Spring 1989

Woodnotes began in the spring of 1989 as the first periodic publication of the newly formed Haiku Poets of Northern California, a group that has met in the San Francisco area since then, soon becoming one of the most prominent and influential regional groups in the history of North American haiku. The journals name, proposed by vincent tripi, was inspired by Ralph Waldo Emersons poem, “Wood Notes.” The first issue of Woodnotes was more of a newsletter than a poetry journal, sporting 12 pages of news, announcements, and other information, one haibun, six memorial or dedication poems, and two book reviews. This issue did not include any submitted poems, but that would start (slowly) with issue #2. vincent tripi and Paul O. Williams served as editors, and Jane Reichhold typed the issue, in the early days of desktop publishing. On the cover, Mary Fields provided calligraphy of the word “Woodnotes” with a swash of ink in sumi-e style. This graphic representation of the title would remain as the cover logo through issue #10. The issue began with a report by Garry Gay on the history of haiku gatherings in the San Francisco area that led to the formation of the Haiku Poets of Northern California, followed by eight lines of poetry from Emerson’s “Wood Notes,” and a list of thirty poets who were identified as the organization’s charter members. Officers were listed as Garry Gay, president; Carolyn Talmadge, vice president; Paul O. Williams, secretary; vincent tripi, treasurer; and vincent tripi and Paul O. Williams, newsletter coeditors. All subsequent issues would list current HPNC officers. The front cover was the same thickness of paper as the interior text, but issue #2 would feature thicker cover stock. While relatively humble, this 12-page issue would be a harbinger of a great deal to come. As Garry Gay said in concluding his opening message, “Here’s to our future.” You can view the entire first issue on the HPNC website.

Selected Poem


a hearse passes

the lily pond

             Jerry Kilbride

             (in memory of Nick Virgilio)


5.5 by 8.5 inches (all 31 issues were this size)

Pages 12 (including paper cover)

Haiku/Senryu 5

Haibun 1

Translations 1

Longer Poems 1 (excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson)


Handshake by Werner Reichhold

Free of Clouds by Francine Porad

Charter Member of the Haiku Poets of Northern California

Tom Arima

Jerry Ball

Jim Boyd

Kathleen Burgy

Catalina Cariaga

James Chessing

Beverly Clark

Carole Colucci

Davina Kosh

Margaret Molarsky

Jim Normington

Jane Reichhold

Mary Rudge

Ken Shockey

Raymond J. Stovich

Ana Takseena

Mary Fields

Adele Foley

Jack Foley

Garry Gay

Ruth Holler

Robert N. Johnson

Jerry Kilbride

Carolyn Talmadge

John Thompson

Tom Tico

vincent tripi

Lequita Vance

Paul O. Williams

Gerry Wilson 

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