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James Chessing

James Chessing

Born: August 21 1952 in San Francisco California, USA
Resides: San Ramon, California, USA
E-mail: jchessing (at) hotmail (dot) com

A man of few words, I guess haiku suits my temperament. In both my avocation and career as a clinical psychologist, the pursuit of just the right words has been as good a principle to live by as any. I discovered haiku in high school and have been obsessing over it ever since. My work has been published in over 20 haiku and related journals, placed in many contests and appeared in several anthologies.

Awards and Other Honors: I took first place in the inaugural Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Award Competition in 2003, and second in 2010. I took second place in the Harold G. Henderson Memorial Haiku Contest in 1992 and the North Carolina Haiku Society Contests in 1990 and 1997. My signature poem "end of the hour" (below) was a Top Selection in the Japan Air Lines Haiku Contest in 1988. My work has been anthologized in The San Francisco Haiku Anthology [Eds. Jerry Ball, Garry Gay & Tom Tico] (1992); Summer River [Ed. Tom Lynch] (The Two Autumns Reading Series, Haiku Poets of Northern California, 1992); Haiku Compass: Directions in the Poetical Map of the U.S.A. [Presented for the Haiku International Association on the 300th Anniversary of Matsuo Basho by William J. Higginson] (Tokyo, 1994); Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac [Ed. by William J. Higginson] (Kodansha International, 1996); The Red Moon Anthology 1997 [Ed. Jim Kacian] (Red Moon Press, 1998); and The Haiku Anthology, 3rd Edition (Ed. Cor Van Den Heuvel) (W.W. Norton and Co., 1999).

Selected Work
end of the hour—
   twilight shadows obscure
      the therapist’s face
opening the door
to an unexpected knock—
the fragrance of plums
soothing her arthritis
   in the hot sulphur spring—
      the desert stars
all the family’s here—
   the persimmon ripens
mourning dove calls…
   my elderly neighbor stills
      the sound of her hoeing
winter solitude—
the lima beans soaking
in half-moonlight

Credits: "end of the hour" - Top Selection, Japan Air Lines Haiku Contest (1988); "soothing her arthritis" - Second Place, North Carolina Haiku Society Haiku Contest (1990); "mourning dove calls" - Second Place, the Harold G. Henderson Memorial Award (Haiku Society of America ,1992); Frogpond 15:2 (1992); "opening the door" - Second Place, The Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Award Competition (2010); Modern Haiku 41:2 (2010); "all the family’s here" - Frogpond 27:3 (2004); "winter solitude" - First Place, The Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Award Competition (2003); Modern Haiku 34:2 (2003).

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