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.


I’m always open to new poetry forms. So when Robert Lee Brewer introduced the hay(na)ku sometime last year on the Poetic Asides blog,I was intrigued. And of course when earlier this month, I saw that the latest Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge was about the hay(na)ku, I absolutely had to give it a try. First though, I reprised the first hay(na)ku I ever wrote, which expressed my feelings about the brevity of the form:

hay(na)ku –
a haiku
or a sneeze?

I should digress at this point, to give the rules for this form. They are simple:

  • 3 lines
  • line 1 contains 1 word; line 2, 2 words; and line 3, 3 words

And that’s it! no syllable counts, no title, no other bells and whistles. I should also mention that I was vacationing in Arizona at the time the challenge was posted. So if the following haiku have an AZ flavor, that’s because I wrote them in car, when we were driving from Mesa to Prescott: (well, all that is, except the last one, which I wrote at the Haiku North America conference in Don Baird’s “Tai Chi Ch’uan– Waking Your Haiku Mind” workshop. I was staring at a very beautiful photo of a hummingbird at the time, which I now own.)

above clouds
above it all

into evening
the hawk’s shadow

catching thermals
slow moving clouds

silence after
the word “malignant”

the blur
of hummingbird wings

In the flurry of August submissions I sent out, I had all but forgotten about this challenge. Naturally then, it gave me even greater delight to check my Google Reader yesterday, and find that “hawks / catching thermals / slow moving clouds” had taken 1st place in the WD form challenge, and will be published in a future issue of Writer’s Digest! All the entries to the challenge can be read in the comments section  of the original post.

Seven Sevenlings (plus or minus two)

…well okay, only five, but somehow seven sounded catchier. The sevenling is another poetry form which combines two of my favorite ingredients: a poetry short form with a list. Make that  two lists, of three items apiece.

Sevenling (A rose is a rose)

A rose is a rose,
not a peony or dahlia.
I repeat: a dahlia is not a rose.

But often when muddling
through a sonnet or triolet,
or even a haiku

a rose is only a rose.


Sevenling (I could wish for)

I could wish for health,
happiness or even the moon
if anyone were to ask me.

A fountain of youth,
joy unbounded,
limitless possibilities, and more…

but alas, no one ever asked me.

Sevenling (Within the matryoshka)

Within the matryoshka,
a smaller one, and within it,
a smaller one still.

Sometimes things fold in on themselves,
like a raindrop in the sun,
or an imploding star, or love

and sometimes there’s only clouds.

Sevenling (Seconds tick)

Seconds tick into minutes
tick into hours
as we wait… and wait…

A watched pot never boils,
no news is good news, it’s always
darkest before the dawn, I think

as the doctor approaches.

Sevenling (If you cross)

If you cross a three
stanza, three item apiece,
seven line poem

with a poem of
seventeen syllables in
5-7-5 lines

would you then call it a sevenku or would it be called a hailing?

Read more sevenlings here.

2010 November PAD- Day 13

My poem today is my response to today’s PAD prompt of making the title of the poem a question, and then going on in the poem to address the question. It is also my entry for the WD Poetic Form Challenge: Rondeau. Two birds with one stone… 🙂

Why Turn Back (the Clocks)?

Why turn back the clocks, I say,
there’s still twenty-four hours in a day.
At the setting of the sun,
in spite of the change, the day is done
and darkness descends anyway.

To think we can hold the dark at bay
by adding an hour to a single day
is nonsense, we can’t outwit the sun—
Why turn back?

Shifting the clock only causes dismay,
disrupted sleep is the price we pay,
so let’s face it, winter has begun,
with shorter days, and less hours of sun.
What’s an hour more or less either way—
Why turn back?