XVIII:2 June, 2003

A Journal for Linking Poets    

Haiku and Haiku Societies — the Future? by Caroline Gourlay

KIDS WRITE RENGA (so you can too) by John Carley

by Tom Clausen, John Carley, Gary LaBel,
Stanley Pelter, Still mourning for Kiyoko-san by
Eiko Yachimoto, Tony Beyer, Gary Warner

    Haiku and Haiku Societies — the Future?
Caroline Gourlay

The idea for this paper began to germinate in my mind about two years ago and since that time I have become increasingly exercised by the question of the future, not only of haiku, but also of haiku societies and in particular our own British Haiku Society. I eventually got down to the writing of it this spring, when the title of the HNA 2001 Conference, Haiku and Beyond caught my attention; no doubt the future of haiku has always been a relevant topic, but for many reasons, it now seems so more than ever.

Where are we going from here? Does haiku have a future, a ‘beyond’? There is little doubt in my mind that it has. Basho’s frog pond haiku is arguably the most famous poem in the world, and a form that has lasted for 400 years, is as widely practiced in as many countries as haiku is today, and is argued about as passionately, is not likely suddenly to die out. However, the future of the BHS, or of any other haiku society for that matter, depending as we all do on multiple factors, is not so assured and certainly can’t be taken for granted. Haiku and haiku societies, which came into being to promote haiku, inevitably have a bearing on one another, and their inter-relatedness is something I would like to touch on today.

I think most would agree that haiku in the West has in the last couple of years reached a watershed. What ten years ago was a poem of minority interest has suddenly become overwhelmingly popular. Haiku is fashionable — referred to in national newspapers, TV sitcoms, even cartoons. The proliferation of haiku websites tells its own story and a competition in The Times last summer attracted over 7000 entries. Although the competition was organized in conjunction with the BHS and details of the organization were given, very few, if any, of the 7000 who entered were BHS members or, it seems, felt moved to join as a result and the response to this competition was perhaps the first real indication we have had that there are many people writing haiku who do not relate to, probably are not even aware of, the organization. Ten years ago the BHS was almost synonymous with haiku in Britain; those who became interested in the practice of this form had often got to hear about it through the BHS and stayed on to become members. Today it would seem that many who write haiku don’t care about its origins and traditions and much of what is being produced is trite and commonplace — rather, in fact, as haikai was before Basho and his disciples got hold of it and demonstrated its potential. A glance at some of the websites does not lift the spirit; on-line many seem to see haiku as a kind of game rather than an art form and the jargon used to attract potential enthusiasts would send off most serious writers. For the initiated, good websites are not hard to find, but for newcomers to the scene their first experience of ‘haiku’ is likely to be Honk if you Haiku, Presidential Haiku, Dog Haiku, Teen Crush Haiku, Bad Haiku, Gangsta haiku ...

Haiku most certainly has a future, but it may not be the kind of future that we who care about it can feel altogether happy with. There is a danger in what seems to be the present trend of haiku out there with few guidelines and little or no editorial control, and for this reason I believe that where things go from here matters a great deal. They could go in one of several possible directions, and today I would like to look at the three likeliest of these, suggest which I feel would most properly ensure the healthy development of haiku, and what part haiku societies might play in this development.

One route down which haiku might go, or continue to go, is the one I have already mentioned — a kind of dumbing-down, its practice uninformed by knowledge of, or interest in, its history. A second possibility is that haiku’s increasing popularity can be harnessed to a recognition that it is an art form — that it takes a lifetime of work and experience to become good at writing it, and that membership of a haiku society probably offers the best apprenticeship. The third possibility is that haiku gradually finds its way into our own literary tradition, accepted as valid poetic expression, written by serious poets and protected by the integrity of the best journals whose editors care about poetry and strive to publish only what is good.

If the first happens — a kind of unchecked free-for-all — haiku will soon lose what credibility it has outside the haiku movement. If it goes down the second route and accepts the authority of a recognized body such as a haiku society, the high standards thus maintained will guarantee that it is taken seriously by both writers and readers. To those of us interested in haiku this would seem to be the most satisfactory development. However, as I say, there is little evidence that things are moving in this direction; while there has been some increase in the BHS membership this year, I doubt if it reflects the rash of enthusiasm for haiku in the community at large. Last year as well as The Times competition, quite a bit of media publicity attended Susumu Takiguchi’s Global Haiku 2000 Conference in London and Oxford and also Stephen Gill’s lively and well-researched Radio 3 programme, but in neither case was there any significant expansion of the BHS. This autumn there have been two well-advertised national haiku competitions, one associated with the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, but as far as I know, there was no suggestion that we as an organization should be referred to, or involved in the judging of it.

