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Gwenn Gurnack

Gwenn Gurnack

Born: October 31 1942 in East Orange New Jersey, USA
Resides: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
E-mail: iamgwenn (at) comcast (dot) net

One morning in 2009, I awakened with a poem (which I frequently do), grabbed a pencil, and wrote what I didn’t realize was a haiku. Something told me to count the syllables, which came out to 17. I wondered, “Is this a haiku?” A dear friend had mentioned the Kaji Aso Studio, so I went to their next meeting. I also visited the Boston Public Library and took out a lot of haiku books. I became acquainted with Raffael de Grutolla and John Ziemba of the Boston Haiku Society, and John invited me to his advanced haiku class. He began lending me his entire haiku library, and – more than 3,000 haiku and senryu later -- the rest is history. Before discovering haiku, I earned my B.A. Degree at Chatham College in Pittsburgh in 1964, with a major in music and minors in English and psychology. I've worked in various fields, including advertising, real estate, public relations (including Director of Public Relations for the Teikyo Post University), and as a legislat6ive aide for the New Jersey State Assembly. I was very active with the First Church of Christ Scientist in Southbury, Connecticut, including serving as First Reader and as a member of the Board of Trustees, and chairing the Membership, Music, Lecture, and several Ad Hoc committees. I taught piano to twelve students at The Renaissance Center in Southbury, was Music Director at the New Milford Senior Center. I was a regular volunteer at the Southbury Public Library. Several of my poems were published in the Christian Science periodicals. I was a regular performer at the Southbury Monthly Musicales, Condo Captain of my condominium cluster, ran many discussion groups on the topic of religion, and actively participated in local book clubs. During all of this time I took calls as a Christian Science practitioner. I am presently a faculty member at the Community Music Center of Boston, where in addition to teaching my own students, I am the full-time substitute piano teacher. I serve as usher and a member of the Christian Science Reading Room’s practitioner team at The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, and do occasional piano gigs in the Boston area. I am currently publishing poetry in the Christian Science periodicals and the Boston Haiku Society monthly magazine and beginning to get my feet wet exploring other opportunities for the dissemination of my work.

Awards and Other Honors: Some of my haiku were set to music in a world premiere piece composed by Curtis K. Hughes, with performances by soprano Jennifer Ashe and violist Ashe Gordon (New Gallery Concert Series Season 14 Opening Event, November 7, 2013). My haiku and senryu have been selected to appear in several collections, including Winter Bone (Kaji Aso Studio, Boston, MA, 2011); Cherry Blossoms (Kaji Aso Studio, Boston, MA, 2012); and Pine Wind (Kaji Aso Studio, Boston, MA, 2013). Other awards and honors include: The Museum of Haiku Literature Award for Frogpond 37:2 (2014); Honorable Mention, Kaji Aso International Haiku and Senryu Contest (2011 and 2012); Honorable Mention, Rossinki Haiku Competition (Russia, 2012); included in Who's Who International and Who's Who Worldwide Registry of Global Business Leaders for Outstanding Achievements in Public Affairs; many awards for Madison Avenue copywriting, including the Art Directors’ Best Ad for 1968 and the Best Trade Ad Award of 1970.

Books Published: The Inner Voice & Other Poems (Rare Book Company, 1992); "The Ultimate” in Poetry (Book Mark Catalogue, 1994).

Selected Work
of an aluminum bat. . .
red sky
empty fairgrounds—
tent peg holes
half filled
rain from the west
sifts through the porch screen—
the evening cool
still watching me
with her knowing look—
my childhood doll
lake trout rising
to fireflies
among the stars
evening star …
the cornhusker
brushes back her hair

Credits: "boink" - The Heron’s Nest XV:2 (June 2013); "rain from the west" - The Heron’s Nest XIV:1 (2012); "lake trout rising" - Honorable Mention, Kaji Aso International Haiku and Senryu Contest (2011); "empty fairgrounds" - The Heron’s Nest XIII:3 (2011); "still watching me" - The Museum of Haiku Literature Award for Frogpond 37:2 (2014); "evening star" - Frogpond 36:2 (Summer 2013).

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