Featured Pages

Each month from October 2009 through December 2012, the Graceguts home page featured three or more existing or recently added pages to help make them more discoverable. Featured pages included essays, longer poems, shorter poems, or something else. The following are past featured pages by month, with the most recent features listed first. I have discontinued this listing as of January 2013 in favour of a list of recent blog posts, which mostly feature recent additions. See the home page for recent postings.

December 2012

November 2012

  • Fukushima Earthquake Translations. Check out these translations, on the Translations page, of haiku by Nagase Tōgo that I did with Emiko Miyashita. These moving poems are about the March 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and nuclear disaster, and won the 2011 Kadokawa Award, perhaps Japan’s most prestigious annual haiku prize.
  • Recommended Haiku Books. For anyone new to haiku, I’d recommend the books listed here, in the categories of biographies, translations, anthologies, and other books. I could add more too.
  • Digressions. Several new items here, focusing on the Haiku Invitational contest (showing all the beautiful haiku bus placards), Travel (countries I’ve visited), Racquetball (one of my main sports, along with skiing), and A Haiku Path (about the 1994 book I edited on the history of the Haiku Society of America’s first twenty years).
  • Poems by Others. New to the “Selected Poems About Haiku” section of this page are three wonderful poems: “It Is Not Much” by Frank Ankenbrand, Jr., “To the Poet” by Marianne Monaco, and “Brevity” by Judith Wright.
  • Stories. I don’t write many stories, but I have a few here, including a brand-new shorty that uses exactly 100 one-syllable words without repeating any of the words (which is harder to compose than you might think).
  • Quotations. I love quotations about poetry, especially ones that apply to haiku—see them here. Also new to this page is a favourite Zen story, this one about “Objectivity and Subjectivity.”

October 2012

  • Poems by Others. Two new poems here are “Candidate for a Pullet Surprise” by Mark Eckman and Jerrold H. Zar, which playfully presents words that are all spelled correctly but mostly used incorrectly, and, in a similarly satirical vein, “The English Lesson” by Anonymous.
  • Books. This year has been a quieter one for me in the book-release department, but I hope that will change before the year ends. In the meantime, to see past books I’ve published, including chapbooks, anthologies, and books of translation, this is the place to look.
  • An Introduction to Tan-Renga. The shortest possible permutation of the linked-verse form known as renga (or renku) is the tan-renga, which has just two verses—with one person writing a starting verse and another writing a response verse. Learn more about tan-renga here, and read examples on the Collaborations page.
  • Poems from The Haiku Anthology. In 1999 I was honoured to have twenty haiku and senryu featured in the third edition of Cor van den Heuvel’s The Haiku Anthology. You can read them here, and also read them interspersed with quotations in On the Art of Writing Haiku.
  • Thunderbird. Here on the Poems page is my paean to independent bookstores. The particular independent bookstore I write about, like so many others, is no longer in business, but here’s to those that still are.

September 2012

  • Links. Just in case you want to see other sites I’m involved with, plus links to lots of the journals I’ve been published in, this is where to look.
  • Haiku as History: The Ultimate Short Story. Read this essay from my Essays page to delve deeper into the reality of haiku as a record of past moments, despite its popular perception as a record of the present moment. So to speak.
  • After the Argument. This has always been one of my favourite short poems (other than haiku). It’s on my Poems page.
  • Pop Fly. In honour of baseball season, and the upcoming playoffs, here’s a dozen of my baseball haiku from my Haiku and Senryu page.
  • Why Graceguts? In case you’d wondered how this site got its name, here’s the answer.

August 2012

July 2012

  • Drevniok Award Winners. Here are my winning poems from several years of entering Haiku Canada’s annual Drevniok haiku contest. These poems all appeared in Playing a Lullaby: The Betty Drevniok Awards 1998–2011, published by Haiku Canada in 2012. Also check out my selections and comments as the judge for the 2007 contest.
  • “Whose Kid Is That?” This excerpt from the writings of Beat poet Lew Welch identifies a sort of immediacy and urgency in one’s writing that seems akin to haiku. See the Quotations page.
  • Gulf War Haiku. More than twenty years ago I coedited The Gulf Within, a collection of Gulf War haiku and senryu. The process of editing this book’s poems, which represented so many vicarious experiences, enlarged my thinking about what constitutes “personal” experience. My selections from the book appear on the Haiku and Senryu page.
  • Katikati Haiku Pathway. In 2000, I had a haiku of mine chiseled in stone at the Katikati Haiku Pathway in Katikati, New Zealand, a place I must surely visit one day. I’ve added a brief description of my haiku stone and the haiku pathway on the Digressions page.
  • The Urban Myth of 5-7-5. The essay of sorts is really correspondence regarding the nature of haiku with two participants in the annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival haiku contest. They questioned why the poems weren’t 5-7-5 syllables. Why do so many people embrace this urban myth for haiku in English?

