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Some Great Haiku Blogs
Finding Worthwhile Haiku Blogs
There are hundreds of haiku blogs worth reading, and thousands which are less worthwhile, but few of us have the time to research them. Here are descriptions of four excellent haiku blogs and links to more that you will definitely enjoy.
Why in "How to Write Poetry"?
I categorized this as a "How to Write Poetry" hub because I think that reading good poetry of any kind is the best way to become a better poet.
Most haiku bloggers, including these, also experiment with other Japanese-derived forms, including tanka, which have five lines; haiga, haiku with graphics (see my hub What is a Haiga?); haibun, haiku with narrative or poetic prose; or monostich, which just means a haiku written all on one line, which is what the Japanese do anyhow.
The wonderful thing about today's world is that we no longer need to buy books, go to big-city poetry readings, or use interlibrary loan to discover great new poets. I hope this will help readers take advantage of the richness out there on the web.
And the haiku world is rich in generosity, as well as poetry. I know all four of these bloggers, some more, some less, through twitter. When I asked them if they would mind being featured in this little article, all of them replied, promptly and graciously, saying it was fine, or even an honor. All of them also take time to promote other writers or spread the word on useful sites.
I hope that readers will take the opportunity to add their own favorite blogs to the comments section . . . . These are only four of the many poets who are worth reading.
Claire just published!
I was privileged to witness Claire Everett as she began to write haiku and tanka on twitter, and soon grew into an accomplished and now widely published poet. She regularly posts her work on her site, At The Edge of Dreams, which has almost 2,000 people following it by email. The site also includes a blogroll of other poets to explore.
A few months after I published this hub, in late October 2012, Claire Everett published her first book, which I am excited to read.
She lives in England, in or near the country, and a strong connection to nature resounds in all her work.
the song thrush knows…
new year dawn
As Claire grew into a poet on twitter, her life changed in other ways. A grown woman with beloved children, teenagers or older, she met and married a man who clearly made her heart shine. She appears as both mother and maiden in her work: compassion and sadness, wonder and romance intermingling in a single, singing, voice.
The following haiku is part of a haibun called "Darling Buds," about love and loss.
I believe the title comes from Shakespeare's sonnet "rough winds do shake the darling buds of May/ and summer's lease hath all to short a date."
at the core of sweetness
the wasp’s song
What draws me back to her work, again and again, however, is the sense of joy that comes through her words. She reminds me that the world is a miracle.
from the throat
of a blackbird…
"Broken Wing," a tanka
Mark Holloway: Beachcombing for the Landlocked
Mark is a English gardener by profession, or perhaps a gardener by trade and a haiku poet by profession. I suspect, however, that he would strenuously object to anything but amateur status, given things he has said @forgottenworks on twitter.
His blog is simple and well-designed, with a useful blogroll of other poets. It lets the reader look over his shoulder and enjoy his view of the world: generous and wry, and deeply sensitive to beauty.
Cooling breeze ...
Applying a dapple of fernlight to yesterday's scratches.
nightfall takes the river leaves the river's sound
another cloudy night instead of stars white jasmine
Everything he writes is something he has seen, or felt, or heard.
While some haiku poets can write great "desk haiku," Mark gives us the poignancy, humor, and magic of the apparently ordinary moment.
this'll do fine just . . . thistledown
Chen-ou Liu: Poetry in the Moment
Chen-ou Liu is a wonderful example of just how interconnected the world is today.
He is a fairly recent immigrant from Chinese-speaking Taiwan to Canada, where he is now a much-published author of Japanese short form poetry. He writes haiku as well as tanka and haibun. Some of his poetry speaks of the hardship of pulling up roots and moving to another continent; of living between two cultures; and of facing occasional racism and frequent misunderstanding. Some of Chen-ou's work directly describes his adjustment to writing in a new language. I am awed by his skill at poetry in English, which is so different from his native Chinese.
His blog, Poetry in the Moment, is visually Google-Blogger basic---and completely worth the visit. Instead of a blogroll, he provides useful links to haiku sites and journals, as well as to resources on self-publishing. Most importently the blog showcases his fine work, all of it previously published in print and on-line journals.
