Fifty-Seven Damn Good Haiku
by a Bunch of Our Friends

Fifty-Seven Damn Good Haiku by a Bunch of Our Friends

Michael Dylan Welch and Alan Summers, editors

For Fifty-Seven Damn Good Haiku by a Bunch of Our Friends, edited by Michael Dylan Welch and Alan Summers, each editor selected six poets for inclusion in the book, and each of the twelve poets is represented by either four or five haiku. Not a single one is about parsnips. The poets, who live in Europe, Africa, North America, and Asia, are Susan Antolin, Timothy Collinson, Susan Constable, Karen Hoy, Keiko Izawa, Deborah P Kolodji, Dejah Léger, Tanya McDonald, Caleb Mutua, Helen Russell, David Serjeant, and Alison Williams. + +

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2010, saddle-stapled, 36 pages, 5½ x 8½ inches, ISBN 978-1-878798-31-2

  • “With their recent release of a haiku collection they edited, Michael Dylan Welch and Alan Summers have won, hands-down, the unannounced contest I have been holding in my mind for best haiku book title of the year: Fifty-Seven Damn Good Haiku by a Bunch of Our Friends. If you decide you don’t want a rock for Chrismukkwanzaa, this book (with bonus parsnips on the cover!) could be an excellent substitute.” —Melissa Allen, Red Dragonfly (22 November 2010)

  • Fifty-Seven Damn Good Haiku contains . . . haiku to roll about in the palm of the mind, looking for questions, wondering about answers, and contemplating that ultimate subject of subjects.” —Don Wentworth, Issa’s Untidy Hut (21 January 2011)


Susan Antolin — Walnut Creek, California

When not chauffeuring kids to water polo and basketball games, I serve as vice president of the Haiku Poets of Northern California, edit Ripples, and coedit Mariposa. I also update my blog as often as I can at My book Artichoke Season came out in 2009. Why have I never written poetry about parsnips? I haven’t yet reached the parsnip phase in my poetry. Still stuck on rutabagas.

Timothy Collinson — Portsmouth, England

I first encountered haiku in American grade school and rediscovered them whilst looking for something else as a librarian. I enjoy their brevity because I have a short attention span. They’ve also encouraged me to actually stop and look at nature rather than racing onwards. I’ve never written parsnip poems because I’ve been scarred for life by the “knife handles” served up at many childhood Christmas meals.

Susan Constable — Nanoose Bay, British Columbia

Since I began writing haiku in 2006, I’ve been published in more than thirty journals and books including Montage: The Book, A New Resonance 6, and several volumes of the Red Moon anthologies. I’ve also done haibun, tanka, and haiga— all of which present different challenges and rewards. I live with my husband on Canada’s west coast. Although I prefer fruits to veggies, I’m prepared to write about asparagus—even zucchini. But never parsnips! To immortalize them would be an insult to the leek, symbol of my Welsh heritage.

Karen Hoy — Bradford on Avon, England

I work as a development producer in factual TV, using up my poetry energy by writing internal pitch documents—with assonance, dissonance, and meter—that only a handful of people ever read. I’ve never written about parsnips because my computer keyboard just won’t let me.

Keiko Izawa — Yokohama, Japan

I’m a half-retired technical translator. My poetry has been published in Simply Haiku, Mainichi Daily News, Roadrunner, The Heron’s Nest, Birmingham Words, Bottle Rockets, Modern Haiku, the Red Moon Anthology, A New Resonance, and elsewhere. Here in Japan I’ve never even seen parsnips, let alone eaten them—much less written haiku about them.

Deborah P Kolodji — Temple City, California

I wrote my first haiku in Miss Shultz’s fourth grade class, but didn’t write my second one until the late 1990s when I discovered that haiku was the ideal type of poetry for a divorced mother of three, commuting 90 miles a day on Los Angeles freeways. Why have I never written any poems about parsnips? I’ve never snuck into Mr. McGregor’s garden, so how could I write about them?