June 2012

  • 20th Anniversary Rengay Anthology. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the rengay form of linked poetry, I’m pleased to announce that my press, Press Here, will publish an anthology of rengay. The submission period runs from August 1 to September 30, 2012.
  • Romanian Translations. Two new selections of my poems translated into Romanian are now available. Read my work from Travelers on Haiku Meridians (five haiku) and Senryu Therapy (ten senryu), two anthologies recently published in Romania.
  • The Classic Tradition of Haiku. Read this book review, newly added to the Reviews page, of an important Dover edition of haiku translations and explications by Faubion Bowers.
  • Poems by Others. New to this page is “Great and Small” by Milan Djordjevic, translated by Charles Simic, a wonderful new poem about haiku.
  • Cherry Blossom Stamp. I’ve added several new photos to the page featuring the United States postal stamp that has my waka (tanka) cotranslation with Emiko Miyashita on the back—one of the best-selling U.S. stamps in decades.
  • National Haiku Writing Month. This event, also known as NaHaiWriMo, takes place in February every year, but is also a Facebook page that is active year-round, with daily writing prompts. Please join in!

May 2012

  • Rengay. 2012 is the 20th anniversary for the collaborative form of thematic linked poetry known as rengay, invented by Garry Gay in 1992. I wrote the very first rengay with Garry, and you can read it on this page, along with numerous essays on rengay, a rengay worksheet, and dozens of rengay by one, two, three, and six participants.
  • Subjective Touches. This brief essay on subjectively tinged haiku by John Stevenson is extracted from a longer interview that first appeared in Notes from the Gean. Learn how touches of subjectivity can work in a genre of poetry known mostly for objectivity.
  • Mirrors. This is an old poem of mine, around thirty years old, on the Poems page. To read it, you may have to print it out and hold it up to a mirror!
  • Trifolds. Want to download or view a PDF file featuring a selection of my haiku, senryu, tanka, or other poetry? Check out my Trifolds page. And if you download anything, please let me know!
  • Archipelago. This review of Archipelago by Arthur Sze appeared in Portlandia Review of Books in 1996. A new postscript analyzes a set of renga verses that I did not mention in the original review.
  • Urban Haiku. These poems continue to get a lot of hits, because I think many people have been searching for the phrase itself. Enjoy!

April 2012

  • Cherry Blossom Stamp. I’m repeating this highlight from last month! On 24 March 2012, the United States Postal Service released a
    Cherry Blossom Stamp
    postage stamp with a waka (tanka) translation by me and Emiko Miyashita, from our 2008 translation of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (Tokyo: PIE Books). The stamp celebrates the 100th anniversary of cherry trees in Washington, D.C., and was printed in an edition of 100,000,000 copies! And the postal service is already doing a second printing of another 50,000,000 more!
  • Keeping Up Appearances. Check out some of the new readings, workshops, and other appearances I’ve recently added to my schedule for 2012.
  • New Essays. Recently published in Notes from the Gean are the following three short appreciations of haiku: “Heat Wave” talks about a poem by Carole MacRury, “Misreading Haiku” explores a poem by Roberta Beary, and “Issa’s Joy” presents what is probably my all-time favourite haiku from any of the Japanese masters. Another addition to the Essays page is “Linking and Leaping: A Haiga Primer,” about one of this art’s basic tenets.
  • Poems by Others. Newly added is an excerpt of George Amabile’s “Ars Poetica.” These lines are Amabile’s answer to Robert Frost, who said that writing poetry without rhyme was like playing tennis with the net down. Also added is Anselm Hollo’s “5 & 7 & 5” sequence, which asserts itself as haiku, but is it really?
  • Workshops. This brand new major section of Graceguts outlines many of the various workshops and presentations I give at schools, libraries, conferences, and retreats. Most offerings are haiku workshops, but you’ll also find other poetry workshops, plus presentations on computer software, photography, and more, including slide shows and panel discussion topics—and, of course, poetry readings.

March 2012

  • Cherry Blossom Stamp. On 24 March 2012, the United States Postal Service released a
    Cherry Blossom Stamp
    postage stamp with a waka (tanka) translation by me and Emiko Miyashita, from our 2008 translation of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (Tokyo: PIE Books). The stamp celebrates the 100th anniversary of cherry trees in Washington, D.C.
  • “Fresh Seeing on the International Appalachian Trail.” My foreword for Ian Marshall’s Border Crossings: Walking the Haiku Path on the International Appalachian Trail was published on 24 February 2012 by Hiraeth Press, and now appears on the Essays page.
  • Additional Essays. Check out “The Identity of Haiku,” a short essay focusing on the varieties of haiku, “Defining Haiku by Iterations,” and an appreciation of David Lloyd’s “Nine Joys,” all recently added to the Essays page.
  • Poems. My recently published ekphrastic poem, “Bedroom in Arles,” inspired by Vincent Van Gogh, is now on the Poems page. And “If the moon came out only once a month,” an inspiring poem by Cathy Ross, is newly posted to the Poems by Others page.
  • Editing. This brand new section features a few dozen of the hundreds of trade books I’ve edited for various publishers over the years, sortable by author, title, publisher, and other categories.
  • National Haiku Writing Month. For the month of February I administered National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) on Facebook, which included the more-than-daily posting of comics I created for the occasion. You can now see an album of these comics, “The Simpsons Do NaHaiWriMo,” on my Digressions page. In addition, “Traces of Snow,” my latest haiku flyer, is now on the Trifolds section, highlighting poems I wrote for NaHaiWriMo n February of 2011.

