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Robert F. Mainone

Robert F. Mainone

February 11, 1929 - February 17, 2015

Robert F. Mainone was born in Flint, grew up in Ravenna, and then lived in Delton, Michigan. He became a naturalist at an early age with miles of open space to explore. His father taught him how to hunt and fish which led to an interest in the life styles of Native Americans through books and the many arrowheads he found. He grew to appreciate the pre-Columbian Indians affinity with all of Nature. In his solo woodland wandering he found a diverse environment where something new might reveal itself at any moment. In 1963, while stationed in Greenland during his service in the United States Air Force, he discovered haiku in Harold G. Henderson's An Introduction to Haiku and then Robert BIyth's Haiku series. Anthologized in a Japan Airlines haiku contest in 1964, he was encouraged to publish 11 haiku chapbooks from 1964 to 1997. These can be found in many Michigan libraries. Some are in archives with his haiku diaries (1986 ongoing) that record the changing seasons: bird migration, blossom times ... and one or more haiku per day. His haiku have also appeared on T-shirts, gift cards, address labels "penny poems", etched on cobalt drinking cups, on large color photographs, city buses and as a haiga over his back door. His haiku have also been presented in multimedia performances, set to music for a choral recital, and given as readings for Elderhostels, artist workshops, and memorial services. In 1966, he sauntered 60 miles in 8 days along the Lake Michigan shore, from Frankfort to Leland, sketching and writing haiku, resulting in his chapbook, Where Waves Were. The following year, he traveled to Japan to walk where classic haiku had been written. At Michigan State University he earned BS, BSF, and MS degrees in biology and forestry. He has held professional memberships in the Michigan botanical Society, the National Audubon Society, the Association of Interpretive Naturalists, the Explorers Club, the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, the Poetry Society of Michigan, the Michigan Nature Association, the Nature Conservancy, the Arctic Institute of North America, and the American Society of Mammalogists.

Awards and Other Honors: Honorable Mention, Gerald Brady Memorial Senryu Award (Haiku Society of America, 2008); Honorable Mention, The R.H. Blyth Award for Haibun (World Haiku Club, 2004); Finalist, Japan Air Lines haiku contest (201 of 40,000 entries, exhibited in the Japanese Pavilion at the Brisbane Exposition (1988); First Place, Harold G. Henderson Award (Haiku Society of America, 1980); First Place, Harold G. Henderson Award (Haiku Society of America, 1977); Honorable Mention, Biennial Book Award [for High on the Wind] (Haiku Society of America, 1976); Finalist, Japan Air Lines haiku (80 of 50,000 entries, published in the anthology Haiku '64); Top score (80 competing) Military riflery competition (1953; President, high school senior class (Ravenna, Michigan, 1947); On basketball team that won district championship (1946).

Books Published: An American Naturalist's Haiku (Wonderland Press, 1964); Parnassus Flowers (Wonderland Press, 1965) [featured as Book of the Week in January 2015 and available in The Haiku Foundation's archive]; Where Waves Were (Wonderland Press, 1966);This Boundless Mist (Wonderland Press, 1968); Shadows (Wonderland Press, 1971); Young Leaves (Wonderland Press, 1974); High on the Wind (Wonderland Press, 1976) [Honorable Mention, Haiku Society of America Book Award]; Moonlight (Wonderland Press, 1979); The Journey North (Wonderland Press, 1984); The Spring Within (Wonderland Press, 1989); Seven Acres of Sky (Wonderland Press, 1997).  These books are available from the author (for more information, contact him using the e-mail address above). In addition,Mainone's haiku, articles, and other work have been published in Arts and Artists (Detroit Institute of the Arts, 1965); Art Around Town (International Suiboku Society, Tokyo, 1968); Poet (India, 1972); Peninsula Poets (1974); Science and Children (1975); Haiku TranspIanted (Japan); The Communicator (1976); Subsistence Living (1978); The Jackpine Warbler (Michigan Audubon Society, 1978); Journal of Interpretation (Assoc. Interpretive Naturalists, 1979); Practices of the Wind (1979); Visions of the Wild (1980); Convergence (1980); Michigan Natural Resources (1982 and 1988); The Rise and Fall of Sparrows (1990); Michigan Natural Resources (1990 and 1992); A Haiku Path (Haiku Society of America, 1994); and Reeds: Contemporary Haiga (2004 and 2005).   Biographical sketches appear (or have appeared) in Marquis Who's Who in the Midwest; International Who's Who in Poetry; National Register of Prominent Americans; The Writer's Directory; Dictionary of International Biography; Leaders in Outdoor Education; Contemporary Authors; Michigan Poets; International Academy of Poets; and Michigan Authors; and Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., (2013).

Selected Work
old frog
up to his ears
in moonlight
a sky full of stars
how improbable
my parents would meet
all around
light failing in a field
of fireflies
find me in the sounds
of sparkling brooks ... young leaves
songs of forest birds
fields of snow
not only moonlight
but the moon
two crows
I speak their language
Tell me magic moth—
 from a groping sleeping thing,
what could I become?
of starlight, Ardi
the mystic garden
before there were gods
my haplogroup
shows the spongegene—
distant lightning
Firefly garden . . .
rising up
to fill the sky

Credits: "old frog" - Harold G. Henderson Award (Haiku Society of America, 1977); "all around" - Museum of Haiku Literature Award, Frogpond XXIV:2 (2001); "fields of snow" - First Place, Harold G. Henderson Award (Haiku Society of America, 1980); "Tell me magic moth" - Parnassus Flowers (Wonderland Press, 1965); "my haplogroup" – Modern Haiku 40:3 (2009); "a sky full of stars" - Frogpond XXX:3 (2007); dust of summers: The Red Moon Anthology of English-language Haiku 2007 (Red Moon Press, 2008); "find me in the sounds" - Modern Haiku 41:2 (2010); "two crows" - Frogpond 33:2 (2010)' "of starlight, Ardi" - Modern Haiku 41:2 (2010); "Firefly garden" – Frogpond 20:2 (1997).

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