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New to Haiku: The Haiku Mixer

Hello, and welcome to The Haiku Mixer!

Come in, hang up your coat, and grab a drink (1). Out back, there are several walking paths through the tall grass (2) and morning glories (3) that lead to the koi pond (4) and hot springs. Watch out for those frogs (5) and toads (6)!

But I digress. The party is right this way. You are now entering a maze of twisty passages all alike – no, wait, that’s another story (7). You are now entering a ballroom full of mysterious and beautiful people, otherwise known as haiku poets.

Instead of traditional party masks, each face is covered by a single poem. Every poet here has chosen a haiku or senryu that reflects how they see themselves, who they are as a person, or their personal and/or poetic philosophy.

Fifty-two poets answered my social media invitation to come to this online celebration of our poetic selves. Thank you all for making this online party a success. I truly enjoyed reading all of your work, and I have have newfound appreciation for the editors among us who select and collate haiku and senryu for everyone on a regular basis.

See a poem that you like? Be sure to let the poet know in the comments! And thanks for coming to The Haiku Mixer.

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the end of mourning neelakurinji

whiptail: journal of the single-line poem, Issue 4 (July 2022)
Akhila Mohan CG

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mayfly
in the same skin
it danced in

Bones, Issue 24, Autumn 2022
Alan Peat

I was chatting with my dad about growing older (he’s 87) and he said, “You’re still looking through the same pair of eyes.” So, I guess this is me . . . and my dad. And all of us, really.

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wind-spun flakes . . .
a child’s world escapes
the snow globe

Joint Winner, tinywords photo prompt, Issue 15.1 (2015)
Alan Summers

I’m always attempting to escape the snow globe or bring it with me on a great adventure.

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purple irises . . .
a hint of hose
in the first sip

The Heron’s Nest, Vol. XXII, No. 3 (Sept. 2020)
Anna Eklund-Cheong

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morning fog
an old date
breakfast in bed

failed haiku
(July 2021)
Birk Andersson

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A lone dog
barking at moon shadows–
only echoes reply.

Mayfly #21 (April 1996)
Bob Carlton

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paper and pencil
I leave a trail of breadcrumbs
for the afterlife

Haiku Dialogue (October 6, 2021)
Cynthia Anderson

This poem describes my daily life as a poet—above all, I’m writing to save my soul.

***

not giving away
the anatomy –
night parrot

Bones, Issue 23 (April 2022)
Daya Bhat

This is totally me, elusive and reclusive.

***

transience . . .
petal by petal
we let go

Winning Haiku, Canada, Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational (2017)
Debbie Strange

As a formerly healthy person, I have been forced (“petal by petal”) to abandon many lifelong passions to accommodate chronic illness.

***

for the heart
very small things –
morning sparrows

Rattle Magazine (Summer 2020)
Deborah A. Bennett

I identify with the poem I wrote, at the beginning of the pandemic, because it brought me great consolation to believe in the small. To believe in the few. To believe in the particular.

***

locked up
in genetic coding
family secrets

Haiku Dialogue (October 2022)
Eavonka Ettinger 

Through DNA testing and extensive research, I was finally able to discover my biological father and his side of my heritage.

***

how suddenly
the butterfly’s shadow
takes my troubles

Wales Haiku Journal (Summer 2022)
Eve Castle

This is a very specific moment. I tend towards worry (anxiety?). I was furiously walking on a path, my brow furrowed, my mind on some (now forgotten) concern, when the shadow of a butterfly fluttered on the sidewalk in front of me. Clearly a message and an immediate worry slayer.

***

multi-millionaire—
his son laboring over
poetry for free

failed haiku, Volume 3, Issue 35 (November 1, 2018)
Geoff Pope

Partly because of poetry, I’m freer than my wealthy father.

***

poets graveyard
stone carved inscriptions
in dead languages

Commended, UHTS “aha” contest (2020)
John Hawkhead

The subject of ‘mortality’ threads through most of my work, from the vibrant flush of life to the impending grave.

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still searching
for the meaning of life . . .
cauliflower sky

failed haiku, Volume 5, Issue 58 (September 2020)
Julie Bloss Kelsey

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morning sea
I shake the night
from my wings

Kingfisher 5 (2022)
Kat Lehmann

This poem is a haiku earworm that loops in my mind because of the homonym of morning/mourning, the empowerment and synesthesia of shaking the night, and that I can feel my wings when I read it.

