Michael Dylan Welch is passionate about poetry, especially haiku, which he has been writing since 1976 and teaching since about 1990, including being an adjunct poetry professor for the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts MFA program in writing. He has won first place in numerous poetry contests, and has had his haiku, senryu, tanka, and longer poetry published in at least twenty-two languages in hundreds of journals and anthologies, including three Norton anthologies and publications such as Acorn, Alsop Review, Amelia, Atlantic Monthly, Bacopa Literary Review, Cascade, City Arts, Clover: A Literary Rag, Fan, Frogpond, The Heron’s Nest, HQ, Hummingbird, Kyoto Journal, Line Zero, Mainichi Daily News, Matrix, Mayfly, Modern Haiku, Mosaic, Persimmon, Poetry Kanto, Poetry Nippon, Poet’s Market, Pointed Circle, Portlandia Review of Books, Rattle, Raven Chronicles, Right Hand Pointing, Rivet, Sand Hill Review, Seattle Weekly, StringTown, The View from Here, The Writer’s Chronicle, and Writer’s Digest. His poetry, translations, and interviews have also been broadcast on Blog Talk Radio, CBC, CFRO, NHK World Radio, Radio Japan, KGO, KJZZ, KKUP, KPRG, KPTZ, KRBC, KSER, KTAH, KUSP, WBEZ Chicago, WC-TV (Tennessee), WFDD, WUGA, and other radio stations, many of which are NPR affiliates.
Michael edited the quarterly haiku journal Woodnotes from 1989 to 1997, and later edited Tundra: The Journal of the Short Poem. He currently edits First Frost. Michael is a contributing editor to Spring: The Journal of the E. E. Cummings Society, and is a founding associate of The Haiku Foundation. In 2003 and 2004, he was a volunteer editor for the Poets Against the War site, and in 2004 he founded and directed the Poets in the Park conference, which he directed again in 2005, and from 2014 to the present. He is also editor and publisher of Press Here, which has published many award-winning haiku and tanka books since 1989. In 1991 he cofounded the Haiku North America conference, now a nonprofit corporation of which he is a director. In 1993 Michael won third place in the National Haiku Slam during the National Poetry Slam in San Francisco. In 1996 he cofounded the American Haiku Archives at the California State Library in Sacramento, the world’s largest public haiku archive outside Japan, and currently co-chairs its advisory board and serves as web manager for its website. In 2000, he founded the Tanka Society of America, serving as its president for five years, has been web manager since 2013, and returned as president again in 2018. Michael served for many years as first vice president of the Haiku Society of America, and is past coordinator and current web manager of the Haiku Northwest group. For a decade he was a board member of the Washington Poets Association (for which he had been editor of Cascade) and was vice president of the Eastside Writers Association and a board member of Eastside Writes. Michael is currently president of the Redmond Association of Spokenword, for which he serves as reading series curator, and for which, in 2013, he edited and published the group’s first poetry anthology, Here, There, and Everywhere. He was also the 2018–19 poet in residence for VALA Arts in Kirkland, Washington, where he organized regular ekphrastic writing workshops and poetry readings, and for 2020–21 he was scheduled to be the writer in residence at the Kirkland Library until the pandemic said otherwise. In 2006 he was editor of the Haiku Journey computer game. He also runs the monthly SoulFood Poetry Night in Redmond, Washington (since 2006), and coedited, from January 2008 to March 2010, with Emiko Miyashita, a monthly haiku column in Asahi Weekly, a Japanese newspaper. In 2008, he cofounded the annual Seabeck Haiku Getaway, which he continues to direct. In 2010, he was selected as a fellow for Seattle’s Jack Straw Writers Program. In 2010, Michael created NaHaiWriMo, or National Haiku Writing Month, which was first held in February of 2011 (the shortest month for the shortest genre of poetry)—NaHaiWriMo also has a very active Facebook page. In March of 2012, the United States Postal Service printed 150,000,000 cherry blossom stamps featuring one of his waka (tanka) translations on the back. In October of 2013, he began service as the poet laureate of the City of Redmond, Washington, serving for two terms, and in November of 2013 he was keynote speaker in Tokyo, Japan for the annual convention of the Haiku