From The Haiku Anthology

These twenty haiku appeared in The Haiku Anthology, edited by Cor van den Heuvel (New York: W. W. Norton, 1999; hardback cover shown). All poems were published previously in various journals. See also On the Art of Writing Haiku, which pairs each of these poems with a quotation on the art of writing.

landing swallow—

the ship’s chain

dips slightly +

spring breeze through the window . . .

stains on an apron

left at the counter

morning bird song—

my paddle slips

into its reflection + +

mountain spring—

in my cupped hand

pine needles

beach parking lot—

where the car door opened

a small pile of sand

low summer sun—

the shadow of an earring

on your cheek

after the quake

adding I love you

to a letter

fresh snow on the mat—

the shape of welcome

still visible

after-dinner mints

passed around the table

. . . slow-falling snow

toll booth lit for Christmas—

from my hand to hers

warm change + + + +

spring breeze—

the pull of her hand

as we near the pet store

my face dripping . . .

the floppy-foot clown’s

plastic flower

after the quake

the weathervane

pointing to earth

first day of summer

a postman delivers mail

in a safari hat

grocery shopping—

pushing my cart faster

through feminine protection +

reading in bed

my pulse flickering

the lightly held bookmark

first snow . . .

the children’s hangers

clatter in the closet

taking invisible tickets

at the foot of the basement stairs—

child’s magic show

paper route

knocking a row of icicles

from the eave

home for Christmas:

my childhood desk drawer

empty + + + +

Among the many new poets in this anthology, all with exceptional talents, there are a large number who show not just a promise of greatness to come but have already established a record of accomplishment that makes them substantial figures in the haiku world. Most prominent are Lee Gurga, Dee Evetts, Wally Swist, and Michael Dylan Welch.

Welch intertwines memories of childhood with the present, giving his work an immediacy blended with nostalgia. His images are more urban and domestic . . . and he varies the form more so that his haiku create fresh shapes on the page. Welch is also very important to the haiku community as an editor. His Press Here has published many of the best haiku chapbooks to come out in recent years, and he edited the haiku magazine Woodnotes until deciding to discontinue it in order to start a new one, Tundra, due this year.

—Cor van den Heuvel, from his introduction to The Haiku Anthology (Norton, 1999, third edition)