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Timothy 'Tim' Russell (shachihoko)

Timothy 'Tim' Russell (shachihoko)

May 25, 1951 - September 16, 2021

Timothy Russell was perhaps best known to the haiku community for his straightforward haiku training instructions for newcomers – and for this haiku that won him a trip to Japan in 1999:
the egret shifts from stillness
to stillness

This haiku has become one of the classics of modern English-Language haiku.

Tim was born May 25, 1951 and raised in Follansbee. He later moved to Weirton, WV, and then to mile 61 along the Ohio River in Toronto, OH, for the past 30 years.

He was retired from the Weirton Steel Corp. where he worked as a boiler repairman. It was in the mill that he earned the nickname ‘Mad Dog’; and the ‘Steel Mill Poet’ by writers. Tim was published in a book, ‘A Red Shadow of Steel Mills’ along with 3 other writers who also worked in steel mills. All of his daily happenings at the steel mill were shared daily at the dinner table.
Tim was a Veteran of the US Army (Sgt.) having served during the Vietnam Era as a Military Police Sentry Dog Handler from 1970-1972.
Tim was a graduate of Madonna High School (1969) in Weirton. He went on to receive his Bachelor’s degree from West Liberty College (1977) and Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh (1979).
He was a world published poet and wrote many haiku and won many prizes with them.
The last haiku he wrote, a few days before he died:

The little dog knows
I’m toast

– 9/13/21

He tended to his gardens along the Ohio riverbank and built a stone henge fondly called ‘Tim Henge’ across from his house. He grew poppies, zinnias, and sunflowers in it throughout the years.
Battling knotweed on the hillside he turned it into a bird and wildlife sanctuary. He would ride along the banks of the river in his boat collecting garbage and debris trying to keep the river clean. He was mindful of sharing and taking care of the earth for everyone and everything. Tim was also an avid Pittsburgh Steeler fan.
He was the author The Possibility of Turning to Salt, 1987; received the Golden Webb Award, 1987; author In Dubio, 1988; received State Street Press, 1988; author In Medias Res, 1991; author Adversaria, 1993; received Terrence Des Pres Prize for Poetry (Tri Quarterly Books), 1993; author What We Don’t Know Hurts, 1995; received Talent House Press award, 1995; author In Lacrimae, 1997; received White Eagle Coffee House Press award, 1996; published 4 poems in the magazine Poetry 1998 and many more published in magazines and reviews over the years; received 4th Shiki International Haiku award Shiki team, Ehime Prefecture, Japan 1999.

Timothy passed away Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, at his home after a fight with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS preleukemia).

His family is planning a gathering next year for a Celebration of Life at his home on the river to spread his ashes, read poetry and music in the spring of 2022.

From Timothy W. ‘Tim’ Russell The Obituary .

Awards and Other Honors:

Winner of the 1993 Terrence Des Pres Prize for Poetry; Recipient 4th Shiki Internet Haiku award, Shiki Team, Ehime Prefecture, Japan, 1999.

Books Published:

Adversari - the debut collection of non-haiku poems (TriQuarterly Books, 1993); The Ohio Haiku Anthology - A collection of haiku by Ohio poets (2020).

Selected Work
under the dead oak
a clump of daffodils
and three cows
high in bare oak branches
yellow paper kite
heat lightning
flashing on the horizon
fireflies nearby
at the river's edge
ice melts from willow branches—
a dangling fish-hook
so many bullfrogs
bellow at the summer pond:
two full moons tonight
this small winter sun—
the bare silver maple has
a snowy shadow
fog mixed with rain
how black are the fenceposts 
how green the alfalfa
hidden in marsh grass
the bullfrog bellowing now
gives himself away
among the sparrows
flitting in the cherry tree—
one blue parakeet
receding thunder—
my father holds a lily
in his stricken hand


"under the dead oak" - Dragonfly (July 1975); "heat lightning" - Dragonfly (October 1974); "so many bullfrogs" - 1987 Contest Winners (West Virginia Poetry Society, 1987); When Butterflies Come (Haiku Society of America, 1993); Rhyme Time (2001); "abandoned" - Dragonfly(July 1974); "at the river's edge" - Haiku Headlines 54 (1992); Timepieces (1993); One Breath (Haiku Society of America, 1995); Gathering Light (1997); Rhyme Time (2001); (2007); Spasms of Light (2009); "this small winter sun" - Best of 1989 (Ohio Poetry Day Association);, July 2007); “fog mixed with rain” - Dragonfly (October 1975); “hidden in marsh grass” - Timepieces (1993); Dream Shop (1993); “among the sparrows” - Timepieces (1993); Dream Shop (1993); (2007); Spasms of Light (2009); “receding thunder”— (2007).

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