***

white lace wraps her waist
tight binding of light blessings
femininity

Throats to the Sky (Autumn 2022)
Katherine E Winnick

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language barrier –
so much laughter yet
so utterly alone

Cold Moon Journal (October 9, 2022)
Katja Fox

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home to office
blackhole
office to home

Haiku Dialogue (Dec 22, 2021)
Kavya Janani. U

This senryu reflects how I feel about my job for the past 5 years (since the time I joined). I was steered into choosing this career, but I can’t leave now, because I need the money for survival. And it is because of this monotonous routine (home to work to home) that I feel stuffed and as if sucked into a black hole.

***

low tide I re-forgive myself

failed haiku, Volume 7, Issue 77 (May 2022)
Ken Slaughter

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full moon
the tides
inside me

tsuri-dōrō, Issue #11 (Sept/Oct 2022)
Kerry J Heckman 

This haiku refers to my sensitive nature, which I consider my greatest strength.

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wild blackberries
the taste in my mouth
of certain words

Otata, Issue 47 (November 2019)
Kristen Lindquist

This is “me” because I have always been fascinated by words and language, and for the past 30+ years I have also collected poems that include blackberries. I gave a presentation once for Haiku San Diego in praise of blackberry haiku; they are one of my favorite fruits and I think one of the most evocative for use as a poetic image.

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reading glasses
on the windowsill–
lingering snow

Haiku Dialogue (April 7, 2021)
Lafcadio

This is the first poem I had published and the first poem where the concept of juxtaposition and the Aha moment hit me.

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all the light
of a boyhood summer
first firefly

The Heron’s Nest, Volume 24, Issue 2 (June 2022)
Lee Hudspeth

***

night window
the blue moon and I
still standing alone

The Poetry Pea (October 2022)
Lori Kiefer

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mad butterflies i turn a blind eyestalk

Heliosparrow Poetry Journal (June 2022)
Marcie Wessels

This poem was inspired by two Issa poems:

katatsuburi chô wa ikiseki sawagu nari
snail the butterfly in a mad hurry

katatsuburi soro-soro nobore fuji no yama
little snail inch by inch climb Mount Fuji

I wrote this as a reminder to myself that my journey is my journey.

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binge watching stories on every face

Haiku Dialogue (April 1, 2020)
Margaret Walker

I love meeting people and getting to know them. But I also enjoy just “people-watching” — you can glean so much through observation. Human behavior is fascinating.

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blister pack
focusing
on the personal

Human/Kind Journal #1.1 (January 2019)
Mark Gilbert

The haiku/senryu above is a good signature one for me as I often write autobiographically.

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myself seeing myselves seeing myselves who told me I was naked

Bones: journal for contemporary haiku, No. 15 (March 2018)
Michael Nickels-Wisdom 

Prayer, meditation, and cross-disciplinary reading have lead me to a transpersonal view of my life.

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her mood rises
with the sun
–first crocus

Stardust Haiku #51 (March 2021)
Nancy Brady

The darkness of winter wears me down, and discovering the bloom of the first crocus and more sunlight makes me feel hopeful.

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flowing river
I so wish to be a fish
among the fish

The Heron’s Nest, Volume XXIV, Number 1 (March 2022)
Neena Singh

This is me, because I love to be in the flow of life’s river—one fish among the multitude!

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the slow movement
toward wholeness . . .
crescent moon

Presence 70 (July 2021)
P. H. Fischer

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i traveled a moonbeam tonight searching for you

dew-on-line 4 (2002) “profiles in stillness”
Pamela A. Babusci

i am still searching.

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summer flowers
I carry chrysanthemums
to my sister’s grave

First published in Presence Magazine (Autumn 2020)
Patricia Hawkhead

My sister Bridget died when she was very young – this is about my continuing connection to her memory.

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another lost night
my date
with melancholy

failed haiku (August 2018)
Peter Jastermsky

Maybe I watched too many Ingmar Bergman films years ago, but I learned how to be present for the existential moments in life.

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Basho’s frog cut apart in English class

Five Fleas (Itchy Poetry), (September 25, 2022)
petro c. k.

I study and appreciate the past, but I’m always taking things apart, examining and rearranging them into something else hopefully challenging and maybe with a bit of humor.

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sudden rain—
I open an umbrella
inside me

failed haiku, Volume 7, Issue 82 (September 2022)
Pippa Phillips

This poem is about resilience, which is something that has defined mine and many other’s past few years, but it’s also about what it is sometimes like to write haiku. It can be healing. I wrote this poem at a low moment, to bring myself up, and it worked.

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school’s out —
a boy follows his dog
into the woods

School’s Out: Selected Haiku of Randy Brooks, (Foster City, CA: Press Here), 1999
Randy Brooks

Now that I’m retired this is really me.

