Sitting in the Sun

Michael Dylan Welch and Crystal Simone Smith, editors. Kate MacQueen, artwork. Press Here, Sammamish, Washington, 2019, 64 pages, 94 poets (one poem each), ISBN 978-1-878798-40-4.

Sitting in the Sun
collects haiku and senryu by 94 attendees of the 2019 Haiku North America conference, held 7–11 August 2019 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Edited by Michael Dylan Welch and Crystal Simone Smith, with North Carolina–themed artwork by Kate MacQueen, this anthology showcases many of North America’s leading poets, plus an upcoming generation. As the introduction says (adapted here), Sitting in the Sun celebrates the fifteenth biennial Haiku North America conference. These conferences provide an array of academic research and inspired readings and presentations, but they’re also a kind of ‘sitting on the porch a spell,’ a gathering of friends to enjoy the day, to talk about a favorite poetic subject, and to ponder—or avoid—the ups and downs that life has to offer. In the very first Haiku North America anthology in 1991, the collection’s poems were arranged by each poet’s first name, and we’ve been doing that ever since. It’s a sort of front-porch familiarity that we continue to value—and seek to promote. So please sit a spell with these poems and poets.” You can read the entire introduction, see the contributor list, and order the book on Amazon. Here are 40 sample poems from the anthology.

late spring
the emptiness inside
a cracked blue egg

                Agnes Eva Savich
                Austin, Texas

tending gumbo the blend of our voices

                Bill Cooper
                Naples, Florida

New Year’s Day
a toddler’s shovelful
of snow

                Brad Bennett
                Arlington, Massachusetts

in the bottle’s throat
summers end

                Brent Goodman
                Rhinelander, Wisconsin

slow-falling snow
the steady hand
of the beggar

                Bryan Rickert
                Belleville, Illinois

                                                                                Sandia mountain
                                                                                there’s no word in Tiwa
                                                                                for “whale”

                                                                                                Charles Trumbull
                                                                                                Santa Fe, New Mexico

                                                                                making tamales
                                                                                the flow
                                                                                of family stories

                                                                                                Claire Vogel Camargo
                                                                                                Austin, Texas

                                                                                wind and streetlight
                                                                                play tag in our tree

                                                                                                Craig Kittner
                                                                                                Wilmington, North Carolina

                                                                                progressive church
                                                                                in the collection plate
                                                                                a lottery ticket

                                                                                                Crystal Simone Smith
                                                                                                Durham, North Carolina

                                                                                church bells
                                                                                at dusk—I swing
                                                                                at the last pitch

                                                                                                Dave Russo
                                                                                                Cary, North Carolina

the White House
whiter than ever
November chill

                David G. Lanoue
                New Orleans, Louisiana

winding up
the pitcher launches
summer thunder

                Erin Castaldi
                Mays Landing, New Jersey

The dog’s gray muzzle
rests in my hands
still holding the ball

                Garry Gay
                Windsor, California

early daffodils
deep in an unkempt forest—
her curls upon curls

                Gideon Young
                Chapel Hill, North Carolina


                            Jen Murdock
                Charlotte, North Carolina

                                                                                safe house
                                                                                in the back yard
                                                                                a sleeping doe

                                                                                                Jennifer Hambrick
                                                                                                Worthington, Ohio

                                                                                I too settle

                                                                                                Jill Lange
                                                                                                Cleveland Heights, Ohio

                                                                                taut tent
                                                                                the tympani
                                                                                of rain

                                                                                                Jim Kacian
                                                                                                Winchester, Virginia

                                                                                Superbowl party
                                                                                I make new friends
                                                                                with the dog

                                                                                                Joshua Gage
                                                                                                Cleveland, Ohio

                                                                                one fortune cookie
                                                                                for the two of us to share
                                                                                crescent moon

                                                                                                Julie Warther
                                                                                                Dover, Ohio

a hawk takes off
         after a while
I touch down

                Kala Ramesh
                Pune, India

Durban bus stop
I stoop to fill my hands
with frangipani

                Kate MacQueen
                Chapel Hill, North Carolina

first snow
a teacher joins her class
at the window

                Kathe L. Palka
                Flemington, New Jersey

night breeze
I listen to jazz
in my car

                Lenard D. Moore
                Raleigh, North Carolina

molting swallow
she tells me
about her rapist

                Lori A. Minor
                Madison Heights, Michigan

                                                                                ants crawl
                                                                                across our unfolded map—
                                                                                highway rest stop

                                                                                                L. Teresa Church
                                                                                                Durham, North Carolina

                                                                                the weight
                                                                                of a paper crane
                                                                                first snow

                                                                                                Makoto Nakanishi
                                                                                                Matsuyama, Japan

                                                                                dark night
                                                                                playing the harp by touch
                                                                                power outage

                                                                                                Marcyn Del Clements
                                                                                                Claremont, California

                                                                                end of the year—
                                                                                the swing’s muddy underside
                                                                                reflected in a puddle                                             +

                                                                                                Michael Dylan Welch
                                                                                                Sammamish, Washington

                                                                                deep autumn
                                                                                her left side sagging I visit
                                                                                the right side

                                                                                                Patricia J. Machmiller
                                                                                                San Jose, California

shop owner
dishes out gelato
and gossip

                Robert Moyer
                Winston-Salem, North Carolina

fading photo
a moment of our youth
sitting in the sun

                Robin Palley
                Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

over the wall
without papers
migrating geese

                Sarah E. Metzler
                Marion Center, Pennsylvania

a new lift to the door—
cherry blossoms are waiting!

                Shinko Fushimi
                Mito, Japan

from the mammogram
fresh squeezed orange juice

                Shirley Brooks
                Taylorville, Illinois

                                                                                new diagnosis
                                                                                learning to live with
                                                                                the way she says it

                                                                                                Susan Antolin
                                                                                                Walnut Creek, California

                                                                                rainy day—
                                                                                I can’t see the bright side
                                                                                of anything

                                                                                                Susan Burch
                                                                                                Hagerstown, Maryland

                                                                                cloud shapes . . .
                                                                                my sister and her wife
                                                                                discuss baby names

                                                                                                Tanya McDonald
                                                                                                Woodinville, Washington

                                                                                she wasn’t cremated
                                                                                Mother’s Day

                                                                                                Tia Haynes
                                                                                                Lakewood, Ohio

                                                                                family graves
                                                                                all tombstones except grandpa’s
                                                                                lean to the right

                                                                                                Valerie Fern
                                                                                                Carmel Valley, California