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Bill Kenney

Bill Kenney

January 29, 1933 - September 27, 2022

Bill Kenney was born just outside of Boston and lived in New York for more than fifty years. His haiku are very much the haiku of a city boy, even if the city boy spends an occasional weekend in the country. Since he began writing haiku, a month before his 72nd birthday, his work was published in numerous print and online journals, among them Acorn, Failed Haiku, First Frost, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Prune Juice, and The Heron’s Nest and had frequently been included in anthologies.

For those of us with the privilege of having spent time, even briefly, with Bill Kenney, his voice will echo in these poems. For those who have not had the good fortune to know Bill in person, his wry humor, lack of pretension, and attentiveness to the particulars that shape a life and make it meaningful are preserved in these pages. Fortunate we all are to have these poems and this poet in our world. -Susan Antolin-.

His motto: Haiku is to poetry as espresso is to coffee

an old poet
reading myself
to sleep

[Prune Juice Issue 37, July 31, 2022]

Awards and Other Honors:

Featured in A New Resonance 5: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku (Red Moon Press, 2007); First place, 9th Annual Poets' Choice Kukai, Shiki Monthly Kukai (2011); The Haiku Foundation Touchstone Award for Haiku (2012); Third Place, Haiku North America Haiku Competition (2013); First Place, First Annual H. Gene Murtha Senryu Contest (2016); work selected to appear in the annual best-of-year series, The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015); senior admission (Red Moon Press 2019) - Shortlisted for the Touchstone Distinguished Books Award 2018; Winner of a Haiku Society of America Merit Book Award 2019 (HM) for Best Book of Haiku; keep walking (Red Moon Press, 2021) is the recipient of a Touchstone Distinguished Books Award for 2021.

Books Published:

the earth pushes back (Red Moon Press, 2017); senior admission (Red Moon Press 2019); keep walking (Red Moon Press 2021).
Work Anthologised:
A New Resonance 5: Emerging Voices in English Language Haiku (Red Moon Press, 2007); big sky: The Red Moon Anthology of English Language Haiku 2006 (Red Moon Press, 2007); carving darkness: The Red Moon Anthology of English Language Haiku 2011 (Red Moon Press, 2012; old song: the Red Moon Anthology of English Language Haiku 2017 (Red Moon Press, 2018); wind flowers: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2019; jar of rain: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2020 (Red Moon Press, 2021).

Selected Work
spring morning
the thrust of roots
through a sidewalk
a child's eyes widen
at the word
a falling leaf
rises on the wind . . .
long winter
my wife slows her pace
to mine
the difference
a sparrow makes―
bare branches
for no reason
the sound of you
swimming to me
all the shortcuts
I should know . . .
summer's end
dusting the books
he planned to read this summer
his widow
my death poem
can wait


“spring morning” - Big Sky: The Red Moon Anthology of English Language Haiku 2006 (Red Moon Press, 2007); “catfish” - Modern Haiku vol. 39.2, Summer (2008); "a falling leaf"- Frogpond vol. 32.2, Spring-Summer (2009); "long winter" - The Heron’s Nest Vol. XII, No. 3: September (2010); “the difference” - The Heron’s Nest Vol. XIII, No. 3: September (2011); “happy” - Modern Haiku vol. 43.1 Winter-Spring (2012); “moonlight” - Frogpond vol. 36.2, Spring-Summer (2013); “all the shortcuts” - Frogpond vol. 39.3, Autumn (2016); “dusting the books” - Modern Haiku vol. 49.2, Summer (2018); “drowsy” - Prune Juice #29, Nov. (2019).

Additional Reading:

the neighborhood returns
to ordinary darkness
[A New Resonance 5: Emerging Voices in English Language Haiku, Red Moon Press (2007)]

she tightens the knot
of my tie
[Modern Haiku vol. 47.2 Summer 2016]

passing through
the town where I grew up
the summer wind
[Modern Haiku vol. 48.3 Autumn 2017]

resuming chemo
I ask the nurse
how she's been
[Failed Haiku Vol. 5, Issue 56, August 2020]

bowl of ice cream
slowing down as
I near the bottom
[Acorn Issue #45, Fall 2020]

the time
it takes
[The Heron's Nest Vol. XXII, No. 2: June, 2020 (Editors' Choice)]

deep autumn
now I am
the oldest
[The Heron's Nest Vo. XXII, No. 3: September, 2020 (Editors' Choice)]

moon in water
my thoughts
into words
[The Heron's Nest Vol. XXII, No. 3: September, 2020]

departing spring
hardly any sky
left in my tree
[The Heron's Nest Vol. XXIII, No. 3: September, 2021]

September sunrise―
walking through
the sound of leaves
[The Heron's Nest Vol. XXIII, No. 4: December, 2021]

without words
spring rain
[tinywords issue 22.1, April 14, 2022].

More Bill's haiku on his blog haiku-usa .

Sources Biography: Haiku Circle

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