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cobblestones
the uneven path
of my thoughts

Editor’s pick, Stardust Haiku (July 2018)
Rich Schilling

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feeding on rice the zen teachings of my free pigeon

whiptail: journal of the single-line poem, Issue 2 (February 2022)
Richa Sharma

This poem describes me well as a poet and a person because I love rice and learn so much from my simple pigeon friends living in a huge metropolis.

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red candle i enter your narrative

Winner, The Haiku Foundation’s Facebook Haiku Contest (2010)
Roberta Beary

My life story in 10 syllables and 6 words.

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lavender blooms in the cottage of my core

Modern Haiku (Autumn 2022)
rs

Things aren’t as they should be yet I am at peace because I internalize the external positives I want to carry with me and those things are what keep me feeling alive inside.

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an impromptu singalong
with crickets—
candle running out

Under the Bashō (April 2022)
Sankara Jayanth Sudanagunta

I see our connection to all living things and this sensitivity shows in how I’m in dialogue with them one way or another in my haiku.

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moving again
how do you pack
the silence?

Wales Haiku Journal (Spring 2021)
Shalini Pattabiraman

Being on the move, not feeling centered

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erecting landmarks in the field of why

First Published in Under the Basho, one-line section (2018)
Shloka Shankar

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side B
every record needs
a second song

Cold Moon Journal (November 18, 2021)
Susan Bonk Plumridge

I have reached my retirement years–but I’m ready for a second act.

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broken ladder
the spider weaves
into the web itself

Naad Anunnaad: an anthology of contemporary world haiku
tanvi nishchal

this was the first ku that i composed and i feel that i am exactly like the spider that even when i feel like giving up i am unable to and i keep going with the flow

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autumn leaves
finding beauty
in my turning

#FemkuMag, Issue 5 (October 2018)
Terri L. French

As I age, and inevitably change both physically and emotionally, the love for what I find beautiful in myself must also change.

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a change in the wind
I curse
my irritable bowel

failed haiku (September 2019)
Tracy Davidson

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first poem —
not in a language
mother speaks

Asahi Shimbun (November 2012)
Tzetzka Ilieva

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shelled peas
I discover who I am
outside of us

First place, Golden Triangle Haiku Contest (2022)
Vandana Parashar

I think this haiku describes me and my life journey very well as I have grown, evolved and come a long way from the person I once was.

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Who knew who hugged who
     we were every embrace that
          ever melted names

Indiannual 3: a literary collection (1987)
William J. Jackson

I guess I like to lose myself in art—the creative process—it makes timeless time fly by. And friendship is like that too.

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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.

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(1)

It is cold, but
we have sake
and the hot spring

Masaoka Shiki

(2)

coming back–
so many pathways
through the spring grass

Yosa Buson

(3)

morning glory!
the well bucket-entangled,
I ask for water

Fukuda Chiyo-ni

(4)

harvest moon–
walking around the pond
all night long

Matsuo Basho

(5)

old pond
a frog jumps in
the sound of water

Matsuo Basho

(6)

The toad! It looks like
it could belch
a cloud.

Kobayashi Issa

(7)
Anyone else remember Zork?

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 39 Comments

  1. Wow. What a collection of poems…and I also love some of the comments. I love how this column helps you get to know people.

    Thanks for hosting one of my pieces, Julie.

    <3 Robin

  2. Julie, you throw a great party! I have enjoyed reading all these wonderful poems and find myself returning to read them again and again. Each haiku is a gem, full of insights and inspiration. Kudos to you and all the contributors here.

  3. What a stunning collection, Julie! Hats off to you for coming up with this idea and seeing it through.
    Reading every poem made me realise how, despite our different backgrounds and cultures, we all are so deeply connected. Each and every poem resonates and brings us closer the poet.
    A huge thanks for doing this and a cheers to all the poets for sharing their poems and a part of themselves.

  4. Loved seeing the range of technique and subject matter in everyone’s submissions. Could comment on just about every poem!

    One of the really fun ones was your poem, petro:

    Basho’s frog cut apart in English class

    Reminds me of Richard Gilbert’s “frog jum” take on Basho’s famous poem, where he cuts it off mid-idea.

    Was gonna submit my Basho parody poem, but it’ll be on the back cover of the next issue of Haiku Canada Review. Didn’t wanna spoil it 😉

    Thanks for doing this, Julie!

