Mariposa #26

I’m pleased to have three haiku included in the new issue of Mariposa #26, the membership journal of Haiku Poets of Northern California (HPNC). This will be the last issue edited by Ebba Story and Susan Antolin. Cherie Hunter Day will be taking over the editorship of this fine journal.

pathology report
I write my name
in permanent pen

waning moon
nibbling an apple
down to its core

streetlights reflected
in wet pavement
winter dawn

In addition, my 2nd place tanka from the 2011 San Francisco International Competition for Haiku, Senryu, Tanka, and Rengay was reprinted in this issue:

our favorite walk
by the river–
deep in conversation
we cover
the same old ground

Our Favorite Walk

In 2011, I started entering a non-kukai haiku contests once in a while. Most contests have a nominal fee ($1 per haiku), while others are free. The way I look at it is this. I have little to lose, and a lot to gain. When a judge who has been reading (and writing) haiku for a long time sees something of merit in what I write, it not only validates me as a writer, but it helps me discern which pieces I write have a more universal appeal. When I submitted my first tanka to the 2011 San Francisco International Competion for Haiku, Tanka, Senryu, and Rengay, I didn’t expect much, so I  was thrilled to have it take 2nd place, among other poets whose work I admire. I wrote it about my daughter and me, when I visited her this past October, but after reading the commentary, realized that it could about any two people.

our favorite walk
by the river–
deep in conversation
we cover
the same old ground

A Haiku Evolution

When I first began writing haiku, in 2010, I discovered kukai contests, a wonderful no-fail way for a beginner to get their feet wet, and did a blog post on Kirsten Cliff’s Swimming in Lines of Haiku about them. Kukai are still one of my favorite ways to immerse myself in haiku.

For a long time though, that was my only connection to the greater haiku community. While I found an outlet for some of my haiku, I still didn’t know very many people in the haiku community. I  submitted to a handful of journals and contests, that first year, and had my first contest Honorable Mention, in World Haiku Review, and my first journal publication, in Riverwind 30, but I still felt like I was on the outside looking in. I wasn’t sure what journals and contests were looking for, and it didn’t feel very satisfying to get far more rejections than acceptances. And then I began participating in NaHaiWriMo, on Facebook.

Writing haiku daily since February 1st of last year, and receiving positive feedback, encouragement, and support, from like-minded others, has not only been rewarding and helped me improve my craft, but has really built a sense of community. Attending two haiku conferences and a haiku retreat this year enabled me to meet many of my Facebook friends “in real life”, an added treat. And all this gave me the confidence to once again try my hand at getting my haiku published, and entering contests. It’s been a good year!

Starting in January, I’ve had two 2nd place finishes in the Shiki Kukai, and two 1st place finishes in the Sketchbook Kukai. I’ve had haiku published in Frogpond, The Heron’s Nest, Notes from the Gean, and A Hundred Gourds. And I placed well in a number of contests: an Honorable Mention in the Haiku North America 2011 Conference Kukai contest, a Sakura Award in the Vancouver’s Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational 2011 , Third Prize in the International “Kusamakura” Haiku Competition, First Prize in the 2011 Porad Award, October 2011, an Honorable Mention in the 13th HIA Haiku Contest, 1st place in Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge: Haiku, 3rd Place, 2011 Thom Williams Memorial contest: The 7s, and 2nd place in the 2011 San Francisco International Competition for Haiku, Senryu, Tanka and Rengay, for my first tanka.

Yesterday I learned that I also received an Honorable Mention in the 15th Mainichi Haiku Contest: International Section for one of my haiku. All this has only whet my appetite, and I’m looking forward to lots more haiku, haibun, tanka, and rengay writing in 2012.