberties, but, as Pippa points out, that was fairly standard in the early days of translation.

          It should also be noted that there are many poems in English and in Japanese that do not have any cuts, that are essentially a sentence in structure, but are still considered classics of merit. Even on the Michael Dylan Welch article about the plagiarist that Mr. Gage cited, he brings up the original Basho poem that was plagiarized as being without cuts, basically a sentence. Although the fragment and phrase are typically better in general, there are always exceptions that deserve recognition. I think it is clear that Pippa understands this considering the poetry that she has written and the poetry that she has selected as editor. Her choices show a clear understanding of what makes good haiku. She brought up the Soseki poem merely to illustrate something that inspired her to seek out haiku in the first place. I’m not sure it is appropriate to call her ability to recognize good poetry into question because of one translated poem that she has enjoyed. The conversation has clearly gone off course, and I hope that everyone can take a breath and remember that diminishing other people does not make anyone look good.

  11. “and I appreciate editors and guest-editors cannot be aware of every haiku ever written”

    I ?? DID ?? NOT ?? SAY ?? THAT ?? EITHER ??????

    I literally have said I do not expect editors to know ALL haiku published.

    But please, keep TWISTING MY WORDS to make yourselves look like heros. I’m pretty done with this community.

    1. It would be helpful to the community and to me in particular for you to clarify what you would expect an editor to know. I’m confused at this point you are so focused on continuing to call out the newcomer queer female editor, rather than addressing the established male poet, when you’re portraying yourself as such a warrior for inclusion and diversity. I was also befuddled at your assumption of said poet’s sexuality, given that so many do not have the luxury of being out. Furthermore, I’ve been given to understand that this role is something of a breaking grounds for new editors.

      I have apologized for my oversight yesterday and I do so again. What is most unfortunate about this entire situation is not just how off-putting this must look to anyone thinking of joining the haiku community, but the fact that it has entirely distracted from my efforts to shine a light on indigenous language preservation. So I will take this moment to once again highlight some organizations dedicated to that:

      Inuit Circumpolar Council works to preserve the Inuit language:

      Iontaobhas Na Gaelscolaíochta, the trust Fund for Irish-Medium Education, can be found here:

      The Language Conservancy, which aims to conserve indigenous languages generally, here:

      1. My very first comment ONLY called out the “prestigious male poet.”

        After you said you were unaware of both Robin’s poem and the gender appropriation, I stated an opinion which I then was told was wrong by several people, leaving me to feel attacked.

        Now I’m defending myself because people are twisting my words.

        My focus has left you and the mistake.

        YOU are the one feeling like I keep attacking you when all I did was use ONE comment to state an opinion and others to defend myself for people twisting my words.

        Anyone who knows me knows I have fought my ass off to create space for diverse voices. I have literally given presentations about this at HNA (2019). I have been called sexist, a bitch, prejudice, and have had NASTY articles written about me. You were not attacked. I attacked the “prestigious male poet”. I did not attack YOU. I stated an OPINION.

        1. Given that I have submitted to and been accepted in your journal, obviously I am aware of your efforts. I have seen and been inspired by your presentations. I am sorry for any negative attention those efforts have garnered.

          However, since you have expressed an interest in educating me, the question remains: what would you expect me to know as an editor? I am quite open to improving my efforts via a reading list.

  12. The poetic response to this painting is beyond beautiful and I appreciate editors and guest-editors cannot be aware of every haiku ever written. I am glad to see the poet (whose contribution became the subject of so much debate) has reached out himself. Pippa, please know that you are inspiring a lot of creativity in your role as guest-editor here and thank you so much for introducing me to an artist I had never heard of before. I was so taken with Kenojuak Ashevak’s style that I’ve ordered ‘Kenojuak Ashevak – Life and Legacy’, a beautiful book featuring more of her work, which I will treasure. Thank you for all that you do here and for featuring my haiku too. Warm greetings from a wintry Scotland, Xenia

  13. I just wanted to thank Pippa once again for the truly great work she’s done as guest editor. As a beginner on my haiku journey, her carefuly curated weekly prompts and selections have brought me such joy to learn from, and really expanded my understanding of haiku in such a truly meaningful and exciting way. I’ll probably continue to think about the art and haiku I’ve experienced during this dialogue for a long time!

