My Window Opens: A Personal Haiku History

        interview by William J. Higginson

On 23 March 2006, two and a half years before he died, William J. Higginson sent me an email message that I presume he also sent to many others, seeking responses to a series of questions. Using the answers, he said that he was planning to gain “a better knowledge of how our haiku in English has grown over the decades,” and that “it will feed into some writing projects I’m engaged in.” I also encouraged him to review the many entries for the “Beginner’s Mind” column I edited in Woodnotes, which invited people to tell how they got started with haiku, and to read the “featured poet” sections of Haiku Headlines, which offered biographical sketches, photos, and sample poems, working together to tell each person’s history with haiku. I don’t know whether Bill reviewed these resources, nor how many responses he got to his questionnaires. It’s a project that seemed never to come to fruition. Nevertheless, here are my responses to Bill’s questions, with information accurate as of March 2006. I’ve added more recent text in [square brackets] to augment and update my original responses to Bill, sent back to him on the same day that he emailed me. I’ve also removed a few comments that were personal and not intended for public sharing, and have corrected a few typos. Previously unpublished.       +       +       +

1. What was your first memorable contact with haiku, and when was that (here, “when” means what year, approximately)?
2. What actually got you started writing haiku, and when was that?

(answering both questions in the following answer, since my first contact with haiku immediately got me started writing haiku)

My first encounter with haiku was in a grade 10 English class in 1976 or perhaps early 1977, in Alberta. I had always written poetry, and had liked short poetry, so I was immediately attracted to haiku. It was presented merely as a 5-7-5-syllable poem. I don’t think my teacher, George Goodburn, said anything about nature or the seasons, and I don’t remember what examples he used. I wrote “haiku” regularly after that, though what I wrote was completely unaware of any other strategies or aesthetics [see “Godawful Early Haiku”]. Starting around 1979 I started reading a lot of books about Zen and Taoism and began to encounter haiku in translation, but because the poems were always relevant to some other purpose in the book I was reading, or part of a story, little was said about haiku itself, or how to write them, yet I think I slowly gained a contextual or cultural understanding of haiku—at least a little bit. Around 1986, in grad school, I published a book of my haiku (called Haiku), each poem arranged vertically, with many of the words split into parts in a visual/concrete way (I had no idea at the time that Japanese haiku appeared vertically [but I do remember my English professor, Dorothy Comm, who had lived in Japan but was not a haiku writer, remarking on seeing the collection that Japanese was usually printed vertically]). A friend [Doug Kim or perhaps Robert Ku—and yes, that was his last name] called my poems presented in this fashion “stick poems”—they were similar to what John Martone does with his haiku, except that I also split words to emphasize meanings of words within words and occasionally employed strategies used by E. E. Cummings (his poem “l(a” served as a strong model). [See the “Stick Poems” section of my Poems page, which contains a few of these poems.] Though presented vertically, all of these poems were 5-7-5 and still paid no attention to imagism, the juxtapositional structure, season words, or objective description. If any of that happened, it was purely by accident.
        Then, in the summer of 1987, at a Kinokuniya bookstore in London (in the shadow of St. Paul’s Cathedral), I bought Lucien Stryk’s Bashō translations, On Love and Barley, from a selection of haiku books the store had available [I still vividly remember that shelf and where it was in the bookstore]. This book was not particularly influential to me, but it did happen to be the first haiku book I ever bought (perhaps because it was small and relatively inexpensive). The sparseness of the translations didn’t strike me at all, because they were translations, and thus wouldn’t necessarily preserve the 5-7-5 structure. But later that fall, in southern California, I bought a copy of the second edition of Cor’s anthology [The Haiku Anthology, Fireside/Simon & Schuster, 1986]. This was a watershed event for me, because here was haiku in English, and I could see that there was a great deal more variety in haiku that I had been led to believe. I also saw that the vast bulk of the poems (actually, around 85 percent, as I later counted [actually 88.2 percent, according to my rechecked notes]) were NOT 5-7-5. This actuality confronted me with what I thought haiku was, and forced me to realize that I was missing something. The great revelation of reading Cor’s anthology was that it shifted my focus from form to content, and it’s a transition I’ve witnessed in hundreds of others as they come to know haiku after being only superficially acquainted with it.
        That fall or early in 1988 I joined the HSA [Haiku Society of America] (which was mentioned in Cor’s book) and subscribed to Modern Haiku. I sent my first batch of poems to Bob Spiess sometime in early 1988 [actually 31 March 1988, according to my records], and he accepted one of the poems (from my first-ever submission of poems to anyone anywhere, not counting school publications [accepted 18 April 1988]). Here’s the accepted poem as I submitted it (the middle line was inspired by Hiroaki Sato’s book from Weatherhill [One Hundred Frogs: From Renga to Haiku to English], which I got in March of 1988—though, believe it or not, I’ve still not actually read it! [I finally did so in October and November of 2006, perhaps because writing about it here brought it back to my attention]):

