Featured Poet

The following biographical sketch first appeared in Haiku Headlines 17:9, December 2004, together with six of my favourite poems. Links to websites listed have been updated.

I’m originally from Watford, England, just north of London, and grew up there and in Ghana, Australia, and Canada. I have an MA in English, and have worked as a college English and ESL teacher, a technical writer, publications manager, and graphic designer. After many years in California as a senior editor for IDG Books Worldwide, publisher of the yellow “For Dummies” computer books, Microsoft lured me north to Redmond, Washington, to work as an editor for the Microsoft website.

I first encountered haiku in high school in 1976. For a decade the “haiku” I wrote had nothing in common with haiku except a supposedly appropriate syllable pattern, and were written without regard to the more important disciplines of juxtaposition, implication, objectivity, seasonal reference, and letting the reader see what I saw rather than be told what I thought or felt about it. Around 1980 I started reading books on Taoism and Zen and saw haiku in translation. I bought my first haiku book in 1987 at a Kinokuniya bookstore in the shadow of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and later bought Cor van den Heuvel’s Haiku Anthology. Cor’s book confronted me with my shallow understanding of haiku, since 85 percent of the poems were not 5-7-5. Something else was making them work as haiku. Thus I discovered that haiku is really a genre, of which form (of various types) is only one characteristic, and that it requires other techniques to succeed.

I joined the Haiku Poets of Northern California in 1989, served as editor for the haiku journal Woodnotes from 1989 to 1997, and then started my current journal for short poetry, Tundra. In 1989 I also started Press Here, which has published nearly 30 haiku and tanka books, most winning Merit Book Awards from the Haiku Society of America. I’m currently vice president of the HSA, and president of the Tanka Society of America, which I founded in 2000. I cofounded the biennial Haiku North America conference in 1991 and the American Haiku Archives in 1996. My haiku addiction continues, and I’ve published several thousand poems, mostly haiku and tanka, and now twenty of my own poems are included in the third edition of Cor’s The Haiku Anthology. I invite you to read my “Becoming a Haiku Poet” essay online at, see a selection of my haiku and photographs at “Open Window,” and to learn more about Tundra.

my window opens

     a hundred frogs

          sing to the moon

        —Modern Haiku, 1988

after the quake

    the weathervane

        pointing to earth

        —Tremors, Press Here, 1990

clicking off the late movie . . .

     the couch cushion


        —First Place, 1995 Brady Senryu Contest

meteor shower . . .

a gentle wave

wets our sandals

        —First Place, 2000 Henderson Haiku Contest       +

tulip festival—

the colours of all the cars

in the parking lot

        —Honorable Mention, 2000 Tokutomi Haiku Contest

warm winter evening—

the chairs askew

after the poetry reading

        —Honorable Mention, 2003 Mainichi Haiku Contest