    And again, thank you very much to Lori and Kj for all that they do to make everything possible.

  14. Hi all!

    As an old contributor to this prestigious site, I have read your comments carefully and with interest and thank you for taking the time to analyze the situation.
    I’m really sorry about what happened, but I can assure you that I didn’t intend to plagiarize anyone’s work. I wholeheartedly believe that no one thinks about it when they start creating something.
    As for me, before writing something for what the editor suggested, I carefully analyze the image and try to make all sorts of associations. I had in mind the image of the sickle moon, but then I remembered that I had read somewhere about the ‘ulu moon’ (earrings), so I replaced the word group believing that the poem would gain an extra suggestion. As one who has been writing haiku and poetry for some time, yes it is true, it is very likely that I have internalized, as happens to many of us, images, structures, combinations of words from previous readings. You also know that certain seasonal words, older thematic structures have been used by lots of poets in other poems, in other contexts, creating new poems that cannot be accused of plagiarism.
    In the worst case, I believe that the situation “in rem” can be framed in what are called ‘Honkadori’.
    I apologize to the editors, their work is enormous and great at the same time, and honestly they don’t deserve to be blamed for such situations, that only they are not God to know all the poems ever written or, especially, what was in the mind of a poet who he simply enjoys writing.
    I also apologize to those who have been faithful to this weekly column for so many years and write wonderful poems and I assure you that I acted in good faith.
    I take all the blame for this inconvenience.

    1. Thank you, Florin, for clarifying.

      While I genuinely appreciate this being brought up as I was unaware of the posting yesterday, I hope we can table further fingerpointing. I do hope from the discussion, maybe we have all learned some things.

    2. Thank you for clarifying the situation and accepting responsibility, Florin. Having followed your contributions for quite some time I felt this might be the case. I imagine you were appalled and embarrassed. It is the nightmare we all face as readers and writers. Please continue to contribute to the community. The lesson I have learned from this is to attempt to be as original and as careful as possible, which I am sure you will continue to do.

  15. re the discussion on ‘ulu moon’ — it’s always sad when poets get into a savage knifefight. Haven’t we all had experiences – both ways – of “déjà ku”?

    I’m among those who think that Pippa is doing a wonderful job and greatly expanding my mind and understanding. Thank you, Pippa.

  16. Thank you Pippa for inspiring us all with your very well thought of art prompts. It has enhanced my love for the arts and look forward to the next challenge each time. Your hard work in coming up with your weekly installment is deeply appreciated.
    The Haiku Dialogue has given us the forum to express ourselves and our opinions in a respectable and encouraging manner as we all share the same love for everything haiku. That is also something to be thankful for, as well as Kj and Lori for keeping it all together.

  17. Damn, y’all really came at me for trying to educate from personal experience. Yes, it IS primarily on the poet for plagiarism, but let me be the first to say if I accidentally published a CISHET man in a venue that’s supposed to be safe for femme-presenting and non-binary folx, I’d take responsibility for neglecting my responsibility as an editor. I’m allowed to speak from an editors perspective. I did not say every editor should be a walking haiku database, but ffs, read and do research before stepping into a huge position like that.

    1. How have I failed to take responsibility for my mistake? I have said I am ashamed for letting this pass. I have explained the circumstances that led to the mistake. I have apologized directly to Robin. If others are speaking in my defense, please don’t take that as my viewpoint. I messed up. I admit it. Please let me know what more I can do.

  18. Dear Pippa, I too would like to join the group of those providing the deserved praise for your efforts in bringing us these wonderful images along with the respective history lesson. Each week I have submitted, I have shared with you privately the enjoyment I personally have gained. I add this as I am confident that I am not alone in doing this, which imo also adds to the weight of your reading.
    I agree with Bryan Rickett’s comment and think Robin’s comment is very gracious.
    Plagiarism sadly happens more often than most of us think in the realms of social media platforms. I experienced this a few times on FB. One of the reasons I left was because of how easy it was to cut and paste others content often out of sight of the original poster. Parody was an excuse some offered. An example of which occurred on last years “rolling earth haiku” on THF, but was done in good spirit and in plain sight of my own poem.

