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L. A. (Agnes) Davidson

L. A. (Agnes) Davidson

July 31, 1917 - July 18, 2007

L. A. (Agnes) Davidson was born in Roy, Montana, of homesteading parents, and became one of the best known haiku poets of her time. She worked her way through college, graduating with a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Minnesota. She was introduced to haiku by Elizabeth Searle Lamb and, according to her daughter, "Here at last Laddie found her form of expression, combining her keen reporter’s eye for detail, her childhood communion with nature and her love of writing." Davidson later served as Membership and Subscription Secretary to the Haiku Society of America and was the longtime unofficial historian for the Society. But this only begins to tell her story. It’s a story punctuated by innumerable acts of personal kindness, an inexhaustible trove of anecdotes, and an endless contribution to the cause of English-language haiku. Her personal approach to haiku she limned clearly: “My haiku are a personal journal in that they are written from observations and specific moments of my life.” (Blithe Spirit 7:3) This sense of personal communication is evident throughout her writing, as is her keen sense of being at home in her adopted New York, which did not keep her from a genuine explorer’s feeling toward the genre she adopted as her own. Vincent Tripi wrote, “L.A. Davidson is one of the most honored and respected American haiku poets. She exemplifies, at its highest level, the poetic ideal of servitude to beauty and the truth.”

Awards and Other Honors: [Incomplete] Charter member of the Haiku Society of America (1968); Membership/Subscription Secretary, Haiku Society of America (1979 and 1981-1982).

Books Published: The Shape of the Tree New York, New York (Wind Chimes, Glen Burnie MD, 1982; rpt DLT Associates, 1992, 1996); Jamaica Moments (DLT Associates, Miami FL, 2002); bird song more and more (Swamp Press, Northfield MA, 2003, rpt 2007).

Selected Work
 
beyond
stars beyond
star
 
hot day:
under tight white slacks
just her
 
 
 
a bonsai
bent to the shape
of a non-existent wind
 
On the gray church wall
the shadow of a candle
. . . shadow of its smoke
 
 
 
an old farmstead
bought for investment;
the wild columbine
 
a cloud drifts off
the edge of the big sky . . .
he, too has gone
 
 
 
second day of snow—
rearranging
the red tulips
 
in a blizzard
the city becoming
these few blocks
 
 
 
this frosty day
everything a little white
even the air
 
winter morning
without leaf or flower
the shape of the tree
 
 

Credits: "beyond" - Haiku Magazine 5:3 (1972); van den Heuvel, The Haiku Anthology 1 (1974); Frogpond 1:1 (1978); Japan Foundation Newsletter (February 1979); Tweed 4:2 (1976); Wind Chimes; Higginson, The Haiku Handbook; Mainichi Daily News (22 July 1985); Modern Haiku 37:2 (2006); Big Sky: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku (Red Moon Anthology 2006); these few blocks (ed, Kacian, Red Moon Press postscripts series volume 6, 2008); "a bonsai" - Modern Haku 24:3 (1993); Logos & Haiku website; these few blocks (ed, Kacian, Red Moon Press postscripts series volume 6, 2008); "an old farmstead" - Modern Haiku 9:2 (1978); Modern Haiku 38:3 (2007); these few blocks (ed, Kacian, Red Moon Press postscripts series volume 6, 2008); "hot day" - The Shape of the Tree New York, New York (ed. Roth, Wind Chimes, Glen Burnie MD, 1982; ppt DLT Assoc. 1992, 1996); these few blocks (ed, Kacian, Red Moon Press postscripts series volume 6, 2008); "On the gray church wall" - Haiku West 6:1 (1972); Haiku West 8:2 (1975); The Shape of the Tree New York, New York (ed. Roth, Wind Chimes, Glen Burnie MD, 1982; ppt DLT Assoc. 1992, 1996); Higginson, The Haiku Handbook (McGraw-Hill, New York 1985); Japan Air Lines Haiku Contest promotional materials for elementary schools (1990); Woodnotes 13 (1992); Logos & Haiku Website; these few blocks (ed, Kacian, Red Moon Press postscripts series volume 6, 2008); "a cloud drifts off" - Haiku Canada Newsletter 18:2 (2005); these few blocks (ed, Kacian, Red Moon Press postscripts series volume 6, 2008); "second day of snow" - Snapshots Calendar (Snapshot Press, 2003); these few blocks (ed, Kacian, Red Moon Press postscripts series volume 6, 2008); "this frosty day" - The Shape of the Tree New York, New York (ed. Ross, Tuttle, Boston 1993); "in a blizzard" - The Shape of the Tree New York, New York (ed., Roth, Wind Chimes, Glen Burnie MD, 1982; rpt DLT Associates, 1992, 1996); Jamaica Moments (DLT Associates, Miami FL, 2002); Haiku Moment (ed. Ross, Tuttle, Boston 1993); these few blocks (ed, Kacian, Red Moon Press postscripts series volume 6, 2008); "winter morning" - Tweed 4:3 (1976); The Shape of the Tree New York, New York (ed. Roth, Wind Chimes, Glen Burnie MD, 1982; ppt DLT Assoc. 1992, 1996); Sato, One Hundred Frogs; Sato, Eigo Haiku; Special Delivery (Haiku Canada member’s anthology, 1987–88); Higginson, Wind in the Long Grass; poster for California schools; Frogpond 7:1 (1984); Higginson, The Haiku Handbook (McGraw-Hill, New York 1985); Hardy, Haiku (2002); these few blocks (ed, Kacian, Red Moon Press postscripts series volume 6, 2008).

Sources Biography: Laura Tanna, Haiku Society of America Website/Obituaries, various online tributes; these few blocks (ed, Kacian, Red Moon Press postscripts series volume 6, 2008), Appreciation is also due Charles Trumbull for assistance in gathering representative haiku and publication credits.

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