                 my window opens
                       one hundred frogs
                             sing to the moon

Bob suggested changing “one” to “a,” which I readily agreed with, since I hadn’t actually counted the frogs. I was proud of that first crisp dollar I received, and showed it proudly to a few others in my graduate school English department [the poem was published in Modern Haiku 19:3, Autumn 1988, page 13]. I moved to the San Francisco area in the fall of 1988, after grad school. In the spring of 1989, I wrote to Doris Heitmeyer to ask how I might connect with the haiku group in San Francisco (which I think I must have read about in the HSA Newsletter), and she connected me with vince tripi and HPNC [the Haiku Poets of Northern California]. Though I was already living in the Bay Area at the time, I missed HPNC’s inaugural/founding meeting in February of 1989, and also the group’s second meeting in early June, but went to the late-summer meeting, which was held outdoors, on August 27, in Golden Gate Park [I remember that a troupe of taiko drummers was practicing nearby!]. For some reason [before the meeting] it was important to me to self-publish another book of my haiku (I’d earlier done not just the one titled Haiku, but also a disastrous [but earnest] one titled Yosemite), and I was actually late to the meeting because I was still picking them up at the printer that morning—a book titled Egret, which I’d laid out in PageMaker and had bound using a spiral plastic comb binding. The book contained 116 haiku/senryu (including a couple of concrete poems and several poems in a sequence or two), 15 of my vertical “stick” poems (that were longer than haiku), and a haibun. So obviously I’d been busy with haiku, though what percentage those 116 poems represented of my output since reading Cor’s anthology is now lost to me, as I had written the poems on various [undated] scraps of paper rather than systematically in a notebook as I did soon thereafter. On looking at the 116 poems just now, most of them have flaws that are obvious to me now, but some of them weren’t half bad (plus it contained several of my earliest published poems that I still like). Here’s a sample that appeared just in the book, but wasn’t otherwise published:

                 clinging to the cat
                 at the roadside
                 morning frost

For a whippersnapper aged 26, that wasn’t too shabby. As it turns out, my experience with PageMaker, as demonstrated in my Egret book, landed me the job of doing layout for Woodnotes, and the first issue I did (working with vince and Paul O. Williams) was issue #3, which came out in December of 1989—delayed because of the big earthquake we had that October. I did all the layout and design, and also made some editorial decisions, and was listed as associate editor. I remain grateful for that early opportunity to contribute to HPNC, as I think it helped set my direction as an editor and publisher of haiku materials in all the years since then (though I was already doing editing and layout/design professionally).

3. Whose haiku or what source of haiku was most important to you as you began writing (please be as specific as possible, i.e., magazine titles, book titles, personal connections, etc., and when you encountered them)?