    Keep up the great work! Already looking forward to reading next weeks offerings.

  19. Pippa, I hope what has occurred has not discouraged you in your editorial efforts. I recognize and appreciate all the efforts that you make to put out this column on a weekly basis. I do not expect an editor to remember the many haiku that are written and published. I do not remember some of the ones that I myself have written.

  20. Pippa I want to thank you for such a deeply inspiring series and for your brilliant commentary each week which I am thoroughly enjoyed; alongside accompanying links. This was my first attempt at monoku, something I have been intrigued about for the last year or so but had not yet, until now, found the moment to try. So thank you for the nudge. Brava for all you are doing, it is much appreciated. With such a dedicated and knowledgeable group of participants engaging on the Dialogue it is inevitable differences of opinion or other issues such as the current plagiarism query will crop up at times but it is hoped that the way this is expressed is as helpful as possible and not done in a combative way. You Pippa as far as I am concerned are a star so keep shining.

  21. Pippa’s prompts have been amazingly thought out and inspiring. I was an art teacher for 15 years and the last several weeks have been like a homecoming for me. Going deeper than the surface features of an artwork, the cultural ideas, artists and writers responding to them. It’s the best art classroom on its best day. Any shortcomings of the moment are nothing compared to the opportunity that she has given me to start looking at art again. Not to mention that her commentary is so next level. The sky is the limit for her.

    As for any controversy, it is not hers, it is the poets. Where are his comments and explanations?

    1. Well said, Bryan. I would like to hear from Florián. He is a regular contributor so surely has seen this.

      1. Peggy, I just realized I started my reply the same as you ^_^; Sorry! But I also agree with you. I have seen a lot of Florin’s work here, so I would like to hear from him, too, concerning this issue.

        1. Very sad to observe Plagiarism in this prestigious haiku dialogue. It is left to the self discipline of writers. Writers should be sincere and honest while creating their poems. What judges can do in this. They may not observe all the things point to point in their hectic schedule. But readers can point out this. Any how it is very sad.
          My sincere thanks to Pippa for wonderful reviews and sincere work in selection of haiku. Pippa need not take all this issue to heart. It should be the responsibility of writers.
          Anyhow thank you Pippa for selecting my poem this round even. I feel immense pleasure for looking your splendid review of my poem last week as well. Thank you once again.

    2. Well said, Bryan. I teach English, but I often use art in the classroom and have loved assigning ekphrastic writing in the past, and Pippa’s efforts have gone above and beyond in both presentation and analysis. As a teacher, I do understand frustrations concerning plagiarism (I deal with it every year), but, like you, I think any frustrations should be directed at the accused.

  22. Pippa,
    Thank you for the extraordinary commentary you provide on each week’s theme. I can’t speak for anyone else but I’d be amazed if anybody hasn’t learned something from your theme selections and comments. Don’t know how many haiku you receive every week, but I counted something like ninety-four poets in this week’s posting. I suspect you review inputs from twice that number. That’s a tremendous workload and my hat’s off to any editor (all those out there now who’ve been an editor or doing it now) for taking on that tough job. Appreciate your efforts and glad to have been selected this round. “tread softly” great one, Gabriel.

  23. A question for Pippa: This might be out of scope for HD, but would it be possible to have any living artists comment on the haiku selected for their art? I always appreciate reading such collaborative reflections.

    1. You know, that is an interesting question… I think it might be interesting to extend a hand to the community in Kinngait and see if they’d be interested in building some kind of collaboration… Perhaps there are already haikuists abiding there.

  24. I wanted to thank everyone for the discussion here—and Pippa for the meaningful art pieces–definitely a lot of time and research involved! Thank you, Pippa for selecting “retelling” this week. The reasons I intentionally did not use ‘muruaneq,’ the original Central Yup’ik (I think?) word for “soft deep snow” is because: 1) I only found two indirect sources for the definition, and 2) It is not my word, not my people or my language. I included the English translation because it fits with how we use language and translations, and a sense of time, cycles, and storytelling.

