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re:Virals 431

Welcome to re:Virals, The Haiku Foundation’s weekly commentary feature on some of your favorites among the best contemporary haiku and senryu written in English.

Firstly, to all those who have contributed to re:Virals in 2023, many thanks. Everybody wins. In its present form it’s a certain amount of work, but your appreciation, along with what we all learn from your commentaries, helps to make it worthwhile.

This week, during a hiatus for end of year festivities, a couple of housekeeping items:


As in 2022, it panned out that over twenty of the verses considered in re:Virals this year were first published during the year. They were put forward by readers who have shown themselves capable of writing a good and thoughtful commentary, and the poems are considered in detail by a number of contributors plus the ensuing comments.  Therefore, as last year, we’re granted a small allocation of nominations from among them, for the Touchstone and Red Moon Anthology panels to consider.

2023 Touchstone nominations:

beam by beam…
— Peter Newton, The Heron’s Nest Volume XXV, Number 2: June 2023
re:Virals 404

the plum tree…
Sarah Davies, LEAF issue 1, June 2023
re:Virals 414

eternal life…
Deborah A. Bennett, Haiku Foundation Haiku Dialogue, February 22, 2023
re:Virals 419

lying face-down…
Connie Pittman-Ramsey
LEAF, Issue 1, June 2023
re:Virals 428

Red Moon Anthology nominations:

beam by beam…

the plum tree…

eternal life…


rain drops…
– Helga Stania
first published (exceptionally) in re:Virals 423

Congratulations to the poets.


Suggesting poems:

The weekly winner’s subsequent choice of a verse for the following week’s consideration is occasionally derided by other haikuists.  If you are one of the latter, the solution is not to be sardonic after the event, but to send in a good commentary and gain the privilege of providing the next verse yourself. This column is the sum of its contributors.

As some of you know, I also keep a short list of possibles for consideration, lest the winning commentator is new and uncertain, or does not have the time to come up with a good and interesting favourite poem in the 24 intercontinental hours between emails, and suggest that they choose one from the list.  I’m not in a position to monitor all publications, especially those that are not free to read.  So if you would like to send in a few suggested poems (not more than five) via the submission form or via the THF contact form (making it clear it is for re:Virals), that would be welcome.   Some can be added to  ‘the list.’  The standing criteria are:

The verse (haiku/senryu/haikai) should be:

— of good quality (published in an edited publication —  I need the full reference for first publication, poet and date)

— written by the poet in English

— contemporary (by a poet within our lifetime)

— third party (not yours nor mine)

Should you wish to offer something innovative or out of the ordinary, that would be welcome.


Meanwhile, submissions are still open for commentaries on the poem below, that we will take for re:Virals 432 which will appear on 5 January. Anyone can participate. Simply use the re:Virals commentary form below to enter your commentary on the current poem (“Your text”) by midnight Tuesday January 2, Eastern US Time Zone, and then press Submit to send your entry. The Submit button will not be available until Name, Email, and Place of Residence fields are filled in. We look forward to seeing your commentary and finding out about your favourite poems!

Poem for commentary (proposed by Joshua Gage):

     on Enceladus
     our last fight  
     —Deborah P. Kolodji
    Tug of a Black Hole, Moth Orchid (was Title IX) Press, 2021

The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Being “ new to haiku”, I so appreciate this column. I particularly look forward to reading Mr. Evett’s introductory commentary, which I appreciate for being succinct yet insightful. Thank you for the energy you have devoted to it.

    1. Welcome, Susan. It’s a delight to hear from new readers.

      Focusing on commentary is, I think, a very good way of developing appreciation and understanding, helped by the commentaries of other contributors who add things I never thought of, or give a differing view that helps to get a verse in stereo. .

  2. Many thanks Keith for all of the time and effort you have devoted to re:Virals in 2023 and best wishes to everyone for the New Year!

  3. Though I have yet to actually write commentary, I truly adore reading everyone’s contributions every week in re: VIrals. I have learned so much, and I’m grateful for how well you run this ship, Keith.

    Wonderful Touchstone and Red Moon Nomination choices too! Congratulations to the poets and my best wishes.

  4. A lovely selection of poems for both the Touchstone as well as the Red Moon Anthology, Keith.

    Thank you for all that you do at re:Virals. It’s always been a rich learning experience here. I look forward to more learning in the coming year.

    Congratulations and best wishes to the nominated poets (and poems).

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