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New to Haiku: Postcards for Anna

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
USA

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!

Is there anything more welcoming than a homemade chocolate chip cookie?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments. 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 for more information.

Julie Bloss Kelsey is the current Secretary of The Haiku Foundation. She started writing haiku in 2009, after discovering science fiction haiku (scifaiku). She lives in Maryland with her husband and kids. Julie's first print poetry collection, Grasping the Fading Light: A Journey Through PTSD, won the 2021 Women’s International Haiku Contest from Sable Books. Her ebook of poetry, The Call of Wildflowers, is available for free online through Moth Orchid Press (formerly Title IX Press). Her most recent collection, After Curfew, is available from Cuttlefish Books. Connect with her on Instagram @julieblosskelsey.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Hi Julie

    You mention Anna doesn’t have internet, but does she have a computer? Just thinking, that sending her a USB drive or CD with various reference materials would be possible if she does have a computer.

    Stay inspired!

  2. Hi Julie and Anna

    There are a lot of connected haiku poets on social media. I know that can be a ‘tricky’ place but with so many writers and poems inside a smartphone, there are plenty of opportunities to read and connect.

    Cheers,
    John

  3. Good bad or indifferent I have such respect and joy in haiku and their constraints I try to construct but I think the constraint are an issue with Mr what I really enjoy is the psycho-physical placement of all the senses combined with such economy I think haiku is spiritual I try and try to breathe and I also bought a Kalimba which is an African hand held chime so the sound and vibrations inspire and time Mt lines. Oh well you can she how verbose I am but I will try and try this peaceful art. MAY. BLESSINGS REIGM
    N UPON ALL

  4. Dear Anna,

    Welcome to the haiku community! Truly the kindest and most encouraging group of people I have ever known. I believe haiku is good for the soul and mental health because it allows us to meditate on moments (particularly those in nature).

    Open your senses and don’t be afraid to write lots of ‘bad’ haiku because, in my experience, many of those can become great haiku with revision as you learn more. Keep everything you write for this reason.

    My best wishes for the incredible journey you’re undertaking.

    Just as Issa wrote (in one translation of it):

    O snail
    Climb Mt. Fuji
    But slowly, slowly!

    💜💜💜
    Eavonka Ettinger

  5. What a lovely idea!

    You could put Anna in touch with David McMurray, who is always asking for haiku on a postcard and whose column, if someone nearby prints it off for her, is very open and wide-ranging. It could be her first published haiku….

    Latest: https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/15139820
    “The next issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network appears Feb. 16. Readers are invited to send haiku for spring on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or e-mail to (mcmurray@fka.att.ne.jp).”

    Or subsequent fortnights….

    1. That is an excellent idea for Anna, Keith. I believe David was the first to publish some haiku of mine. I wrote haiku for years just to record moments of natural beauty and grace as I drove back and forth to work. If I didn’t record them right away before getting into the work day, I would lose them so I learned to carry a small notebook with me. To this day, Anna, I keep pen and paper close at hand, jotting down a few words, if not a haiku, when a moment occurs. I can (and do) revise (and revise) later when I get some time. So write, write, and have fun. ~Nan PS. Postcards on their way via Julie.

  6. Dear Anna,

    I wish you lots of fun on your new journey, exploring the meditative and spiritual form of haiku and senryu!

    If ever you get a chance, we’d love to see you at the My Haiku Pond community on Facebook!

    Fondly,

    Michael 🐸

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