I specifically remember the influence, when I read the second edition of Cor’s anthology in 1988, of the poetry of Marlene Mountain. Her concrete and visual haiku were very playful and inventive to me, and before that for years I’d been writing/creating lots of concrete poetry of my own. Her poems were the first that challenged what I thought haiku was, and my study of them led me to a deeper understanding of the other poems that also challenged my notion of haiku, though they were more subtly different. And though I now look at Marlene’s poems and consider many of them to be on the fringe of haiku, they served the useful function of jolting me out of my preconceptions of haiku. I’ve not sought to emulate Marlene’s work at all, but it did serve as a vital catalyst in shifting my attention away from the straitjacket of a 5-7-5 form.
        Around this time (late 1988, early 1989) I also joined Haiku Canada, where further visual/concrete work challenged the limitations I’d put on haiku. I also read [in 1990] Eric Amann’s The Wordless Poem, which provided a strong aesthetic stance towards haiku, presenting Japanese aesthetics in a way that Cor’s book did not. I didn’t necessarily think of haiku as a “Zen” poem, but I could see (since I’d already read lots of books about Taoism and Zen) that there was a clear aesthetic affinity between Zen and many haiku—simplicity, appreciation for nature, accepting things as they are, and so on. In February of 1988 I also got a copy of The Haiku Handbook (McGraw-Hill version) and finished reading it by the summer. While it took me a decade or more to internalize some of the wisdom in the book (and perhaps this is a lifetime process), it and Cor’s book gave me a solid foundation for haiku, so much so that I continue to recommend these two books as the two most essential for anyone interested in learning how to write haiku in English [this is still true a dozen years later]. I also started reading biographies of the haiku masters, and those were a great influence, and also got some of Blyth’s books, but didn’t read them then, so he was much less of an influence. I got Henderson’s Introduction to Haiku in December of 1987 (and finished reading it a month later) and Haiku in English in February of 1988, but oddly don’t remember them being that influential to me, except the notion of “internal comparison,” which I think was in the Introduction. I never read Yasuda’s book—and actually, have still not read it! (I’ve dipped into in plenty, though.) I also never read Joan Giroux’s The Haiku Form until it was reprinted by Barnes & Noble in 2000.
        In these early days of my connection with other haiku poets, I was most grateful for connecting with vincent tripi, with whom I had many late-night conversations (I think he considered me a student or protégé, which I was never comfortable with, and our friendship waned as I asserted myself more and more, and took an academic as well as poetic approach to haiku, and he turned more to what he considered a spiritual approach). I corresponded with Bob Spiess on submissions, and also enjoyed the influence of Garry Gay and Paul O. Williams—their poems and especially the essays that Paul wrote. Books were also a strong influence, and I launched into buying haiku books with a vengeance—and probably have 3,000 to 4,000 haiku books now. Starting in 1988 I bought haiku books wherever I could find them—such as spending $300+ on my first trip to the Oriental Bookstore in Pasadena (still a great place for haiku books—many hundreds of new and used books just on haiku and tanka, with many more on the culture, religion, etc. [the Oriental Bookstore has closed since I wrote this]). I also subscribed to Modern Haiku, Frogpond, the Haiku Canada Newsletter [later Haiku Canada Review], Geppo, and Linda Valentine’s Haiku Quarterly (in which I’d gotten an honourable mention in the spring or summer of 1989—and vincent tripi had commented about it when I first met him in August of 1989). I don’t recall subscribing to any other haiku journals at the time, but I may have. Actually, I did subscribe to Lorraine Harr’s Western World Haiku Society newsletter and to Dragonfly (already in Richard Tice’s hands), but they were on their last legs.

4. As you started out or got more into haiku, did you participate in any groups that met regularly, physically or online? (For this purpose, a “group” is two or more.) Please give specifics as to who, what the group was called if it had a name, where it met, when you joined it, whether the group is still going and whether you are still involved, etc.

