Haiku of the moment, Part 1

Two great new collections of haiku have managed to wend their way across the world to my letterbox, both apposite for differing reasons.

For The Signature Haiku Anthology (Middle Island Press, 2020), editor Robert Epstein invited submitters to send the one haiku, senryu or tanka, published or unpublished, that they would like to be remembered by, and any comments they would like to share about the poem (although this remained optional). The only criterion Robert insisted on was that each submitter should have had at least one poem previously published.

The resulting 251 pages of poems and commentaries is a great read – there were many well-known names included, but also many that were new to me. Sometimes the commentary, if there was one, made me re-read the poem and helped deepen the experience of the haiku. Most of the poets are from North America, but there’s a good sprinkling of those from other countries too.

As if to emphasise his “democratic view of haiku poetry”, Robert, who has now edited many themed anthologies of haiku, does not include an index or list of poet names in the volume. Instead, he lets the poems speak for themselves. See what you think …

so much to do
my son points out
the lightning

Alice Frampton (US). She writes: I wrote this poem in a hurry, composing it actually as the events were happening. It always reminds me of how, in a crazy-busy life, we can miss, or almost miss, the most important moments.

our garden gate
once it gets cold

Igor Damnjanovic (Serbia)

Crescent Lake in Washington State. Photo: Sandra Simpson

the depth of the lake
still in question –
autumn chill

Angela Terry (US). She writes: When I was growing up we spent a few weeks every summer at a cabin on the shore of Lake Crescent in Washington’s Olympic National Park. The lake was icy cold even in midsummer and the rumour spread that the lake was bottomless. Fast forward 50 years, and I chanced to read a newspaper article stating that the lake’s depth was still not agreed upon. And with that, the haiku pretty much wrote itself.

snowy owl
I’ll leave this world

Gregory Piko (Australia)

gathering light
at the tip of an acorn
yesterday’s rain

Yu Chang (US). He writes: A poem of self examination and awakening, a delicate dance of light and shadow, ying and yang, for a better self in harmony with nature.

I turn my back
an instant –
blossom everywhere

Elise Mei (New Zealand)

I have a haiku included, although my country of residence is printed as ‘Australia’!, and am pleased to see a smattering of other New Zealand writers there, as well as Elise (who also suffers from a proofing error) – including Barbara Strang, Elaine Riddell, Patsy Turner, Keith Nunes and Ann Curran.

The book may be purchased via Amazon for $US20.