It seems that the horse of haiku has escaped not only from what most people would regard as the safe stable of the Japanese culture that created it, but also from the relatively safe stable of an organization that came into being in order to point those who are serious about haiku in the right direction. I do not know if this is the case with the HSA or haiku societies in other countries, but in Great Britain, if anything, it seems that rather than increasing our links with those we would like to influence, we are actually losing touch with them. Therefore I believe that the third possibility is the best chance for the future of haiku — down the road that pushes it in the direction of the mainstream, doing all we can to persuade those involved with the wider world of poetry to acknowledge that the time has come for haiku to take its place in our own poetic tradition. Apart from the principle involved, if the best haiku is to circulate further than our own small haiku society readership, we need more commercial publishing and marketing outlets and only recognition by the poetry establishment will give us this.

Makota Ueda says in his introduction to Global Haiku: English poetry enriched itself by assimilating the Italian sonetto. There would not have been the sonnets of Shakespeare or Milton or Wordsworth .... if the 14 line form had not become part of the English literary tradition.... Some 400 years later English poetry is in the process of assimilating the Japanese haiku .... (but) the assimilation of the 17 syllable form has been more problematic, because there lies a greater linguistic and cultural distance between Japanese and English verse. Problematic yes, but not impossible. I don’t know by what stages the Italian sonnet was assimilated into our literary tradition, but it would be sad indeed if it needed a society to give it credibility. It is interesting that while some Western writers of haiku have doubts about the validity of haiku as a poetic form, the Japanese don’t seem to. Kevin Bailey writes in the latest issue of HQ Poetry Magazine: (I quote) When Prof. Atsuo Nakagawa, the Editor of Poetry Nippon, came to visit me in 1988 ... he made very clear his view that haiku should not be segregated from mainstream poetry, but should be an influential part of it ... The popularity of haiku in the West proves that we are now ready to assimilate it into our own tradition and it is up to us, as members of haiku societies, to be in the vanguard of this transition by doing all we can, by whatever means, to see that the best haiku reaches the poetry-reading public. Ueda ends his Introduction: Will there ever be a great English haiku poet who might be compared to a great English sonneteer such as Shakespeare or Spenser? Surely the answer must be ‘yes’, but in order that he/she can emerge, the haiku stage must be large enough to give platform, not only to our own established haiku poets, but also to those in the mainstream who (like Nigel Jenkins) will bring their own vision to it. We must be prepared to approach poetry festivals with ideas for haiku events, maybe start a haiku column in a local newspaper, join writers’ groups, take workshops, enter into dialogue with mainstream editors.

But before we can go any further, there is another question that must be asked — and answered — and that is: do haiku societies want to move closer to the mainstream poetry establishment or are they perfectly content as they are? I touched on this topic in my last Blithe Spirit editorial, suggesting that the best proof of the success of the BHS would be that it put itself out of a job — the implication being that haiku would have asserted itself and moved beyond any organization into a full acceptance of it as one form among other poetic forms. I had little reaction to this, but what I did have was positive. However I know that there are some members of the BHS for whom the mere suggestion of any dialogue with the mainstream is sacrilege — a kind of betrayal of the ‘purity’ of haiku. There are also those, who understandably enough, feel that it is pointless to try and engage with a mainstream movement so apparently dismissive of haiku. David Cobb was right to point out in his National Haiku and Global Haiku paper in Chicago last year, that the history of our relationship with the poetry establishment has not encouraged optimism, yet I sometimes wonder if their legendary unfriendliness hasn’t been somewhat exaggerated — Susumu Takiguchi seemed to have had no difficulty renting rooms at 22, Betterton St. for his haiku workshops last year and Pearl Elizabeth Dell, another BHS member has also hosted events there. Haiku is not without its supporters among established poets in Britain. Nigel Jenkins and Peter Finch both write haiku and have done a lot to raise its profile in Wales; and some presses do publish collections of haiku, Planet being the latest convert in this respect, — the result of an exchange with Blithe Spirit.