My initial involvement with a haiku group was HPNC, starting in August of 1989. My connection to HPNC was thanks to Doris Heitmeyer, who I’d written to earlier (she was then HSA secretary). Aside from that August meeting in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, HPNC usually met at a bookstore called Small Press Traffic in the city, and meetings in those days were usually pretty crowded. Frequently present were Tom Tico, Garry Gay, Paul O. Williams, vincent tripi, Peggy Molarsky and her husband Osmond (he had been a patient of William Carlos Williams as a child and remembered him well!), Davina Kosh, Patricia Donegan, Emile and Eugenie Waldteufel, Carolyn Talmadge, Lequita Vance, John Thompson, James Chessing, Tom Arima (who also participated in a Japanese haiku group in the San Francisco area, and also wrote occasional articles for Woodnotes on yugen, sabi, etc.), and more. I don’t remember Jerry Kilbride immediately (he had dropped out when I joined, as he had a short temper and didn’t participate just then); some year or so later, after I’d won second place in the Boston Haiku Contest in 1990 and Jerry wrote to me about it, I started cajoling him back into the group, though I think it took a couple of years. Christopher Herold joined later (around 1991 or 92?), as did Ebba Story and Marianne Monaco. Raymond Stovich wasn’t involved, but I saw him occasionally through Jerry Kilbride. I don’t recall Jane Reichhold ever attending meetings after I joined, but she still had a presence with HPNC folks (and Ty Hadman, who’d been around previously, still had some lingering influence). Jane was still slightly in the shadow of Roger Verran, who was the original main haiku influence in Gualala. Louis Cuneo (who ran the old Leanfrog haiku group in Oakland) was pretty much aloof from HPNC—essentially jealous that he wasn’t the “leader” of Bay Area haiku any more, in my assessment—and he continues, as far as I last heard, to go off on his own direction with haiku. There were so many other people who were aloof at this time (and some that stayed aloof), like James Hackett, David LeCount, and a few others (Raymond Stovich). But in these early years (1989 to 1991 or so), there was a lot of haiku activity, including Tom Arima’s small group, Jane Reichhold’s group in Gualala (which was very active then), Yuki Teikei (growing [it was well established before HPNC, by more than a decade, but was relatively small]), HPNC (the dominant force), some folks from Sacramento like Jim Normington, Pete Beckwith, and Dale Pendell, and the vestiges of the Leanfrog group (Louis Cuneo continued to have various haiku activities in the East Bay). (I didn’t know it till much later, but Father Thomas Hand also had a small haiku group in the area as well [at the Mercy Center in Burlingame]—promoting a 2-3-2 beat approach to haiku; he’s the only person I know who actively did this.) And of course Gary Snyder and Makoto Ueda were part of our consciousness. George Olczak and I once went to Ueda’s office at Stanford, where he gave me a copy of his 1976 book, Modern Japanese Haiku, and I think I visited his house in Palo Alto at least once, but only to stand at the door to pick something up or drop something off (never went inside). Ueda was at the 1987 haiku conference in San Francisco (which was before my involvement), but he never came to any HPNC events, even though he subscribed to Woodnotes for its entire existence. He said he’d get involved after he retired from Stanford, but then his wife’s illness prevented involvement even after he retired (I phoned him to ask if he would speak for the 2005 HNA [Haiku North America] conference, but he again politely declined). Not sure when they connected, but Brent Partridge was part of the early HPNC scene (always present with