The Shortest Distance

Ebba Story and Michael Dylan Welch, editors. Cover photograph by Garry Gay. Press Here, Foster City, California, 1993, 20 pages, 51 poets (one poem each), ISBN 1-878798-11-1.


This book was the conference anthology for the second Haiku North America conference, in 1993, which again took place at Las Positas College in Livermore, California (near San Francisco). Here’s a quote from the introduction: “We are normally separated by spatial and temporal distance. As we gather to share and celebrate our involvement with haiku, that distance dissolves. We are drawn together over the shortest distance—shorter even than the written forms we cherish. We meet in the moment where hearts and minds open and rejoice. There is no distance here.” The following are a dozen sample poems from the book.




outside the hospital

nurses take a drag


                Barry Goodmann

                Hackensack, New Jersey



half-closed eyes . . .

one lash draws a beam

           from the candle


                Christopher Herold

                Woodside, California



lonely night

the faces painted on the window

of a toy bus


                Cor van den Heuvel

                New York, New York



Antique map;

an ant travels

the old spice route


                Garry Gay

                Windsor, California



my face deep

in white lilac

I hear no bees


                Geraldine C. Little

                Mt. Holly, New Jersey



frost-sharp stars

prick the purple darkness

—pond ice snaps


                Hank Dunlap

                Prescott, Arizona



         a stand of iris

the sudden turn of the koi

      raises the bottom


                Jerry Ball

                Livermore, California



sunset shadows

the curve of the swan’s neck

as she settles


                Jean Jorgensen

                Edmonton, Alberta



low summer sun—

the shadow of an earring

on your cheek


                Michael Dylan Welch

                Foster City, California



my son’s toes

dipped in the sea—

his grip tightens


                Tom Lynch

                Martinez, California



the fence post

hangs upright in the washout—

mid-summer heat


                William J. Higginson

                Santa Fe, New Mexico



rock garden—

a fallen camellia floats

in the sea of gravel


                Yoko Ogino

                Kobe, Japan