Part of the problem has been the fact that haiku comes from a culture that still seems alien to many in the western tradition. Alan Ross, recent editor of the London Magazine remained until his death convinced that haiku is so quintessentially Japanese that no Westerner should have the temerity to attempt it. Well, the Beat Poets did and we are grateful to them for doing so; nevertheless, theirs was a movement peculiar to its time that flourished and died, leaving haiku still outside the Western mainstream in America. Likewise, haiku’s association with Zen has led many in the poetry establishment to see it more as a spiritual exercise than a poetic form. Henderson’s famous saying Haiku is more akin to silence than to words has encouraged the belief that there is something mysterious, even esoteric about haiku — that it isn’t for ordinary mortals, but only for more rarified souls.

Something common to most societies, not just haiku ones, is a resistance, sometimes unconscious, to outside influences. A society is by nature a closed circle and the temptation is for members to look inward rather than outward. In order to reinforce our own sense of identity, we tend to develop a kind of siege mentality; it’s important to be vigilant and work against becoming isolationist and self-sealing, otherwise haiku will be the loser, leading to a situation where haiku societies sit contemplating their navels while the rest of the world rolls on by. Before we can influence anyone outside the haiku movement we must be prepared to listen and this means reading mainstream poetry magazines, their editorials, letter columns etc.— getting ourselves acquainted with what is going on out there. A move to forge links with the poetry establishment should be against the background of having some idea of where it is at, seeking to share insights about haiku, rather than telling them where we think they are getting it wrong. This is not an unrealistic goal; Gabriel Rosenstock, the Irish poet and translator, successfully has a foot in both the haiku and mainstream camps, and in New Zealand (although Cyril Childs tells me the situation has never been quite as cozy as it appears from the outside), the gulf between haiku and mainstream is not nearly as large as it is in the UK. Maybe we need a Richard Wright among our ranks, a universally acclaimed writer, at home in all forms of literature, to help bridge the gap; his collection Haiku — This Other World must have sold the concept of haiku to hundreds of people who had probably never heard of it before. Chance connections can play their part too; in the ‘eighties one of the committee members of the New Zealand Poetry Society, David Drummond, discovered haiku on a trip to Japan and on his return encouraged interest in it from within the New Zealand poetry establishment; as a result of his commitment, haiku activity within their Poetry Society continues to this day.

We need contact with mainstream writers if the writing of haiku is not to become a kind of cult activity, practiced in isolation from other forms of poetry and regarded as esoteric and somewhat eccentric by the majority of other poets. A poet who writes longer poems but whose main interest is haiku wrote to me recently: I think we’re in danger of putting the mainstream off when we appear to be more interested in the peculiarities of form than in the content. Jim Kacian, too, in the Introduction to his recent Frogpond International questions some of our assumptions. If haiku is poetry, then why do mainstream poets not consider us poets? It is too self-serving to dismiss them as not knowing better — some of these poets have made serious study of haiku and have arrived at a place different from our mainstream ...

Many editors as well as mainstream poets genuinely feel that haiku is the poor relation of poetry and only for people who can’t write the real thing. We have to convince them otherwise. It is too easy and self-serving to assume that whenever our haiku, haibun, haiku sequences, or whatever, are rejected by mainstream journals, the fault lies in their editorial policy rather than in our work. Maybe some of our submissions just aren’t good enough to compete with all the talent there is out there. Martin Lucas suggests in his Spooks, Spectres and the Haiku Spirit (BS 11/3) that there is ‘a drift towards homogeneity’ in the haiku movement and points out that though the third edition of the Haiku Anthology maintains the level of quality of the second edition it is ‘noticeably less adventurous’. Is this not because haiku societies are too incestuous, relating only to each other, this leading to unconscious imitation? We need to open ourselves more to outside influence, to read good poetry, not only haiku; we need the stimulus of contact not only with other poets, but artists too (Miro’s late ‘minimalist’ drawings are an inspiration to anyone who responds to brevity, be it in words or with a brush) — there has always been cross-fertilization in the arts and it has enriched all forms. What matters is whether a poem works, however it works; perhaps editors are rejecting our haiku because while they might be competent enough, too few of them have wings.

