From The Haiku Anthology

These twenty haiku appeared in
The Haiku Anthology, edited by Cor van den Heuvel (New York: W. W. Norton, 1999; hardback cover shown). All poems were published previously in various journals.
See also On the Art of Writing Haiku, which pairs each of these poems with a quotation on the art of writing.

 

 

landing swallow—
the ship’s chain

dips slightly                                                                                                                              +

 

 

spring breeze through the window . . .

     stains on an apron

     left at the counter

 

 

morning bird song—

my paddle slips

into its reflection                                                                                                                     +

 

 

mountain spring—

     in my cupped hand

          pine needles

 

 

beach parking lot—

where the car door opened

a small pile of sand

 

 

low summer sun—

the shadow of an earring

on your cheek

 

 

  after the quake

adding I love you

      to a letter

 

 

fresh snow on the mat—

the shape of welcome

still visible

 

 

after-dinner mints

passed around the table

. . . slow-falling snow

 

 

toll booth lit for Christmas—

from my hand to hers

warm change                                                                                                                            + + + +

 

 

spring breeze—

the pull of her hand

as we near the pet store

 

 

my face dripping . . .

the floppy-foot clown’s

plastic flower

 

 

after the quake

     the weathervane

          pointing to earth

 

 

first day of summer

a postman delivers mail

in a safari hat

 

 

grocery shopping—

pushing my cart faster

through feminine protection                                                                                                                                  +

 

 

reading in bed

     my pulse flickering

     the lightly held bookmark

 

 

first snow . . .

the children’s hangers

clatter in the closet

 

 

taking invisible tickets

at the foot of the basement stairs—

child’s magic show

 

 

paper route

     knocking a row of icicles

     from the eave

 

 

home for Christmas:

my childhood desk drawer

empty                                                                                                                                                                          +  +  +  +
 
 
 

Among the many new poets in this anthology, all with exceptional talents, there are a large number who show not just a promise of greatness to come but have already established a record of accomplishment that makes them substantial figures in the haiku world. Most prominent are Lee Gurga, Dee Evetts, Wally Swist, and Michael Dylan Welch.

        Welch intertwines memories of childhood with the present, giving his work an immediacy blended with nostalgia. His images are more urban and domestic . . . and he varies the form more so that his haiku create fresh shapes on the page. Welch is also very important to the haiku community as an editor. His Press Here has published many of the best haiku chapbooks to come out in recent years, and he edited the haiku magazine Woodnotes until deciding to discontinue it in order to start a new one, Tundra, due this year.

—Cor van den Heuvel, from his introduction to
The Haiku Anthology (Norton, 1999, third edition)