his haiku), Mary Fields, Mary Rudge, Ken Shockey, Catie Cariaga (now increasingly well-known for her longer poetry), and Jack and Adelle Foley (Adelle has persisted with a 5-7-5 approach to haiku, and they both came to the HPNC founding meeting, though never again [at my invitation, Jack did speak about Beat haiku at a national meeting of the Haiku Society of America, though, which took place in December of 2003—see “Beat Haiku and My Discussion with Jack Foley”]). Others got involved in later years (such as Ken Tanemura), and I’m not sure if I’m doing others a disservice to have not mentioned them.
        In those days the Yuki Teikei group was pretty much separate, and there was little cross-pollination. Even though they were geographically closer to me, I didn’t start going to Yuki Teikei meetings until a year or two later (I did get to know Jerry Ball, though, as Garry, Jerry, Tom Tico, and I were working on the San Francisco Haiku Anthology, though that was later, around 1991 and 1992—after the first HNA, so of course I knew Jerry and David Wright before that as we were working on HNA). I went to my first Asilomar haiku retreat in 1991, I think (and went every year through 2002, when I moved to the Seattle area [actually timing my move to happen right after that year’s retreat]). Some of the featured guests have been Robert Hass and Jane Hirshfield, so they’ve had some heavy hitters! Hackett also came one year, but boy was he touchy at even the slightest suggestion of controversy or anything other than hero-worship (Pat Gallagher had one notable altercation the first night and Hackett very nearly left!).
        Getting back to my first year with HPNC, though, I remember that Charles Nethaway (then HSA president) visited San Francisco in October of 1989, and I met him at Garry Gay’s studio in San Francisco. This was just a week or two after the Loma Prieta earthquake, and Garry’s studio was still messy—some paint spilled on the floor, for example (actually, I recall that it was a spray paint canister that had broken and Garry says he remembers it flailing about the room he was in, spraying inconsiderately, while he was crouched in a doorway, wondering whether to run outside despite the brickwork next to the entrance to his studio), though he’d picked up most things that had been knocked down (fortunately all the brickwork stayed put). For weeks it was harder to get around the city (part of the Bay Bridge still partly knocked down and impassable, and many other roads closed), and there were still aftershocks, many repairs to be made all over the place, many buildings in rubble or charred to embers, our water still running brown out of the tap. And later that fall (November of 1989) I first met Francine Porad, who gave a reading with Paul, Lequita, and vince at Small Press Traffic. And the next spring (I think it was), the same readers, with me reading instead of Francine, read haiku for the annual garden party reading at Robinson Jeffers’ Tor House in Carmel (a year or two later, Jane Hirshfield was the featured reader). This was my very first public haiku reading, and it actually still ranks as one of the most prestigious places I’ve ever read at (I had no idea at the time) [see “My First Poetry Readings”]. I remember we all decided to wear black, which seems so clichéd now, and I don’t recall being nervous (probably out of naïveté more than anything else, though probably my years of elocution lessons as a youth surely helped). I remember all through the reading this really attractive blond girl kept staring at me, and she came up to meet me afterwards. I had a girlfriend at the time, and didn’t respond to her overtures (definitely flirty), but I later thought, wow, what a great way to meet women! But, alas, it’s never happened since.

