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Merrill Ann Gonzales

Merrill Ann Gonzales

June 30, 1938 - December 13, 2023

Merrill Ann Gonzales was an artist as well as a poet - she provided art for literary journals for three decades together with poetry and haiku. Her work has been published in Frogpond, Modern Haiku, The Heron’s Nest, Nor’easter, Presence, Pine Island Journal of New England Poetry, The Aurorean, Tanka Café, bottle rockets, Red Lights, Ribbons, Reeds: Contemporary Haiga, as well as several anthologies. She was appointed a resident artist for Moonset, the Newspaper in 2007.
Merrill Ann Gonzales wrote of her work:

"When I was a child, I had a Chinese nurse who taught me Chinese brushwork. She spoke very little English, and I was pretty ill at the time, but what she gave me has been a treasure for me my whole life. She showed me how the 'chi' flows through you, out into the painting and on to poetry. (…)
"Since that time, I've come to understand that haiga starts with the haiku, and from the spirit of the haiku, a certain form/shape/painting . . .'drawing' (which is what I call my artwork) emerges. Then somewhat the same process, only in another direction. (…)
In Chinese brushwork, I've learned how to accept that which I had not planned for . . . that which came of itself in the artwork. As the drawing comes to me line-by-line, the words start to form, line-by-line, and the whole comes of itself. It has a life of its own . . . a 'chi'."
Merrill Ann Gonzales Simply Haiku Spring 2005, vol 3 no 1 Modern Haiga.

winter wind
a wasp nest tumbles
from the eaves

Merrill Ann Gonzales, The Heron’s Nest 4:2, 2002

Merrill passed away on December 12, 2023, after several months of living in assisted care facilities.

Awards and Other Honors:

She won (with John Stevenson) a 2005 Bernard Lionel Einbond Award for Renku (which was published in Frogpond 24:2, 2006) and earned an Honorable Mention in the Harold G. Henderson Haiku Contest for 2006 (published in Frogpond 30:1, 2007). She was the grand prize winner for the official cover of The Heron’s Nest from March 1, 2006 to March 1, 2007.

Books Published:
Work Anthologised:
A Purple So Deep, an anthology of haiku collected by Leatrice Lifshitz (2001); illustrations in A Spill of Apples: Tan-renga and Other Linked Verse, Carol Purington and Larry Kimmel, Colrain, MA: Winfred Press, 2003; dandelion clocks, Haiku Society of America Member’s Anthology (2008).

Selected Work
stone in my pocket―
the brook cuts deeper
into the mountain
ceaseless rain―
his birthday comes
and goes
still it comes
out of the nor’easter―
the winter wren
before snow
how silent the birds―
sparrow tongue tea
I rake dried leaves
from my garden path―
the smell of mint
moon child―
a different face
each morning
I wade in the brook
that he loved to paint―
pull of the current
shelling beans
from another's garden
throbbing cicadas
the same rhythm
as my pulse
in a squash blossom
amber light


"stone in my pocket" - Honorable Mention, Harold G. Henderson Award (Haiku Society of America, 2006), Frogpond30:1 (2007); "still it comes" - A Purple So Deep, an anthology of haiku collected by Leatrice Lifshitz (2001); "I rake dried leaves" - dandelion clocks, Haiku Society of America Member’s Anthology (2008); "ceaseless rain" - Modern Haiku 40.l (2009); "before snow" - Simply Haiku 7:2 (2009); "moon child" - Acorn 23 (2009); “I wade in the brook” – Frogpond 36:2 (2003); “widow” – Frogpond 32.1, 2009; “throbbing cicadas” – Modern Haiku 41:1 (winter-spring 2010); “Bumblebee” – A Hundred Gourds 3:2 March 2014.

Additional Reading:

Living Haiku Anthology;
Artist Thrives On Haiku Charlotte Digregorio's Writer's Blog June 7, 2011

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