Margaret Dornaus has put together another wonderfully moving tribute to those loved ones we have lost, on her Haiku-doodle blog, to commemorate Day of the Dead. Click on the link above to read her full post, including a haiku and tanka of mine, and three collaborative haiga I did with Kirsten Cliff (our very first!)




her altar set
for family and friends . . .
each calavera
flickering light that sparks
all of our memories

               –Margaret Dornaus

Once again, I’m privileged to share several images and small poems or calaveras (“skulls”) contributed by my friends and fellow poets for my annual Día de los Muertos posting.  Thank you all for the generosity of your contributions.  I hope you enjoy these offerings as much as I do.


cemetery pines
whispering among the needles
the gentlest of songs

this way and that
the oil lamp flickers–
unmarked grave

the last cigarette
before the aneurysm bursts–
pale moon

–Stella Pierides

this is no
ordinary prayer
that moves me to tears
of my mother’s death

     Pamela A. Babusci, The Temple Bell Stops , 2012

haiga by Cara Holman & Kirsten Cliff


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sultry afternoon

I’ve been reading Acorn: a journal of contemporary haiku ever since I came back from Haiku North America last year. I like to spend a while just enjoying new journals, and trying to get an idea of their “voice” before I submit. This is the first time I submitted to this fine journal, and I’m pleased to have the following haiku included, and to share the pages with so many haiku poets I have come to admire and respect.

sultry afternoon
a spider dangles
by a strand

lingering cold

It’s always fun to take part in the Shiki Annual Poets’ Choice Kukai. For the 3rd year in a row, I’ve had a haiku in the contending. It had very special meaning to me this time around that my haiku tied for 3rd place in the kigo category, as I was visiting California and staying just miles from where my parents are buried when the results came out. It is always bittersweet to visit California, but on the balance, I’d say I’ve had more good times than bad ones over the years I spent either living or just visiting there.

lingering cold
the long ride home
from the cemetery

 The full set of results can be read here.

New Reading Material

One of the really cool things about Seabeck was that people shared haiku handouts and haiku books. Some of these books were the author’s own chapbook, and others were anthologies that their work appeared in. It was, unfortunately, not an accomplishment of mine to put together my own haiku handout this year– in fact, I think I’m going to start creating one now for next year!– but I enjoyed reading the works of fellow haiku poets.

I also purchased several haiku volumes that I am looking forward to reading soon (or have already started):

  • few days north days few, by Paul Miller (the featured speaker)
  • A New Resonance 6 (containing work by Susan Constable)
  • A New Resonance 7 (containing work by Tanya McDonald)
  • A sumi-e instruction book (I’m out of town, so don’t have exact title), by Fumiko Kimura

These should keep me going for a while!

Seabeck 2012 Recap

Attending the Seabeck retreat from October 11-14 of this year was an exhilarating experience on many counts. I rekindled friendships made at last year’s haiku retreat, online, and at other haiku conference. I made many new friends. I made a presentation on “Online Haiku Resources”, which was well received, and I will follow up on it by posting to my blog an expanded list of online resources. I facilitated a thought-provoking panel on “Poetic Truth: Will the Real Haiku Please Stand Up?” with panel members Michael Dylan Welch, Angela Terry, and Tanya McDonald. Carmen Sterba was unfortunately unable to join us at the last minute, but I read her prepared position statement on the topic. This generated much audience response, and the haiku and position statements from this will be posted at a later time.Under the able direction of Fumiko Kimura and Frank Kawasaki, I learned some basics of sumi painting, and created (with much help from Frank!) three  sumi-e haiga that I am very proud of. I enjoyed the scavenger hunt, the talent show, conversations over meals, great panels and presentations, and the wonderful new lodgings. I was delighted to receive an Honorable Mention in the Porad contest, and to tie for third place in the kukai. All in all, a wonderful weekend! This year’s group photo can be viewed here.

summer solstice

It must be fall. The latest issues of all the haiku journals are appearing one by one. There is a particular aptness in this. As the mornings grow colder, and the days grow shorter, my inbox and mailbox fill up with journals that I will spend hours perusing. Early fall is my favorite time of year. The air is crisp, the colors are vivid, and as draining as back-to-school can sometimes be, there is also a promise of new beginnings, a blank slate, a fresh start. I wrote the following haiku right at the beginning of summer, the first time in 27 years that I had no kids living at home. I felt tentative, yet curiously free. Now everyone is back again, the autumnal equinox is behind us, and it is full steam ahead to the winter solstice. The circle comes around again.

summer solstice
the fresh scent of hay
and manure

Modern Haiku 43.3, Autumn 2012