How many of us try our haiku on mainstream editors? If we feel we have written something that has quality, would it not be worthwhile submitting to a poetry journal, before taking the relatively easy option of sending it to one of our own in-house haiku magazines? By so doing, we open ourselves to the possibility (even likelihood) of rejection and will lose that pleasantly reassuring sense of identity, something that all us writers enjoy each time we see our names in print; it is much more comfortable being a large fish in a small pool than a small fish in a large pool, but it is also self-limiting. By submitting our work to mainstream journals we will not only stretch ourselves, but raise the level of awareness as regards haiku, proving to editors that there is a public who takes it as seriously as other forms of poetry. For sure, editors of poetry magazines will often have different ideas to us about what constitutes a good haiku, will reject ours and print some that we (perhaps rightly) think are not so good, but such jostling for position is par for the course with all the arts which have always been competitive. It’s a natural and healthy process of their evolution which so far, with a few notable exceptions, has not proved such a bad way of sorting out the good from the mediocre; we have to prove our point to editors by exciting them with our work.

Over the past 12 years the BHS has done an invaluable job in promoting haiku, in increasing people’s awareness of it and the culture from which it came. But I believe the time has come for us to see ourselves now as part of the wider poetry movement rather than separate from it, to pay more attention to the contemporary poetry scene and somewhat less to the internal affairs of the society and to trust that the essential nature of haiku will be recognized and respected by poets who also enjoy writing other forms of poetry. There have always been good and less good poets and there always will be; Bash¬ acknowledged as much when he said: ‘those who are good at combining or bringing together two topics are superior poets’. This statement proves that he did see haiku as a form of poetry, and the question I would like to leave you with now is not, why should we bother with the poetry establishment? but why shouldn’t we?

My thanks to Cyril Childs for reading this paper and for his valuable comments - CG

Caroline Gourley is the editor of Blithe Spirit. In addition to being published originally  in Blithe Spirit, this article was also translated into Dutch for Vuursteen, the journal of the Haiku Circle of The Netherlands. Thanks to Adri van den Berg for pointing it out to us.




KIDS WRITE RENGA (so you can too)
John Carley

You can read these notes first. Or you can jump right in and read the poems (which are in SYMBIOTIC XVIII-2, June 2003).  Either way we want you to give writing renga a try.

What is it all about?

Kids - Well any age really. there are poems here written by authors as young as nine years old, through to later teens. The plural - kids – is right though. this is poetry written by several people at once. Yes really. Write - Actually it's more a case of swapping ideas and generally bouncing them around. So if you're in the same place as your partners then 'speak' is just as likely; if you are using email: 'type'. Or, for SMS messaging: 'text'. There's more than one way to write a renga. Renga - It's a Japanese word; this style of poetry comes from Japan. 'Ren' means 'chain' and 'ga' means 'poem'. Chain of Poems. Linked Verse. Renga.

What goes into a renga?

Renga is like a collage or mosaic of ideas and images. A good collage uses all sorts of different materials to build up interesting shapes; a mosaic uses lots of little pieces to make a single picture.

Renga is like a party where everyone brings different things to eat or drink: the fun is in swapping and sharing. Two or three can party, or even twenty three. And the ingredients. well, no one is here to tell their life story, or argue about politics or complex problems. Renga uses short, simple images.

Renga doesn't speak at the reader; it doesn't deliver a lecture. So, don't tell us about your county in Autumn (Fall), show us what a dry leaf feels like; make us hear the sound of the wind. Don't tell us you like grilled vegetables; give us some of the smells from the kitchen, the texture of toasted eggplant, the cat flicking it's tail because it wants you to have fish.

How do the verses join up?

Renga doesn't try to tell a story, or prove a point. Renga is an adventure that changes direction from verse to verse. The verses do link together, but in unexpected ways. A link can pick up on a mood, or one of the senses (taste, smell, touch, sound, sight). The link might refocus: the new verse zoom in on the verse it joins with, or pan out and away to show a much bigger background.

Imagine. a noisy classroom becomes the quiet beneath a tree. The sound of bees becomes a motorcycle engine. The smell of exhaust becomes a busy highway. The lights of the vehicles become the stars. A sailing ship travels a sea of darkness. Back in the classroom we awake from a dream.