5. Are there any other haiku-related genres that you’re engaged in, and if so, what is the history (briefly) your involvement with them?

As I mentioned already, the book of haiku I produced in 1989, called Egret, contained a haibun, so early on that was an interest of mine. Not sure where I caught that bug, but I must have read about it in Haiku Handbook or somewhere. I’ve continued to write haibun steadily (though infrequently) over the years, but relatively little of it has been published (mostly not sent out) [I have since then published quite a bit more haibun]. Egret did not contain any tanka, though, and though I know I was aware of tanka, I don’t think I wrote any until 1990 or perhaps the year after (Woodnotes started publishing tanka around this time). Pat Shelley was an influence a few years later, as she was a strong tanka writer. I also remember being aware of tan-renga, though they had never appeared in Frogpond or Modern Haiku since I started subscribing. However, sometime in the mid to late 90s [actually 1996], at an Asilomar retreat, I asked many of the other attendees to try writing tan-renga with me—sort of like renku linking, though it ended immediately! Since the Asilomar retreats always included renku writing, the idea of linking wasn’t too much of a challenge or novelty to folks there. I had written all the starting verses, and other folks responded to them with two-liners, and in retrospect I should have encouraged other people to offer starting verses as well. In any event, I collected all these tan-renga and wrote an article on the subject for Frogpond in the late 1990s (I think it was my first essay for a column I wrote for Jim Kacian when he first started as editor) [see “Tanned and Healthy: A Dozen Tan-renga from Asilomar”]. Prior to that, I’d not seen any tan-renga in Frogpond, but since then they’ve made a regular appearance. Consequently, I feel responsible for opening that door, as there was a definite turn of the tide as a result of that article—a definite before and after. Surely some tan-renga had appeared before then in Frogpond (?), but many people wrote to me to say they’d not heard of it till that article, and tan-renga became regular after that.
        As for tanka, I participated in Jane Reichhold’s Tanka Spendor contests from the beginning (1990, I think), and placed in most of the contests over the years, though I didn’t enter a couple. In 1992 and 1993 I and others in the Bay Area were writing quite a bit of tanka, and I decided to publish an anthology, titled Footsteps in the Fog. To my knowledge, this was the first anthology of English-language tanka ever published in English. Jane Reichhold has claimed that Wind Five Folded was the first such anthology, but Footsteps preceded it by several months—and, in fact, when Jane learned about it, she CUT a whole bunch of my tanka from Wind Five Folded that she’d already written to say she’d accepted. Kind of sad. I wasn’t competing, or even aware that Footsteps would be the first such anthology, but it did come out first. There was an earlier anthology of tanka written in Japanese, Sounds from the Unknown, that was translated into English, written by Japanese-Americans in the Bay Area, but that wasn’t original English-language tanka, so I do think Footsteps was the first English-language anthology [I do not count collections of contemporary Japanese tanka translated into English as being the first English-language tanka anthologies, but M. Kei has since made a case for another anthology of English-language tanka being earlier than both of these books]. However, one may also consider Jane’s Tanka Splendor collections to be anthologies, though they could also be considered contest result books. So I guess it depends which way you slice things.
        Later, of course, in April of 2000, I founded the Tanka Society of America. I had thought for years that such an organization should exist, but no one ever did it. So I did it myself [and also arranged for the inaugural meeting that year, deciding to hold it at Millikin University’s “Global Haiku Festival” instead of having the first meeting in California]. I can’t say that tanka has ever been my main focus (it isn’t now), and I wasn’t particularly trying to make any mark, but I just felt that tanka itself could benefit—and I also thought that the HSA could benefit, too, from having a distinct tanka organization (to prevent the travesty of a tanka book receiving the first-place Merit Book Award that happened sometime in the 1990s!).
        Around 1992 or 1993, I took a sumi-e class. Kay F. Anderson was also in the class, to my surprise (I knew her already through HPNC). Though I’d had art training in college and before, after the sumi-e class I decided to abandon it, feeling that the quality I would demand of myself would always exceed either my ability or my dedication to practice. Kay stuck with it, however. At the time I entertained the notion of doing a lot of one-stroke paintings and haiga-like creations (a la Kazuaki Tanahashi, Paul Reps, and Frederick Franck—and even Alexis Rotella, in her book Ask!, had done something similar), but my attempts at this were fairly miserable. I had thought about haiga at this time, and also wondered about combining photography with haiku, but never pursued it much (I was and still am an avid photographer, and have published lots of my photographs in calendars and several books).
        I’ve also written renku and other linked verse since around 1990 or so, writing with anne mckay, Alexis Rotella, various Bay Area folks, and many others (Yvonne Hardenbrook, Ce Rosenow, Jerry Kilbride, and I don’t know who else). At Asilomar retreats, we always wrote renku, and some of them appeared in Geppo, but I also know that some of them were lost. As a result of the 1992 Renku North America tour, Garry Gay devised the “rengay” form, and he and I wrote the very first rengay that year [see “Deep Winter”], and I’ve since done the main work to popularize the form—so much so that newcomers to haiku are not even aware that it was only invented in 1991! Some folks think it’s an ancient Japanese form—much to my consternation, and probably to Garry’s and yours as well—though of course they can be quickly educated!
        I think it’s also important to mention my involvement with longer poetry, which I’ve always written. Until around 1988 or so, I wrote much more longer poetry than haiku, and I continue to write and sometimes publish a lot of longer poetry even while haiku is my main focus (in 2004 and again in 2005 I founded and directed the Poets in the Park conference—see www.poetsinthepark.com [no longer active; instead see “Poets in the Park”] for more info, and I’m also an active board member of the Washington Poets Association and direct the workshops for the Burning Word poetry festival, which in 2006 attracted some 400+ people). I think haiku poets could benefit from knowing the range of poetry possibilities available to them, and would do well not to be limited to haiku. [At this time I was also a board member of the Eastside Writers Association and the Redmond Association of Spokenword.]