    As a newcomer to haiku who is always learning more about the full history and the evolution of the form in English, I often wonder about issues of representation and appropriation. When I approach ekphrastic haiku or senryu, I try to be as grounded in myself and my own experiences as possible. I do not want to overstep or take too much of what isn’t truly mine from the art. I have used non-English words in my writing before, but only when I have more of a personal connection to them.

  25. Thank you Pippa for all your hard work and including my haiku. I’ve enjoyed every week and everyone’s poems.

  26. Thank you Pippa for selecting mine. Thank you KJ and Lori for your continued hard work.

  27. Regardless of the matters of the poem, let’s please acknowledge that Pippa has put a ton of work into the column each week, going above and beyond with research and commentary, with breakneck turnaround. I know, as an editor, that I have missed things I should have perhaps caught, and a little grace is always appreciated as editors are volunteers doing their best in unpaid positions in their free time (which many people don’t have much of).

    A general note, when publishing “after poems” (at least in the genpo world) it is customary if the original poet is alive to reach out to them and ask permission to respond to their work (if you are doing it consciously). I have had people do this with me and I have done this if someone’s poem inspires me (esp I worry the poem I write in response makes it obvious which poem I am responding to). It is simply common courtesy. I have never declined anyone and no one has ever declined me. It is not that difficult.

    Making a case using Basho as an example is apples and oranges as Basho is long-dead and I am still here, very early in my writing career. Additionally, this is even more of an issue when persons in minority groups are having their work “aftered” by non-minority writers. *This* is a much bigger issue than deja ku, folx. And *this* is my biggest concern. Not Pippa not knowing I won a Touchstone.

    1. So everyone knows the poem in question:

      the snow
      ulu moon

      Again, I apologize. I should have caught it. When I saw it, it stuck a memory– I may well have read it and forgot about it. The poem struck me when I read it in a way that should have flagged something, but so many poems used Inuktitut that any sense of familiarity I attributed to bring buried deep in my old linguistics texts and dictionaries. Again, I apologize. Lori is probably right. I do not have enough experience to be in this position.

      1. Pippa, if you would allow another person some grace in this situation, allow it to yourself. No one is perfect, no matter how many haiku they have read.

      2. Pippa, I hope you are not taking this as a personal failing in any way. As so many others have stated here, your work has been phenomenal. It’s good that the community was able to come together and identify a problem quickly–we should applaud the community and not demean the editor. It could have slipped by anyone. And since your whole approach was to highlight the poems that made use of the language, it is also understandable. As others have said, when one reads thousands of haiku per year, they can not be expected to remember each one. And trying to research every entry sent for plagiarism is a bit much to hope for considering the time restraints on those who are working full-time jobs while editing as a volunteer. Try not to take it to heart. Your selections have proven time and again to be thoughtful works on the week’s theme. Let the community out any wrongdoing others may have done, but don’t say you’re not experienced enough for the position. Your hard work speaks for itself.

      3. I have greatly appreciated and learned so much from your selections and comments, Pippa. No matter your level of ‘experience’ you are superbly qualified. Do not apologize. We all make mistakes,

      4. Despite best intentions, things happen. Pippa you should forget this unfortunate episode and continue the exceptional work that you are doing here. Your thoughtful prompts have been so challenging and I am enjoying every one of them. And as Robin Smith has so rightly said you need to be gracious to yourself. God bless you.

        1. I totally agree.
          Thank you, Pippa, for your passion and hard work.
          Wishing you all a happy, safe and peaceful weekend!

    2. Thank you for the clarification. I only made the Basho reference as an easy example of how one might properly allude to a well-known poem without plagiarizing it. But clearly, referencing a living author is another issue altogether. And I should have made note of the appropriation issue, as well, in my response.

