someone clears a frog
from his throat
Haiku poets are universally attuned to nature, whether that nature is a glacial moraine, a piece of redwood bark, dolphins in the sun-sparkled ocean, or a humble window planter shadowed by clouds between skyscrapers. We notice the weather, the light, the temperature, the bird songs that ebb and flow with the seasons.
Our haiku are also about each other, and about ourselves. We are attuned to human nature, noticing and celebrating the subtleties of our passing emotions, imperfections, and interaction with nature. Knowing nature—and human nature—sustains us.
Interaction with fellow poets also nurtures those who write haiku. Every two years the Haiku North America conference attracts haiku poets to a new part of the continent. In 1997, the fourth Haiku North America conference brings us to Portland, Oregon to celebrate haiku poetry, criticism, and translation—with all their traditions, trends, and innovations.
Once again, conference attendees have been asked to submit a number of unpublished original haiku, from which one would be chosen for this anthology. It has been my pleasure to select the poems. This anthology also features three translated haiku, one of which, by keynote speaker Janine Beichman, was published in Masaoka Shiki (Twayne Publishers, 1982, page 50).
The poems in this collection reflect the wide-ranging affinities and experience of many poets from the United States, Canada, and Japan. Each poem represents a different shade of green in the rain-blessed garden of English-language haiku. As in the previous three Haiku North America conference anthologies, and in the Japanese tradition, I’ve arranged the poems alphabetically by the contributors’ first names.
This is a rich garden, and I’m pleased to welcome you to it. Don’t miss a single shade.
Michael Dylan Welch
My haiku from this anthology:
the ship’s chain