I leave the butterfly dream
A short narrative haibun:
Pallbearers carry her small casket through the back door and into the garden,
through a field of tall grass and into the cemetery.
dust to dust…
an eagle’s shadow
He also has a collection of urban haiku and senryu (funny or ironic haiku on a human theme) on the World Kigo Database which collects seasonal and thematic words and expressions appropriate for haiku (there's another hub about kigo for me to write here!).
Here's one of his "urban haiku." You'll find more on the kigo site as well as on his blog. I appreciate how he has taught me that the haiku need not be about nature as we generally think of it . . . no postcard views or sugar coating necessary.
a half-smashed jack-o'-lantern
by the curbside
You can vist his blog for more information about his books,
and follow him on Twitter, too @ericcoliu,
where he retweets fine work by other writers.
Across the Haikuverse
One of the best features of Melissa's blog is "Across the Haikuverse," a recurring feature in which she collects haiku another other poems she appreciates, as well as essays and telling remarks about haiku and other Japanese short-form poetry.
Whenever a new "issue" comes out, I read it more than once, happily following the links to learn more about my art, and to discover new poets, new blogs, and new publications. See her blog archives for the whole set.
To learn even more, click on "Links" under the picture of the red dragonfly for enough to keep you reading for a year: "Classic Haiku," "Journals and curated Websites," "Resources," and many "Blogs and personal poetry websites."
Melissa Allen: Red Dragonfly
This blog comes with an epigraph:
have you come
to save us haiku poets?
-Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue
To me, this quote illustrates how strongly Melissa is aware of the literary haiku tradition of which she is a modern representative. Issa---200 years ago!----speaks to how the "haiku poets" were already in danger of falling into set ways of seeing, reading and writing, and needed to be shaken up.
A Michigan graduate student in library science, Melissa is expert in the history and tradition of haiku, and also deeply interested in haiku poetry's cutting edge. This past year, for example, she has been one of the poets experiementing with one-word "haiku" . . . many of which are better than you would think!
Red Dragonfly stretches me. I don't like everything that she writes, but I'm always interested in what she has to say.
While the haiku quoted below are three little gems, for me Melissa shines in her haibun, some vivid snapshots of life, funny or troubling, and some intricately constructed puzzle boxes.
Now, the three haiku. The first two were published separatedly but posted together, and they resonate wonderfully with one another:
one clear word
out of all the murmuring
new moon . . .
the map folded
with home at the center
Last, but not least, a sort of haiku/senryu fusion.
rain on wet leaves
the way the lawyer
That one makes me wonder:
does "divorce" rhyme with "money" in the lawyer's mouth?
Jack Kerouac reading his "American Haiku"
"Pops": Kerouac's Haiku
I'll finish with something that is not a blog -- but is an illustration of how many great haiku you can find on the web.
As Verlyn Klinkenborg writes in the New York Times, Jack Kerouac took an Eastern form and made it completely American. Yet I think she underestimates how faithful he was to a key part of Japanese haiku, both classical and modern . . . the art of writing (or at least seeming to write) in the spirit of a single, unique, moment:
"branch still jumping"
Four More Blogs
- Jessica Tremblay's Old Pond Comics: cartoons, with cute frogs . . . wisdom about the haiku path, humorously presented.
- Matt Morden's Morden Haiku: which I've already recommended in Learning to Write Haiku, both for his own poetry, his appropriately small "Why Haiku Matters" essays, and his many great links.
- Kathy Nguyen's Origami Lotus Poetry where she posts her own poems and those of others, runs contests, and does all sorts of fun stuff. If you are on Facebook, you'll want to follow the link to her Facebook page too.
- Annette Makino (@ant99 on twitter) has a beautiful blog, Makino Studios, consisting mostly of her haiga and, as she says "musings mostly about the creative process, both writing haiku and sumi ink painting."
Apologies to all the good friends and great poets I have left out . . . some of you will feature in my upcoming Hub on the best haiku on twitter.
Anyhow, now it's your turn, dear readers.
Please use the comments to tell us all about more blogs to follow and enjoy.