  28. I think everyone is being too harsh with Pippa. I don’t think any person or any editor should have to have the history of haiku memorized, including contest winners and touchstones. It’s unreasonable to expect that of anybody, no matter how long they’ve been in the community or how well you think a poem is known.
    Could it be plagiarism? Yes. Could it be deja ku? Yes. Could it be cryptoamnesia, where the person liked Robin’s poem so much that they internalized it and later forgot about it and spouted it out as their own? Yes. I think any of these things are possible and I’m sure if I was Robin I would be outraged too. But taking it out on Pippa isn’t the answer when like all of us, she’s just doing her best.

    1. I don’t want this comments section to become hung up on whether or not to blame me. I will take the blame. Let it stand there.

      I would however like to take this time to say that this conversation should not overshadow the Inuktitut language, and the topic of language preservation. The link I provided has a place where readers can contribute towards preserving that language, and I want to underline that. I will also including a link to Iontaobhas Na Gaelscolaíochta, the Trust Fund for Irish-Medium Education, here:

      1. I want to thank you, Pippa, for your thoughtful commentary throughout this series, including my own poem that I was thrilled had commentary today! I think this was my first time with commentary in HD. You understood the meaning of mine and plenty of complicated poems during these weeks. It’s a great deal of work, and I’ve enjoyed reading it. I hope you work to curate additional weeks.

    2. Agreed.

      I think Pippa’s done an excellent job in the last weeks, and I’ve enjoyed the art history lessons as much as I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s poetry. It seems a bit unreasonable to expect her to have an encyclopedic knowledge of all haiku written in the last five years and also unreasonable to direct anger at her when she is not the author of the poem in question. As to the poem in question — dunno. Hard to know the author’s intent here. I’ve certainly internalized fragments of writing before and then realized this on later drafts. I do think it veers too closely to the original (absolutely excellent) piece and should likely be removed as such, but it’s hard to say if this was a mistake or an intentional act of plagiarism.

      1. Yes. The effort that has gone into these prompts and the commentary is superhuman. Pippa has done an incredible job as guest editor, and I look forward to many more entries in her Ekphasti-ku series. They have inspired me each week.

    3. I agree with you. It could have been any of these things. I’ve been called out before and had no idea I’d written something so similar to someone else’s poem. It does make you question yourself. If you read a lot of haiku it remains up there in your head even if you are not aware of it. Sometimes bits find their way into your poems. If people notice this then they should certainly bring it to your attention and not assume it was intentional. Give the poet (and the editor/publisher) a chance to apologize and retract the poem. As poets and human beings can’t we just be gracious to one another?

  29. thanks everyone for the comments so far – it is clear that not everyone is aware of every poem, & we cannot know what is going on inside a poet’s head – many essays have been published about allusive variation, deja-ku, honkadori, homage… these are issues that are worthy of discussion, & they are serious questions – thank you, Peggy – it is my hope that we can provide a space for that (respectful, encouraging) dialogue here… kj

    1. I think that cases of plagiarism, or potential plagiarism, are pretty common in the haiku community, but they often happen in private – here it is in public, so I also hope it can be a useful discussion.

  30. These are a wonderful collection of responses to the prompt. So many favorites, and especially appreciate those who took time to research the language and incorporate it into their poems. I am really enjoying the challenge of the ekphrastic prompts and the pieces chosen.

    Pippa, in light of the previous comments, I would appreciate hearing from you on the subject of plagiarism versus the very haiku characteristic of referring back in homage to previous well-known pieces. When does a poem cross that line? Also, if a poet creates a unique and new kigo, is it not available to others as a kigo? These are serious questions, not argumentative ones.

    1. I was completely unaware of this plagiarism issue. I am contacting Lori and kj about it. I was completely unaware of Robin Smith’s poem until I woke up and found the comments section flooded with this.

      1. Pippa, it’s not like Robin’s poem was hidden in the crevices of a journal published 10 years ago. It is relatively recent and a TOUCHSTONE winner. I do mean this as an educational opportunity and not as a harsh as it might come off, but this is why editors should be well-read before flying solo in those positions.