A link in renga is like a lesson on the Romans. A bad lesson on the Romans means you are told everything very quickly and with too much detail. A good lesson on the Romans has just enough to show you something, but leaves enough room to get your imagination going.

Does it just ramble on?

No. Renga does not tell a single story, but it isn't just shapeless either. The Japanese tradition is hundreds of years old and uses patterns of seasons, subjects and moods. These poems will often have more than thirty verses, sometimes fifty or even a hundred!

But there's no need to learn to write such long pieces to enjoy the creation and sharing of renga. A simple, open framework is all that it takes - like a trellis to grow your vines on. Let's take a look at the four poems in this issue:

"Ice Cream Sundae" - follows the seasons, taking eight verses to complete a cycle, and tells us exactly what it's like to be aged 10 in northern England.

"Donuts, Fuel and Hot Dogs" - tracks the cycle of a day, in a sea-side town called Blackpool. The verses, like the place itself, are a busy kaleidoscope.

"Rich and Poor Lives" - goes through the stages of a lifetime, flicking back and forth between the 'haves' and 'have nots'. "East Lancashire" - at only six finely linked verses, needs nothing more than a general geographic area to make it feel complete.

Who chooses what goes in?

The four poems in this issue were written by groups of between five and fifteen poets. They were written under the guidance of someone who knows renga well. The name for such a person is, in Japanese, a sabaki - judge or arbitrator.

If you look carefully you will see that sometimes individual verses were written by a team, sometimes by a single person. Sometimes all the people present put in their ideas and suggestions for every part of every single verse in the chain.

Whatever the circumstances, it is the arbitrator ‘s responsibility to decide the final version.

The most important thing is to experiment and find a system that works well for the people involved. When there is a large number, forming teams might be a good idea. If there are only two people, and they are swapping verses as text messages over a mobile phone network, taking it in turns is probably best.

The role of sabaki is important in renga; the sabaki is the team coach. If there is an experienced person present, it makes sense for them to be sabaki. If not, poets can experiment - person A can be sabaki for one piece of renga, but next time it will be person B etc. Attention - being sabaki is a big responsibility!

Taking turns or competing?

There are two basic ways of deciding which individual (or team) gets to write a particular verse. In Japanese these methods are called hizaokuri and degachi. But no matter which method is chosen, the most important word is za.

hizaokuri- taking it in turns. Poet (or team) A writes verse 1. Poet (or team) B writes verse 2. etc, with the sabaki offering help and suggestions.

degachi by competition. All poets (or teams) write an offering for verse 1, and the sabaki chooses the 'best'. Then all poets (or teams) write an offering for verse 2, and the sabaki chooses the 'best', etc.

za –  This word describes the spirit of renga. It means lots of discussion, but no arguments. It means big on engagement, but small on ego.

What do I do next?

Read the poems. Notice how they use a long verse followed by a short verse, followed by a long, etc.

Show this article to your friends. Print it off. Email the URL to everyone you know. Tell your family, your teachers, your team leaders.

Write some renga. You can swap verses on a mobile phone, via email, via instant messaging. If you live in a town or city, you can even sit down in a room with your friends and write it!

Welcome to the poetry of the future.

Here are some poems that some children wrote last week  -  mainly mentored by their class teacher - using teaching materials authored by Paul Conneally and based on the 'phrase and fragment' analysis proposed by Jane Reichhold. These are from the Fifth Class (nine/ten year olds). A very constrained socio-economic profile; all white; civic housing project; neither town nor country. Group work is up under 'St Mary's Cadishead'.

litter all over -
sticky bobs* 
clinging to my jumper



pink blossom -
nursery children
pulling faces through the fence


abandoned marble*-
a little ladybird
lost in a field


* a small coloured glass orb, a child's plaything

hiding place -
clinging vines climbing
up a crooked wall




       Gracious good green spring wing greetings and all best always... You are  too generous to me letting me know when you are on the verge of putting together the new next Lynx but I am very appreciative of the kind encouraging and honestly am not organized enough to get my tanka out of my little notebooks without such a well timed prompt... Major thank you and I spent part of today digging out some tanka for you to review. I must say again I'm not at all sure if any of these are worthy but hope maybe a few are ( if none fit or feel quite right please just say so and I'm perfectly fine with that... I believe several I'm sending need work or are perhaps in a early genesis to where they might go?)