Dejah Léger — Shoreline, Washington

I like to write haiku about music because I’m kind of a folkstar, and when I run out of ideas I just plagiarize my two young daughters. I’ve been writing haiku for nine years and my friends and family are tired of hearing about it. I do graphic art because haiku pays crap. I would never write about parsnips because they can’t decide if they’re a beet or a potato, and like hell if I’m going to make that decision for them. Stupid parsnips.

Tanya McDonald — Woodinville, Washington

Born and raised in Salem, Oregon, I now reside in the next state north with my husband, our British cat, and a plethora of books. I’m a fan of chickens and using cookies for bribery. When I’m not scribbling haiku in my ubiquitous notebooks, I’m working on my urban fantasy novel. Poor parsnips. Pale as vampires, not evil, but overlooked. It would help if they sparkled. I shall write “The Ballad of the Sparkly Parsnip!” No, first I’ve got to finish my novel. And plant tulip bulbs. And visit the spawning sockeye in the creek. Damn.

Caleb Mutua — Nairobi, Kenya

I started writing haiku in 2005. I am a member of Kenyasaijiki, chairman and patron of Cocks Haiku Club, and I teach haiku to secondary school students. I am currently a student at the University of Nairobi, studying journalism. I’m not sure if I would know a parsnip from a carrot—I’ve not spotted a single parsnip here in Kenya.

Helen Russell — Issaquah, Washington

I was born in Seattle way back in 1909 (yes, do the math), and graduated from the University of Washington in 1930, just in time to become unemployed during the Great Depression. I had two sons. I can’t even guess at the number of jobs I’ve had, but they included shuffling papers at Boeing for twenty years. I’ve enjoyed writing haiku since 1996. Haiku has introduced me to many fascinating people, for which I’m very grateful. I don’t write haiku about parsnips, though, because the mere mention of them might induce someone to cook them.

David Serjeant — Chesterfield, England

I live with my young family in Derbyshire, and I’m a member of the British Haiku Society. In my spare time I can be found in the welcome peace of my allotment where I plan to grow parsnips for poetic inspiration. Maybe.

Alison Williams — Southampton, England

I work as a business librarian in a university. Haiku discovered me in 1998 while I was searching the Internet for something completely different. I’ve been trying to write a good one ever since. One day, I might be inspired by a parsnip. But not yet.


Alan Summers — Bristol, England

I made many haiku friends in America and Australia before moving from Australia back to England in 1994. You can see what I do with parsnip-free haiku on my With Words website and on my Area 17 blog. But for now, I’m warming up the oven for some yummy parsnip fritters.

Michael Dylan Welch — Sammamish, Washington

I’ve been writing and publishing my haiku since 1976 about everything but parsnips. I’ve also collected a few thousand haiku books, and published a batch of my own. Along the way it’s been a pleasure to make many haiku friends around the world. My website, at, will tell you that I’m a longtime officer of the Haiku Society of America, but it has nary a parsnip anywhere.

the tablecloth

shaken over the lawn

starry night

Susan Antolin

a photographer waits

for a gap between tourists—

Ashness Bridge

Timothy Collinson

first star

a fishing boat anchored

to the night

Susan Constable

winter sleep-in—

a stomach rumble

from one of us

Karen Hoy

spring sunlight . . .

in the baby’s toy box

a long-lost key

Keiko Izawa

fall migration

the growing flock

of binoculars

Deborah P Kolodji

winter night—

the accordion player

pulls up her sleeve

Dejah Léger


we leave the mistletoe up

a little longer

Tanya McDonald

Soweto Market—

the rain-slicked feathers

of a red cock

Caleb Mutua

a cloud across the sun

and suddenly

I am old

Helen Russell

art gallery

a toddler stoops

to watch a spider

David Serjeant

spring dusk—

the neighbour’s vacuum cleaning

ends with a sigh

Alison Williams