International Association. In 2021 and 2022 he served for two months as guest selector for the “Haiku in English” column published by the Mainichi, Japan’s oldest newspaper. Michael’s haiku have also been chiseled in stone, printed on balloons, and read for the Empress of Japan in Tokyo and at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Michael’s books include Dance into the World (Tanka Society of America, 2020), Sitting in the Sun (Press Here, 2019), Jumble Box: Haiku and Senryu from National Haiku Writing Month and Earthsigns (both Press Here, 2017), Seven Suns / Seven Moons, in collaboration with Tanya McDonald (NeoPoiesis Press, 2016), Off the Beaten Track: A Year in Haiku (Boatwhistle Books, 2016), Becoming a Haiku Poet and Fire in the Treetops: Celebrating Twenty-Five Years of Haiku North America (both Press Here, 2015), True Colour (City of Redmond, 2014), Here, There, and Everywhere (Redmond Association of Spokenword, 2013), Close to the Wind (Press Here, 2013), With Cherries on Top (Press Here, 2012), Furoshiki (Tokyo: PIE Books, 2011), Standing Still (Press Here, 2011), Tidepools: Haiku On Gabriola (Gabriola, British Columbia: Pacific-Rim Publishers, 2011), Bonsai (Tokyo: PIE Books, 2011), Fifty-Seven Damn Good Haiku by a Bunch of Our Friends (Press Here, 2010), Noh (Tokyo: PIE Books, 2010), For a Moment (Pointe Claire, Quebec: King’s Road Press, 2009) and 100 Poets: Passions of the Imperial Court (Tokyo: PIE Books, 2008), plus earlier books. The latter book, a 400-page art book with photographs, is a cotranslation with Emiko Miyashita of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, a 13th-century collection of Japanese waka poems compiled by Fujiwara no Teika. Their translation on the back of a United States postage stamp came from this book.
Michael has an MA in English, works as a technical writer, editor, publications manager, and event manager, and has also edited more than 200 trade books on subjects as diverse as jazz, soldering, herbal medicine, memoir, graphic design, plywood manufacturing, children’s literature, adult and young adult fiction, CAD design, computer animation, business management, computer games, network security, and digital photography. Examples of recent trade books he’s edited are The Bulldoggers Club: The Tale of the Tainted Buffalo Wallow by Barbara Hay; Travel Unscripted by Mark Murphy (which used to have interactive online video components); Flip the Pyramid by Greg Slamowitz; Fight for Your Long Day, a novel by Alex Kudera (also available as an audiobook from Iambik); Frontline Profit Machine by Ziad Y. Khoury, a 2009 #1 bestseller for both USA Today and Amazon business books, and #7 bestseller for Business Week; and two memoirs by Charles Lovett, Love Ruth: A Son’s Memoir and Sparrow Through the Hall. In 2018 and 2021, he edited all in-game text and character dialog for Forza Horizon 4 and Forza Horizon 5, Microsoft’s Turn 10 Studio open-world car racing game for Xbox (see this IMDb page and this IMDb page). In 2021 he also helped to overhaul Knowledge Base articles for the Minecraft computer game. Michael was born in Watford, England (he’s a British citizen), and grew up in England, Ghana, Australia, and Canada (he added Canadian citizenship as a teenager and U.S. citizenship in 2022), travels frequently to Japan (his wife is Japanese), and now lives with his wife and two ruly children in Sammamish, Washington. His other interests include travel, photography, books and reading, guitar solos, downhill skiing, and racquetball. + + + + +
See shorter bios (for publicity purposes). See selected biographical information and haiku in Spanish.
See the Contact Me page if you have any comments to share about Graceguts or my publications. I’m eager to hear from you!
Find me on Facebook (Michael Dylan Welch, NaHaiWriMo, Graceguts, Rengay, Haiku Northwest, American Haiku Archives, Seabeck Haiku Getaway, Haiku Society of America, and Tanka Society of America—all pages I run) and on Twitter (Captain Haiku and NaHaiWriMo).
See also 25 Random Things About Me, 50 Questions, What’s In a Name, Featured Poet, and the Interviews page. See selections of my photographs, many of haiku-related events. I have also been known for years as Captain Haiku. Please also see my Amazon author page. +
The photo at the top of this page shows Michael Dylan Welch reading on the main stage at the Burning Word poetry festival in April of 2005 at Greenbank Farm, Whidbey Island, Washington. + +