6. Have you published haiku in magazines (hard copy or online)? If so, please list titles with approximate years.

This is far too long and complex for me to answer [see the Links page for a somewhat comprehensive answer]. Hundreds of journals and anthologies, in more than a dozen languages. My first published haiku (other than in school publications which I don’t count) appeared in Modern Haiku in 1988 (or was it early 1989?) [actually, it was autumn of 1988, in XIX:3, page 13]. I’ve been regularly published in all or most of the leading haiku journals since then.
        I suppose it’s worth mentioning that I was involved with Gary Warner, along with Charles Trumbull and others, in working on Dogwood Blossoms, the first ever online haiku journal. This was around 1991 or so. I first got an email account in 1989, on America Online, back when it had around 100,000 subscribers and I could get a screen name without a number attached to it. I remember meeting Steve Case, the founder of AOL (now a billionaire), at a private party AOL threw for subscribers at the Hard Rock Cafe in San Francisco around 1990 or 91. Boy, have times changed!

7. Have you published haiku in anthologies (hard copy or online)? If so, please list titles with approximate years.

Again, too complex to begin to answer. Most of the major ones, and lots of minor ones.

8. Have you published books of haiku (hard copy or e-book)? If so, please list titles and publishers (with their locations) with approximate years.

The following is pasted in from a list I maintain of books/anthologies that I’ve edited or been a featured poet in [for a more up-to-date list, see “Books”]:

  • Haiku. Riverside, California: n.p., 1987.
  • Yosemite (haiku). Riverside, California: n.p., 1988.
  • Egret (haiku). Foster City, California: Press Here, 1989.
  • John Thompson, ed. Two Autumns (one of four poets included; haiku). San Francisco: Two Autumns Press, 1990.
  • Tremors (a collection of earthquake haiku). Foster City, California: Press Here, 1990.
  • The Haijin’s Tweed Coat (a haiku sequence). Foster City, California: Press Here, 1990. [winner of a Merit Book Award from the HSA]
  • Harvest (editor, 1991 Haiku North America conference haiku anthology). Foster City, California: Press Here, 1991.
  • The Gulf Within (coeditor of anthology of Gulf War haiku). San Francisco: Two Autumns Press, 1991.
  • Fig Newtons: Senryu to Go (editor, and one of seven contributing poets—a collection of senryu). Foster City, California: Press Here, 1993. [winner of a Merit Book Award from the HSA]
  • The Shortest Distance (coeditor, 1993 Haiku North America conference haiku anthology). Foster City, California: Press Here, 1993.
  • Footsteps in the Fog (editor, and one of six contributing poets—a collection of tanka; the first-ever anthology of tanka written in English [I’ve since learned that it probably wasn’t the first]). Foster City, California: Press Here, 1994.
  • Thornewood Poems (haiku sequence). Foster City, California: Press Here, 1994.
  • A Haiku Path (coeditor of a book about the history of the first twenty years of the Haiku Society of America). New York: Haiku Society of America, 1994.
  • Hammerhorn Lake (collection of rengay written with Garry Gay and John Thompson). Foster City, California: Press Here, 1994.
  • Northern Lights (editor, 1995 Haiku North America conference haiku anthology). Foster City, California: Press Here, 1995.
  • Shades of Green (editor, 1997 Haiku North America conference haiku anthology). Foster City, California: Press Here, 1997.
  • Wedge of Light (coeditor of haibun anthology). Foster City, California: Press Here, 1997. [winner of a Merit Book Award from the HSA]
  • Too Busy for Spring (coeditor, 1999 Haiku North America conference haiku anthology). Foster City, California: Press Here, 1999.
  • Countdown (editor, 2000 Haiku Poets of Northern California members’ haiku anthology on the theme of the millennium and the New Year). San Francisco: Two Autumns Press, 2000.
  • Berries and Cream: Contemporary Haiga in North America (interview with Jeanne Emrich on haiga). Foster City, California: Press Here, 2000.
  • The Haijin’s Tweed Coat (haiku sequence; second, expanded edition). Foster City: Press Here, 2000.
  • Open Window (online haiku collection, with my photographs). Decatur, Illinois: Brooks Books, 2000.
  • Paperclips (coeditor, 2001 Haiku North America conference haiku anthology). Foster City, California: Press Here, 2001.
  • Paul O. Williams. (Michael Dylan Welch, coeditor.) The Nick of Time: Essays on Haiku Aesthetics. Foster City, California: Press Here, 2002
  • Castles in the Sand (editor, 2003 Tanka Society of America members’ anthology). Sammamish, Washington: Press Here, 2003.
  • Brocade of Leaves (editor, 2003 Haiku North America conference haiku anthology). Sammamish, Washington: Press Here, 2003.
  • Gingerly. Napanee, Ontario: pawEpress (pawEprint #64), 2003.
  • Tracing the Fern (editor, 2005 Haiku North America conference haiku anthology). Sammamish, Washington: Press Here, 2005.
Poems also included in numerous anthologies from W. W. Norton, Kodansha, Andrews-McMeel, MQP, Brooks Books, Mosaic, Iron Press, Red Moon Press, and numerous others. Approximately 3,000 to 4,000 individual poems published in hundreds of journals in a dozen languages (most recently Turkish).

9. Anything else you’d like to share, such as brief anecdotes of your involvement with other haiku people, and so on.

My reply here is already long past prolix, but I’ll say that haiku seems to attract addictive personalities [this is evidenced most prominently, perhaps, in Richard Wright’s obsession, writing 4,000 haiku in the last eighteen months of his life]. This may explain why there are an inordinate number of psychologists and therapists who write haiku. And it might also help explain the defensiveness that much of the haiku community has against the perceived marginalization of the haiku art. There are lots of characters and opinions throughout the haiku community, and it continues to amaze me how much can be said in and of so short a genre of poetry as haiku. I can’t help but join the dance, but hope that I continue to make my main emphasis the poetry itself, not all the talking about it.

Thanks for this opportunity to contribute to your project, Bill. I’d be interested in hearing more about your project in the fullness of time.

Michael