Recently, I was on the phone with my friend Julieann when she told me that her mother Anna had taken an interest in haiku.
“She wants to learn more about haiku, but she’s not on the internet,” Julieann explained. “Could you print out some information for her?”
I thought about this and decided to send Anna the children’s book Will You Still Love Me?: A Puppy Haiku Story by Chrissi Villa. Who doesn’t like haiku about dogs? (Full disclosure: There’s a poem of mine in there. And my mom enjoyed the book.) Chrissi’s book contains a brief introduction to haiku by Sarah Welch; I liked Sarah’s essay so much that I obtained permission from her to reprint it for New to Haiku.
However, Anna’s interest in haiku went deeper than I had realized, and soon she was asking Julieann if I could send her more information. In part because of the wonderful advice and recommendations given by poets in Advice for Beginners, I followed up with The Haiku Handbook by William J. Higginson and Penny Harter, along with Haiku: A Poet’s Guide by Lee Gurga.
Anna sent me back the sweetest thank you card. In part, she wrote, “I was blown away, surprised, astounded & happy to receive two great haiku books. So wonderful!”
Of course, now I want to find Anna a haiku community. I’ve never given much thought to how to reach prospective poets who aren’t already on the internet; the mentoring groups I know of meet on Zoom. I’ve checked the Haiku Society of America’s regional map of haiku groups, but, sadly, there are no groups listed in her area.
I’d love to find Anna a haiku pen pal or two. I don’t feel comfortable giving out her address on the internet, but I did have an idea:
Please consider sending Anna a postcard about haiku. Maybe include a haiku you’ve published or a tip about haiku or just a note welcoming her into the haiku community. You can send your postcards here, and I will forward them to her:
Postcards for Anna
c/o Julie Bloss Kelsey
P.O. Box 2884
Germantown, MD 20875-2884
If you are unable to send a postcard, please leave Anna a hello in the comments. I will print this column out for her in a couple of weeks and mail it to her.
Thank you for helping me to welcome a new poet into our community!
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