Dear readers,

About the time I wrote the last post here, I was coming down with what seemed like a bad cough that could easily turn chronic. Doctors, family, and I thought we could overcome it, but after many weeks of coughing and additional symptoms, it became evident that something more was wrong. Two weeks ago, after two weeks of testing in hospital, a substantial tumor was discovered in my chest, lodged among the organs between my lungs (rather than in any one of them), where it was pretty well hidden from x-rays, etc.

I am now engaged in treatment that includes aggressive chemo-therapy. Of necessity, virtually all of my time over the next several months will be devoted to this treatment. Unfortunately, I will have little energy for correspondence, participation in various online and organizational activities, and the like for some time to come.

Nevertheless, my excellent team of doctors, family, and I are all optimistic, and I expect to come out of this down the road to rejoin in most of my previous activities. In the meantime, your good thoughts and prayers in our direction as Penny and I work our way through this difficult passage will be very much appreciated.



front cover

Bristol, RI: privately printed, 2008.

Pamphlet, 4.25×3.75 in (11×9.5 cm), unpaged. Free for s.a.s.e. to the author at 31 Seal Island Rd., Bristol, RI 02809.

Front cover image as at left (about 2/3rds life-size, depending on your monitor resolution and so on). Pretty neatly enigmatic, especially with the close-quote omitted, suggesting that there is more of the quotation inside.

With thanks to the author.

I’m particularly fond of small pamphlet haiku books, as their unostentatious size and format go nicely with the notion of simple and direct haiku, though of course haiku are not always so. And it encourages a one-to-a-page presentation, as found here.

After a title page with what appears to be a simple line drawing of one of the “pilgrim stones” mentioned in title and text, the booklet begins with a brief introduction to this subject, that is, stones that have migrated from one place or another to take up temporary residence in the author’s field of view, and more permanently in his poems. The first one:

ridge shadow
at the stream
with other stones

One from the pair at centerfold:

pebbled shore
she turns away
to breast feed

And one from about two-thirds through, that I happen to especially like:

quick-running brook . . .
a stone from the bottom
lighter than imagined

Nearly twenty haiku here, well worth the attention brought to their pilgrimage on the pages of this small piece received in the mail.


[San Francisco]: Tangram, 2008. Hand-sewn, 5.5×8.5″, no page numbers, no price listed. (Colophon: “One hundred fifty copies printed from Monotype English O. S. on Zerkall.”)

With thanks to the author.

The cover image, I imagine by the poet-painter himself: a line drawing of a guy under a hat with a long staff, striding along, a moon looking down over a pine branch—maybe piñon? Hello, John, and a fine greeting this lovely letterpress pamphlet of poems, starting with:

First crocus
the nearest star
a little closer.

And then I notice, in finer type across the page to my left, the “Author’s note:”

When reading these poems, consider adding longer than customary silence between them, as if they were one to a page. Think of Miles on Kind of Blue, or Monk on Bags’ Groove, a hop-dwell-skip-jump across the middle of a stream.

Oh, yeah . . . Greetings, first crocus, hey, you remind me . . .

I leave off saying any more, here, just share a couple more, as usuall, randomly selected:

Travelers gone
the sound of the ferry
rocked by the sea.

Sky darkening
I fold a letter
before the ink is dry.

About 60 more, where those came from. And a deep bow to my traveller friend from El Rito, New Mexico.


On the cover: The Story of Issa, Japanese Haiku Poet (technically, this is not a subtitle, as it does not appear on the title page, but I think it should, and if it had . . . well, read on).

San Carolos, CA: Golden Gate Junior Books, 1970. Illustrated by Lydia Cooley; written “with the editorial assistance of Mark Taylor. Haiku translations by Hanako Fukuda”.

1970! Gosh, if I’d not come to Chatham Middle School and had some free time to roam their school library, I might never have seen this book.

Thank you, Chatham Middle School!

This is a gently illustrated prose narrative of Issa’s life, appropriate to elementary and middle school readers. In the course of the text, Ms. Fukuda includes numerous haiku that arose from some of the more personal aspects of Issa’s life, set in a frame story of the time Issa returned to his family home after establishing himself as a major haikai master. At the outset, old man Issa approaches a mountain village, and engages in conversation with a group of children who are singing a song he rememvers from his childhood. I do not now have time to read through the engaginly told story, but I notice that in this book, published in 1970, the haiku translations are not in 5-7-5. Rather, they use only the words the translator feels are needed to convey the poems’ meanings. For example, one of his more famous poems is offered as:

Come and play with me,
Motherless, fatherless
Little sparrow.

Unfortunately, because this book is a biography, no one scanning the poetry shelves in a library is likely to spot it. But the gentle telling of the story, the softly pastel or gray-scale spot and occasional full-page illustrations, and the simple, straightforward haiku translations make this a winner. I’ll be looking to find a copy for myself. If you’re the parent of a reader, or a teacher, or just enjoy children’s books yourself, you might like to get a copy of this one for yourself.


Catherine Mair, of Katikati, New Zealand, has been given a Queen’s Service Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her services to poetry and to the community. She conceived and has managed the building of the “Haiku Pathway” in a park setting along a river in Katikati. The pathway features large stones carved with haiku by poets from around the world, and is one of the region’s stellar contributions to a celebration of the new millennium. The Haiku Pathway has recently been expanded, and there is a booklet of the poems available.

Seems like Catherine, with a lot of help from members of her community—as she gracefully acknowledges—has turned “haiku” from an unknown to a household word where she lives. We should all be proud of her, not for this award in itself, but for her achievement on behalf of haiku everywhere.

For a local news story on the award, see “Medal an ode to crafter of poetry” on the Bay of Plenty Times web site, here. For more information on the Haiku Pathway itself, check out this link.

A Haikai Pub toast to Catherine Mair!


This post consists of a listing that will eventually include all the issues of The Haiku Society of America Newsletter, to give it its formal title, in my collection, most recent at the top. For a post that describes a particular issue, please see my review of issue 22:4. Links to other individual issues will be added to the table as they appear in the blog.


Issue Number Date Notes
23:1 February 2008 Includes a separate pamphlet, A Guide to Haiku Publications, 2008, by Charles Trumbull, listing some 50 or so print and online periodicals and annuals.
22:4 November 2007 Reviewed.
22:3 August 2007 Contains Laura Davidson Tanna’s moving memorial to her mother, L. A. Davidson.
Issue Number Date Notes

This post consists of a listing that will eventually include all the issues of Haiku Canada Review in my collection, most recent at the top. For a post that describes a particular issue, please see my review of issue 2:1. Links to other individual issues will be added to the table as they appear in the blog.


Issue Number Date Notes
2:1 February 2008 Includes name and address listing of some 200 members, plus Haiku Canada Sheet by Naomi Beth Wakan. Reviewed.
1:2 October 2007 Includes Haiku Canada Sheets by Marianne Bluger and members of Haiku Deer Park.
Issue Number Date Notes