  5. Thank you so much dear Julie for this wonderful opportunity to walk a few steps with all the amazing poets, whose works I admire and look up to. It is my privilege to be part of their pilgrimage to themselves! This takes me one step ahead in my pilgrimage to myself. Every poem breathtaking.
    Thanks again,
    Daya

  6. Thank you for doing this, Julie–what an inspired way to share who we are with each other.

  7. Loved the party and the introspective attendants on their path of life through haiku!

  8. Thanks for the invite to the party! I am going home with a rich cache of haiku to share with a class I am invited to teach on death and dying. I’d considered calling it Old Age, Sickness and Death. Now I will ponder a moniker of “autumn leaves”, “cobblestones” or maybe just the “old pond”. As noted, everyone has dissected the frog, why not a mysterious old pond?

  9. I’m not usually one for parties–but this was different! Thanks to Julie for hosting and to all who attended. A treat, for sure.

  10. Thanks again, Julie, for admitting me to my first haiku ball!

    Great to finally meet you, Lee!

    This past spring, I moved from the Seattle area back to my boyhood hometown of Paducah, Kentucky, where I first experienced mesmerizing fireflies. Where was your “first firefly” summer?

  11. You cracked me up, petro c.k., with your “Basho’s frog cut apart in English class” — which polliwog-flashed me back to a 10th-grade biology lab, where I leaped to make the first cut on little Frigg.🔪🐸

    On a side croak note toward your end of the pond, my first job in Seattle was selling magnetic marbles on the food court in Westlake Center, where I almost lost my mind.

    1. Wasn’t petro c.k.’s poem fun? I loved the twist of English class at the end. And that poem has been dissected so many times! Such a clever observation.

  12. Thanks dear Julie for this wonderful treat of reading the haiku penned by poets in response to “This is Me”. I felt I was in a hall with all these poet friends and we were reading these out aloud! A superb idea and so much effort entailed by you for our reading pleasure and knowing each other better. Grateful. 🤗🙏

  13. An enjoyable read. It’s a great idea to know myself one step newer and better with mindfulness and develop empathy through the creative process. Thank you so much, Julie 🙂

  14. An enjoyable read. It’s a great idea to know myself one step newer and better with mindfulness and develop empathy through the creative process. Thank you so much, Julie 🙂

  15. The joy here was in reading the poems that told me a bit more about each person. Thank you for compiling this!
    Some spoke of things I love – snow globes, wild blackberries and always the ocean – and I thought “Yes!”. But to all of you who shared, thank you!

    1. I agree completely, Margaret. It was a joy to read. Collating the poems made me feel so connected to everyone.

  16. What a wonderful idea Julie – thanks for giving it your time and energy. I enjoyed reading it all.
    🙂🙏

    1. Thanks, Alan. I did too! It was like meeting someone’s eyes – that brief glimpse into their soul.

  17. What a great idea Julie – thanks for hosting this party! I’m so pleased to be circulating amongst so many talented and connected people. I’m not going to single anyone out because all these signature poems are superb. Congratulations to everyone!

  18. wild blackberries
    the taste in my mouth
    of certain words

    Kristen Lindquist

    Appreciate the ku, and the fruit.

    1. Isn’t that an awesome poem? I can feel the blackberries in my mouth when I read it.

  19. I was deeply moved by all of these. There is something so intimate in choosing and sharing the poem that most feels like you. I feel privileged and inspired by each of you.

    I find it darn near impossible to edit down to one or two that most stood out as it was all of them combined that had such an impact. Thank you, Julie for such a creative opportunity for us to gather and grow.

  20. What a great party! Many familiar names, but quite a few I haven’t seen before. Glad to get to know you all through the ‘ku that represents you. All wonderful haiku, but one that especially resonated with me was Susan Bonk Plumridge’s:

    side B
    every record needs
    a second song

    Cold Moon Journal (November 18, 2021)
    Susan Bonk Plumridge
    I like the idea of retirement as a second act.

  21. What a wonder read! Thanks Julie for opening the doors and inviting us over to this haiku mixer! Such great insight to all of you, even though there’s been many of you whom I’ve gotten to know in the past few months since I’ve been actively writing, I feel like I got to know you a little bit better. And to those who I don’t know (yet), hello, nice to meet you!

    It was quite a task to pick just one verse that spoke to me most but I think this certainly speaks to the sense I’ve been feeling these past few years:

    sudden rain—
    I open an umbrella
    inside me

    Pippa Phillips

    Thanks Pippa, this will be one I’ll be thinking of time and again as the next challenges arise.

    Thanks everyone, for sharing your personal sides, and hopefully we’ll see all each other again soon!

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