Haiku Friends Commentary

In 2007 and 2009 I had haiku included in two Japanese anthologies, Haiku Friends, Volume 2 (Osaka, Japan: Umeda Printing Factory, 2007) and Haiku Friends, Volume 3 (Osaka, Japan: Umeda Print 819, 2009), edited by Masaharu Hirata (I missed out on Volume 1). After the eleven poems featured in each volume, also published were the following prose comments on haiku and haiku friendship.

Haiku Friends, Volume 2

It’s a privilege to write and share haiku. Not only can we feel what the poet felt through his or her poems, we can develop friendships through our poetry. This is one of the finest serendipities that haiku affords. I began writing haiku in 1976 and started publishing them around 1988. By sharing haiku publicly, I’ve met hundreds of warm and talented people. These poet friends demonstrate a close attention to detail, and an endless curiosity and capacity for wonder. Thank you to all my haiku friends for sharing these traits and their talents through their friendship and poetry.

Haiku Friends, Volume 3

In Empire of Sings, Roland Barthes wrote that “haiku has this rather fantasmagorical property: that we always suppose we ourselves can write such things easily.” That’s the paradox of haiku—it looks easy, yet it can also be devilishly difficult. It can be easy to write about a personal experience with clear and immediate imagery. It can be easy to include a seasonal word, and to have two juxtaposed parts that create energy in the gap left between them. Bashō said, to write haiku, get a three-foot child. Yet how difficult it still remains to write haiku well. I’m grateful for every haiku that comes to me—a holy gift, an intimate record of the entire universe.