Grateful thank you for the feedback and it is wonderfully gratifying to have these tanka find a published home with you. I hope you know how much I appreciate your kindness and to me the reality of my tanka is that many are personal to a point that I am unsure whether they have a "universally" valid voice that others will find levity in or poetic reassurance or some kind of truth-value in finding them... Your willingness to publish some of my tanka gives me hope that they may have something worth sharing and I'm glad for that and will try to keep scribbling away when the muse and moments move me!

I'll be looking forward to all the great work you gather in the next Lynx and wish you the longer light in your home and hearts. I just went and picked Emma up from her closest friend Cora's house and she was so happy coming home... we had a good talk in the car and then the scent of damp old leaves mixed with new green grass and a lovely crescent moon... ah, so many gifts each day! There is a poem by Billy Collins in his latest book Nine Horses called "Aimless Love" in which he describes a sequence of things that he "falls in love" with and that sense is very much my own and that of any poetically inclined person. Tom Clausen


That's brilliant news indeed about Jane's recent publishing success. The gender issue so clearly needs to be addressed: I honestly believe Japan will not rise from its current social and economic impasse until it realizes the potential of its whole population. But we occidentals have urgent need of these bridges too I believe – for all the good intentions, the Matsuyama Declaration reads like a divorce settlement to me, and I hate to see world class literature divided into cantons. So thanks for cheering me up.Best wishes to you both, John Carley

Hi Jane, nothing wrong with Lynx at all - it's that piece by those crazy Reichholds that bothers me!!

No, in all seriousness though, "A Box of Renga" is a very strong piece and I still can't isolate out exactly what disturbs me about it. Part of it is the doll I suppose: all those low culture associations - horror movies etc. Then there's Dali - the showmanship that overlays a deeply disturbed psyche: also low culture according to much of the Brit intelligentsia (hmmn, always assuming I can spell it!). Cats. Lights. Broken Eggs. Sortilege! I suppose it's those things allied to the fact that the continual recontextualisation of a core image set ('box') in such a relatively long piece seems to generate a sense of obsession. Don't get me wrong, this is a tribute, not a criticism - but it isn't a cozy read. Not to me anyway.

the circle half-drawn
why did I feel so scared


So thanks for the poem. And thanks for Lynx. It's a pleasure to read. Best wishes, John Carley

    Thanks for your comments about my card.  I've been writing less and drawing more lately, trying to accompany each piece with haiga, calligraphy or collage, etc., to make it (at least for me) a more complete experience. In this mood of war with its anxieties and uneasiness, I submit something which I hope circumvents it for a moment. Gary LeBel


