Introduction to Paperclips

First published in Paperclips, the 2001 Haiku North America conference anthology, which I edited with Carol Purington and Larry Kimmel, and which I published with my press, Press Here. The book’s title comes from the following poem by Cor van den Heuvel:


the rusted paperclip

has stained my old poem

wind in the eaves


Haiku from this volume by Carol, Larry, and me appear after the introduction. See the Press Here page for this book. You can also read selected poems from Paperclips.

A sheaf of haiku may be held together by a paperclip until the clip grows rusty and stains the paper. But age stains do not accumulate on words containing the images and energy of a well-lived moment, nor does age touch the poet who can consistently find words to illuminate the unseen or the overlooked.

        As with Cor van den Heuvel’s poems, the poems of the haiku community run little risk of growing rusty from neglect. Who hasn’t rejoiced at the art of haiku and at the unique vision we each bring to the small happenings of the present moment? Who isn’t encouraged and inspired by the lyricism and richness of English-language haiku, and by the community of poets celebrated at the 2001 Haiku North America conference in Boston? [held June 28 through July 1]

        This year the conference has a greater number of participants than ever before, welcoming poets from as far away as England, Guam, India, Japan, and Romania. Once again, as with previous Haiku North America anthologies, the poems are arranged by each poet’s first name. Though we come from different places around the continent and around the world, may we continue to remain on a first-name basis. And may we continue to celebrate the common energy of well-lived haiku moments.

        A conference comes and sparkles and fades. An anthology such as this preserves not just haiku but also something of the spirit of the conference it represents. The poets included in this volume have come together in Boston on a late-June weekend to listen and learn, to teach and enjoy. Their knowledge and skill can be glimpsed on these pages, where their haiku will remain unstained by time, offering shining insights to all who encounter them.


Michael Dylan Welch

Carol Purington

Larry Kimmel



Haiku by the editors from this anthology:


sidewalk sale—

a corner bent over

in the used paperback

        Michael Dylan Welch


Good Friday service

A branch of pussywillows

throws spiky shadows

        Carol Purington


away from the party din

Jupiter’s bold shine

among black boughs

        Larry Kimmel