The Haijin’s Tweed Coat
The Haijin’s Tweed Coat
Michael Dylan Welch
An engaging sequence of haiku celebrating various English-language haiku journals by incorporating their names into the lines of each poem.
the haijin’s tweed coat
sprinkled with pine needles
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2000 (second, expanded edition), saddle-stapled, 12 pages, 5½ x 8½ inches, ISBN 978-1-878798-02-2
The sequence that makes up this book was first published in a shorter form in Modern Haiku 21:3, Autumn 1990, and then in chapbook form in 1990 and in a second, expanded edition in 2000. Most of these verses also appeared in Raw Nervz 5:2, Summer 1998, and Raw Nervz 5:3, Autumn 1998.
Winner of a 1991 Merit Book Award honourable mention (for books published in 1990) from the Haiku Society of America (for the first edition).
“Almost an overnight haiku classic, Michael Dylan Welch’s sequence depicting a haijin in which the titles of haiku magazines are named is clever without any hint of contrivance. This sequence should serve as a kind of mini trivial pursuit for haiku poets to see if they can find all the haiku magazines that are included. Welch has gifted us with a sense of fun here, and it is no small task to accomplish this while creating a haiku sequence that possesses a resonance.” —Wally Swist, Modern Haiku
“The Haijin’s Tweed Coat is very fine . . . with its unique combination of high-quality haiku and clever references to names of haiku magazines.” —Robert Spiess
“Michael captures the enthusiasm and the clarity of a true haijin, who is always noticing the small things in nature. This sequence, for me, rings as clear as the sound of a frog jumping into a pond on a crisp day. It’s the best nature sequence I’ve read in years.” —Alexis Rotella
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The following brief review was first published in Frogpond 14:1, Spring 1991, page 41.
The Haijin’s Tweed Coat has been justly praised for its cleverness in mentioning the names of haiku magazines in haiku that does not seem contrived. This is an interesting feat. More interesting to this reviewer is the assumed persona of an old monk “perhaps in Kyoto” recording his day. While a feature of haiku is usually the immediate experiencing of observed moments, these haiku work well. Surely the writer has observed such moments in his native California and transferred them to Kyoto! There is a universality about them. For instance, “temple bell / the haijin’s tweed coat / sprinkled with pine needles” could be seen almost anywhere in the world. The temple bell resonates in the hominess of tweed, the deceptive simplicity of pine needles. One really does feel the aura of a sly old monk!
—Geraldine C. Little
The first edition of this little book was published in 1990, with just eight poems, and this original edition won a Merit Book Award from the Haiku Society of America.