        1. I am ashamed I did not catch this.

          Before being encouraged to take this position I was extremely clear to kj ad Lori that I was not sure if I was qualified to take an editorial position due to my limited time in the haiku community.

          I am curious as to your stance on the following two poems:

          last summer rose–
          a collapsing city
          inside of me

          Réka Nyitrai


          winter drizzle–
          redwoods absorb
          the city inside me

          Fay Aoyagi


          I am personally not comfortable letting the poem stand in this column, due also to using an instrument that is a woman’s tool (I did not know the author’s gender) but that is somewhat out of my hands.


          It is also worth to take into consideration that I am looking at hundreds of poems a week, writing commentary and prompts, and working as an essential worker. That said, I understand your disappointment.

    2. Those are good questions. I know that it is not uncommon in haiku to use allusion, taking a well-known phrase for yourself and then turning it over in some new way. Many people, for instance, have alluded to that famous old pond, its jumping frog, or the sound it made, often for a bit of humor, sometimes for serious reflection. In these cases, though, the allusion is well-known and the remaining phrase/lines is/are very different from the original. For example,
      the old pond–
      a frog’s dried out skin
      beside still waters
      I think the issue in this particular case is that the remaining lines that are not “ulu moon” follow the exact same structural pattern of the original poem, just in reverse (“carving/the snow” vs. “the silence/bleeding”). It is possibly a coincidence, or it is possible that the author read the original at some point in the past but forgot about it, and it came back as a seemingly original thought during the writing process. It is very difficult to say. Perhaps the author even found their version to be changed enough to act as an allusion and response to the original.
      I would hope that it was not intentional, in any case. I understand the frustration from those who caught the similarities, especially the author who was awarded for writing such an original line in the first place. Authors should be acknowledged for their work. It is one of my fears that I will accidentally write something too close to some poem that has already been written before. I know while reading haiku, I do see many similarities pop up here and there between poets, but I think most of it is just coincidence. That is one of the reasons I try harder and harder to push myself toward original observations. But there is never a guarantee that some overlap may occur at some point.
      It would be interesting to hear others’ insights into this issue.

    3. I think Peggy makes a good point here. Many, many haiku incorporate lines used previously in others’ work, especially related to kigo, with little comment. Here I think the writer has gone further than that. It would be good to hear the thoughts of this week’s writer. Perhaps they will want to withdraw their haiku.

  31. Wow! Not only are we straight up plagiarizing Robin Smith’s “ulu moon” but we’re also totally fine with appropriating a gender other than your own. With the femininity of that poem mixed with “bleeding”, it could certainly read as a womxn’s issue poem and #sorrynotsorry but CISHET men have no reason to write from a femme-presenting perspective. Could we just let femme-presenting and Enby’s have their own space, please??

    1. This is my nightmare. I was completely unaware. Thank you for informing me. Will talk to kj and Lori now.

  32. ulu moon
    the silence

    Florin C. Ciobica

    L1 has just been blatantly plagiarized here and it’s sad to see it made the commentary list.

    “ulu moon” was a distinct, original, and refreshing kigo used by Robin Anna Smith in her award-winning, minimalist poem from 2019:

    the snow
    ulu moon

    Robin Anna Smith
    Wilmington, Delaware

    Seventh Annual Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards, Third Place

    It also went on to win the Touchstone Award for Individual Poems that same year.

    1. Thanks for pointing this out, Shloka. I’m not going to get into it in detail bc I have better things to do with my time, but there is more than kigo replicated here. The entire structure is replicated, just inverted.

    2. These poems share more than just “ulu moon”. It’s the concept of the ulu moon cutting and with a similar structure and meaning. Robin’s poem is well-known from the Peggy Lyles and Touchstone Awards.

    3. I was unaware of this. I’ve informed kj and Lori of what happened. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  33. Thank-you Pippa for publishing mine. Thank-you also to Kathy and Lori. Congrats to fellow Ohioan Nancy Brady and to all the poets.

  34. Just noticed my incorrect surname.

    as eager as ever even here there be crows

    Ingrid Giln
    North Macedonia

    It should read Ingrid Baluchi, North Macedonia, please.

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