This blog focuses mostly on what’s new or revised on the Graceguts site, owned and operated by Michael Dylan Welch. But it may have other occasional quiddities too. Enjoy! And if you have any comments,
please let me know.          +

Interview, Rengay, and More

posted Jan 19, 2020, 8:07 PM by Michael Dylan Welch   [ updated Jan 19, 2020, 8:11 PM ]

A fresh face on the Interviews page is “My Window Opens: A Personal Haiku History,” a previously unpublished behind-the-scenes interview with me by William J. Higginson, dating from March of 2006. And on the Rengay page, find “Out Late,” written with Angela Terry and Tanya McDonald about the city of London. The Rengay page also has a new “City Rengay” subheading for city-related rengay, a theme I’ve been exploring with a lot of rengay lately. I’ve also added a new poem (dated 26 June 2019) to NeverEnding Story page. Explore!

The Gift of Shikishi—New Translations

posted Jan 10, 2020, 9:10 PM by Michael Dylan Welch   [ updated Jan 10, 2020, 9:16 PM ]

A major new addition to the Essays and Translations pages is “Touching the Moon: Twenty-Four Shikishi,” a translation project that, in fits and starts, took more than a dozen years to complete. The project presents shikishi (haiku poem cards, featuring original calligraphy) and new translations of haiku by twenty-four of Japan’s leading 20th century haiku poets. These shikishi were given to the Haiku Society of America in September of 1978 to celebrate the society’s tenth anniversary. I originally began work on this project with William J. Higginson, around 2006 or 2007, but after he died in October of 2008, I asked Emiko Miyashita to help me with the new translations. The finished essay and translations appeared in Frogpond 41:1, Winter 2018, in celebration of the Haiku Society of America’s fiftieth anniversary, and I’ve just now added all this content to this website. The shikishi have been valued at $500,000, based on typical prices for this kind of haiku-related calligraphy by major haiku poets, and because of how prominent the majority of its contributors have been in 20th century Japanese haiku. In 2006 the shikishi were deeded to the American Haiku Archives at the California State Library in Sacramento, and the library exhibited them in 2017 and 2018, using exhibit text that I drafted. I’ve also exhibited reproductions of the shikishi at the 2018 Seabeck Haiku Getaway near Seattle. I invite you to read the essay and the translations, and view all of the shikishi images, plus additional photos. A fascinating sublink is “Photos from the September 1978 Haiku Society of America Meeting,” which presents five photos I received from Cor van den Heuvel of the original event in 1978 when these shikishi were first given to the Haiku Society of America in New York City.

Three New Haibun and a Rengay

posted Jan 4, 2020, 11:03 PM by Michael Dylan Welch   [ updated Jan 4, 2020, 11:06 PM ]

Just added to the Haibun page are three Shakespeare-themed haibun in my “historical” series. Please take a look at “Outrageous Fortune,” “Poor Yorick,” and “What’s In a Name?,” recently published in Contemporary Haibun Online. And on the Rengay page, look for “Singing Along,” a Broadway-themed rengay written with Tia Haynes, recently published in the pages of Failed Haiku.

Hiroaki Sato On Haiku

posted Jan 2, 2020, 10:20 AM by Michael Dylan Welch   [ updated Jan 2, 2020, 10:20 AM ]

The Reviews page now features “Contextualization Icebergs: A Review of On Haiku,” my detailed assessment of Hiroaki Sato’s book of essays culled from decades of explicating the haiku art. This review recently appeared in Juxtapositions, the Haiku Foundation’s journal for haiku studies.

Traffic Culture Exhibition Haiku Winners

posted Jan 1, 2020, 8:29 PM by Michael Dylan Welch   [ updated Jan 1, 2020, 8:40 PM ]

Happy new year! Or, as they say in Japan, 明けましておめでとう. Speaking of Japan, I’ve had the privilege of working with Emiko Miyashita on many translations from the Japanese. In addition to several books we’ve had published over the last dozen years (such as on waka, noh drama, bonsai, and furoshiki), we’ve also translated speeches, website content (such as for the Haiku International Association), album liner notes, concert programs, museum signage, magazine articles, and more, including haiku and other poetry. A recent annual project has been to translate haiku winners for the Traffic Culture Exhibition in Tokyo. New to the Digressions page is “Tokyo Traffic Culture Exhibition,” with many photos of the 2018 exhibition, plus links to the 2018 haiku and 2019 haiku contest winners, as well as “A History of the Sakuryōkai Exhibition,” all of which is also available through the Translations page. Elsewhere on this site, I’ve updated the Appearances page to focus on 2020, with 2019 Appearances moved to their own separate page. Please explore.

Haiku About Nothing

posted Dec 31, 2019, 2:21 PM by Michael Dylan Welch   [ updated Dec 31, 2019, 2:21 PM ]

A new essay in the “Learning From” section of the Essays page is “Poems About Nothing: Learning Haiku from Antonio Porchia,” recently published in Juxtapositions, the Haiku Foundation journal for haiku studies. Porchia wrote a wonderful book of aphorisms that has much to say to haiku poets, with the idea that, miraculously, haiku are poems about nothing. See if you agree.

Sōseki’s White Chrysanthemum

posted Dec 30, 2019, 1:28 PM by Michael Dylan Welch   [ updated Dec 30, 2019, 1:29 PM ]

You may know the classic haiku, “before the white chrysanthemum, / the scissors hesitate / a moment.” And you may think it’s by Buson. But no, it’s actually by Sōseki, and the widespread attribution error seems to have begun with R. H. Blyth. Please read “Sōseki, not Buson: Attributing the White Chrysanthemum,” just added the Essays page, to understand more.

Shiki’s Manifesto

posted Dec 29, 2019, 10:57 PM by Michael Dylan Welch   [ updated Dec 29, 2019, 11:06 PM ]

Just added to the Essays page is “Questioning Haiku: A Shiki Manifesto,” which Haiku Canada Review published a few months ago. How would you answer some of this essay’s questions about the directions that haiku might take?

Tokutomi Contest Winners

posted Dec 23, 2019, 6:48 PM by Michael Dylan Welch   [ updated Dec 23, 2019, 9:30 PM ]

New to the Commentary page are comments on three of my prize-winning haiku that placed in the Tokutomi Memorial Haiku Contest sponsored by the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, including one first-prize winner. Thank you to Patricia Donegan, Shokan Tadashi Kondō, and Emiko Miyashita for their observations. See the “Tokutomi Contest Commentary.”


posted Dec 21, 2019, 3:15 PM by Michael Dylan Welch   [ updated Dec 21, 2019, 3:15 PM ]

Two new additions are “Set in Stone,” a short previously unpublished commentary on a five-letter poem by John Stevenson, on the Essays page, and “flighght,” my take on a notorious creation (not everyone calls it a poem) by Aram Saroyan, on the Poems page (this is definitely the shortest poem there).

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