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Johnny Baranski

Johnny Baranski

May 1, 1948 - January 24, 2018

Johnny Baranski was born in Chicago and resided in Vancouver, Washington. He graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 1970 with a degree in English Literature and Philosophy. Long involved in the anti-war and Catholic Worker movements, many of his poems were written while–or about--serving time in prison for acts of nonviolent resistance to militarism and nuclear weapons. He began writing haiku and related forms in 1975. His work appeared in many journals and anthologies, including but not limited to: A Hundred Gourds, Brussels Sprout, Bones, bottle rockets, Cattails, Contemporary Haibun Online, Contemporary Haibun, Dragonfly: A Quarterly of Haiku, Frogpond, Haibun Today, Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years, Kamesan's World Haiku Anthology on War, Violence and Human Rights Violation, Kernels, Mayfly, Modern Haiku, Montage: The Book (The Haiku Foundation), Moonset, Multiverses, No Longer Strangers: Haiku Northwest 25th Anniversary Anthology, Prune Juice, The Heron's Nest, The Living Haiku Anthology, The Red Moon Press Anthology of English Language Haiku, Under The Basho, and Wind Chimes.

Awards and Other Honors: Convicts Shoot the Breeze was selected as a 2001 Virgil Hutton Memorial Award Haiku Chapbook winner. He co-judged (with W.F. Owen) the 2009 Brady senryu contest sponsored by the Haiku Society of America. His work was recognized for awards by the Western World Haiku Society, the North Carolina Haiku Society, the Red Moon Press Anthology of English-Language Haiku, and the A-Bomb Memorial Haiku Meeting in Kyoto, Japan and was exhibited at the 16th annual Honolulu Festival of the Arts (March 12-14, 2010). A selection of his poems was selected for Montage: The Book, published by The Haiku Foundation (2010). His baseball haibun, “Gandhi’s Game” was selected for Contemporary Haibun Vol. 11. He served as guest editor for "The Edge of The Moon" page focus on baseball haiku in the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of moonset magazine. His poems have received Sakura Awards and honorable mentions for the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Vancouver, British Columbia Cherry Blossom Haiku Invitational in the USA category. He co-judged (with Margaret Chula) the Haiku Society of America's Harold G. Henderson Haiku Contest in 2013. He was editor of The Haiku Foundation's Per Diem feature on the theme of war and peace for August 2014.

Books Published: Poems From Prison (Sunburst Press, Portland, Oregon 1979); Pencil Flowers: Jail Haiku (Holmgangers Press, Whitethorn, California 1983) [out of print]; Silent Silos: a counterBOMB haiku sequence (sunburst matchbooks, Portland, Oregon 1985); Fish Pond Moon (sunburst matchbooks, Portland, Oregon 1986); Hitch Haiku (sunburst matchbooks, Portland, Oregon 1987); Convicts Shoot The Breeze (Saki Press, Normal, Illinois 2001) [out of print]; just a stone's throw (Pinch Book Series No. 12 edited by Vincent Tripi, Tribe Press, Greenfield, Massachusetts 2006).      Trifolds: First Snow (Teahouse Pamphlets, Portland, Oregon 2003); Autumn Leaves, Selected Poems Seabeck Haiku Getaway 2012; Paper Cranes, Selected Haiku for HNA 2013; Beads of Glass, A Rosary Haiku Sequence, Seabeck Haiku Getaway 2013.     Broadside: Blossoming Pear (Lilliput Review #191, edited by Don Wentworth, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania 2013).

Selected Work
plum blossoms the old man's toothless grin
amber wheat fields—
no one talks about
the missile silos
spring breeze…
the scent of cherry
tobacco pipe smoke
Indian Summer
the cicada's song
grows feeble
ripening plums
the patience I never quite
got the hang of
mountain summit
how easily reached
by the autumn wind
in ten summers
the convict's first visit
long before I came
long after I leave
blossoming pear
sunning itself on a river rock her string bikini
leafless elm the wind takes a bough

Credits: "plum blossoms" - Frogpond 36:2 (Spring/Summer 2013); "spring breeze" - Honorable Mention USA, Vancouver Cherry Blossom Haiku Invitational 2013; "ripening plums" - The Heron's Nest XVI:2 (June 2014); "in ten summers" - The Heron's Nest XIII:4 (December 2011); "sunning itself" - Modern Haiku 43.2 (Summer 2012); "amber wheat fields" - Modern Haiku 45.2 (Summer 2014); "Indian Summer: - Cattails Premier Edition (2013); "mountain summit" - Multiverses (Spring 2012); long before I came" - Lilliput Review #191 (Lilliput Broadside, Autumn 2013); "leafless elm" - Frogpond 35:3 (Fall 2012).

Additional Reading: His books are included in The Haiku Foundation's Digital Library. You can listen to Johnny reading selections of his work at The Living Haiku Anthology and on You-Tube. Haiku Northwest has created a beautiful memorial page for Johnny, available at

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