Pensées is now going into a second run - the first wasn't that long. The publisher, who wrote, without my knowledge, the blurb on the back, is suggesting that it should now be replaced with 'brilliant', 'perceptive', 'supportive' comments of readers and reviewers. I leave it to him and, apparently he has some in storage from a review yet to appear in the British Haiku Society journal, Blithe Spirit. Others, he has indicated, would be welcomed.
      The cover was designed to visually signify the gradual but total obliteration of the 'Self'. For the same reason I had intended that my name did not appear anywhere but this was somehow got around by the publisher! I really wanted to indicate that the mere omission of the 'I' in ha(i)ku is a simplistic evasion of the problem. I do wonder what would happen to that infamous celebrity 'Ego' if everything we wrote was published anonymously, or under endless pseudonyms. Presently, the few remaining copies of Edition Numero Uno copies can be obtained from two sources: myself at Maple House, 5 School Lane, Claypole, Newark, Lincolnshire NG23 5BQ, England, or Stonehouse Editions, Holly Cottage, Crowell, Near Chinnor, Oxfordshire OX9 4RR, England. The Price is £7 or US $10, both include postage and packing (I like your metaphor - most apt!)
      Pensées evolved as a result of a suggestion a previous multi-titled book, including 'i'll unsee u in my dreams' and 'we meet in the inbetweenitee'. printed with little explanation, needed a supportive rationale. The first one was a practical example of what could happen if.... It changes perception of 'Season', strongly indicated that that we, who pride ourselves on calling a-spade-a-spade, really do no such thing, and questioned and prodded at other cherished notions of 'core' characteristics. I am presently working on a couple of more 'example' books, which, if I can afford it, hope to gift to anyone interested. I am also getting together 'Afterthoughts' - a natural extension of Pensées.
      I have recently heard about 'Writing and Enjoying Haiku' But not sure whether it was Frogpond, the HSA Newsletter or one of the British Mags. Although not particularly aware of the world haiku picture, (tell me more about LYNX) I have been Editor of the BHS Newsletter for the last twenty issues. I am giving it up following number 21, in June 2003. I am delighted to hear of Jane's success and if I had more details (ISBN number - do you have these in America? - cost, availability, etc.) I will try to include it in Number 56.
      I have to say that I have now read a fair bit of Haiku Literary Theory, much of which I find is rather 'tinkering at the edges', or the equivalent of 'so what' haiku. Jane has been, for me, the most important exception and influence, (despite OCR Van den Heave, Philip Lowland, Lee Gurga and Martin Lucas [who adopts too many ideas of others) and, so it seems to me, is at the centre of 'significant issues' and writes in a way that is amusing as well as erudite.
      If one learns within specific parameters and becomes used to 'the best' within them, it does not mean an automatic qualification to make a value judgment about work that, while using the same or similar language, structures and form, extends the boundaries. Unfortunately, the initial and knee-jerk reaction is to denigrate (another word for 'rubbishing') rather than viewing it as inability to connect with that which is beyond a personal experiencE. Our own limitation is not easy to recognize, come to terms with and do something about. It happens in every field, so why be surprised by it. It has been her ability to perceive beyond existing tradition that impressed me when I first encountered her writing. So, a big Thank You to her for that. - Stanley Pelter


Still mourning for Kiyoko-san
Eiko Yachimoto

My heart is talking to Ms. Tokutomi Kiyoko.  In fact I gasped when I found the sad news in the Lynx.  I did not know she died in December. I met her on the 17th of November while her daughter took her to Japan.  Prof. Fukuda spent a whole day with them on that day and dropped by at AIR meeting which was about to finish.. The session was unusually held in Central Tokyo.  Some of the people there knew her but she could not remember them.  But memory loss did not affect my conversation with her, because I met her for the very first time then. She told me she was originally from Saga Prefecture in Kyushu. She showed keen interest to the closing renku session and hold the pencil to write down the Japanese text of Prof. Fukuda's moon verse.

a full moon     remains smiling    home-coming

I was impressed with her beautiful writing, very accurate and very sincere way of Writing each kana and each Chinese character.

Ms. Sugiura Kikuyo's link to this moon verse;

bell-crickets' voices     around the kitchen

I am sure Kiyoko-san keeps writing haiku in the heaven.... My condolences...


I particularly appreciated your letter discussion with Owen Bullock in the February issue about links between tanka in a sequence. Meanwhile, Jane might like to know distribution of her "hands on guide" has made it as far as this distant part of the English-speaking world. I like the sections on structure in haiku and tanka very much and I’m recommending the book to all my contacts. Tony Beyer

The interesting thing about our poem ["Long Way Home" in symbiotic poetry of this issue of Lynx] is the timeline, which has been a constant amusement to us as we've written this piece.  We're proud that we made it to the end, and we'd love to do something with it, but we're not sure what.  The main question we have is . . . should we go back and hack and edit and try to fix our problems? Or should we share what we have and say "good, bad, or indifferent, this is what we wrote". We would love to hear your opinion.  Layne Russell (who knew you in CompuServe days), Paul David Mena (who I believe you know as well) and I were the poets.  This isn't a "submission", because we don't know if we're finished, but we covet your advice. Gary Warner


How to submit

Who we are

Back issues:

 XVIII:1 February, 2003
XVII:3 October, 2002

XVII:2 June, 2002
XVII:1 February, 2002
XVI:3 October, 2001
XVI:2 June, 2001
XVI:1 February, 2001
XV:3 October, 2000
XV:2 June, 2000

  Copyright © by Designated Authors, 2003.
Page Copyright © by Jane Reichhold 2003.

Next Lynx is scheduled for October, 2003.

Deadline is SEPTEMBER 1, 2003.