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011 (What’s New)

October 2011 (What’s New)

September 2011

  • Poems by Others. Heres a brand-new addition to this site, an extensive selection of favourite longer poems by other writers that I enjoy sharing at the poetry readings I give or emcee. The list also includes a selection of poems about haiku. Ah, to have written any of these!
  • Welcome to Seattle. From August 3 to 7, 2011, I directed the Haiku North America conference at Seattle Center (we had our banquet up the Space Needle). This is my introductory welcome from the conference program.
  • On Standing Still and Standing Still poems. For the Haiku North America conference, my press published Standing Still, an anthology of poems by conference attendees. Here you can read my introduction to the book, coedited with Ruth Yarrow, and also read selected poems.
  • Introduction to Footsteps in the Fog. In 1994 my press published what I believe to be the first anthology of English-language tanka, featuring seven San Francisco-area poets. Heres my introduction to the book.
  • Obscure Musical Passions. In the spring of 2011, on Facebook, I posted descriptions of twenty-eight of my “obscure musical passions.” Perhaps you know some of these, or might discover a new favourite musical passion here? Dont get me going about guitar solos!

August 2011

  • Eunoia: Beautiful Thinking on Gabriola. My introduction to Tidepools: Haiku On Gabriola, just published by Pacific-Rim Publishers in British Columbia.
  • Leading the Ferry. A kasen renku, written with Alice Frampton, from Tidepools.
  • Notes on Forms. Concise definitions of haiku, senryu, haibun, haiga, rengay, renku, and tanka, from Tidepools.
  • Bonus Links: Three rengay, written with Alice Frampton, Tanya McDonald, Russell McDonald, Marilyn Powell, and Richard R. Powell: Sitting, Branches, and Spiralling Down, all published in Tidepools.

July 2011

June 2011

  • Hats Off to Hatku: Forty Tan-Renga. Take a look at these forty tan-renga I wrote in response to other poets participating in a July 2009 Pacific Northwest haiku meeting—on the subject of hats.
  • How to Write a Haiku. Every haiku poet should know, and maybe even memorize, this transcendent poem about haiku by Naomi Beth Wakan.
  • Galactiku. This is my brief introduction to Seeing Stars, an anthology of haiku on the theme of celestial objects that recently won the “Best Anthology” award in the Haiku Society of America’s Kanterman Book Awards. The poems were written at the 2009 Seabeck Haiku Getaway.
  • Bonus Poems: Here are two of my recently published longer poems: “Jims Jelly” from Cascade #2 and “Depression” from the premier issue of Eye to the Telescope, an online journal of speculative poetry.

May 2011

April 2011

  • The Tiny Room: The Jottings of E. E. Cummings. An essay on a set of aphorisms published by E. E. Cummings in 1951. My essay appeared in the October 2010 issue of Spring: The Journal of the E. E. Cummings Society, for which I’m a contributing editor.

  • Trains to Moscow. This essay compares Lewis Carroll’s Russian Journal and E. E. Cummings’ Eimi, also about a visit to Russia. It was first published in Spring: The Journal of the E. E. Cummings Society in 1999, but I’ve only just now added it to this website.

  • Birds on a Wire. This is my review of a book of renga for children written by J. Patrick Lewis and Paul B. Janeczko. The review appeared in the premier issue of The Journal of Renga and Renku in December of 2010.

March 2011

  • Seasoning. These 13 haiku and senryu recently appeared in Many Trails to the Summit, an anthology from Rose Alley Press featuring a variety of Pacific Northwest poets.

  • Northwest Plants and Flowers. This selection of 23 haiku about Pacific Northwest flora and other growing things recently appeared in Poetry Nippon in Japan.

  • Judge's Comments on the 2010 VCBF Haiku Invitational. It was my privilege and honour to judge the fifth annual Haiku Invitational for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival in British Columbia. Read these comments about the top-five winning haiku that are currently being featured in the 2011 festival, including on the following bus placard appearing this spring in hundreds of Vancouver city buses and SkyTrains (click to enlarge).

February 2011

  • Welcome: Nature Here Is Half Japanese. This is my introduction to Winona Baker’s new book of haiku and senryu, Nature Here Is Half Japanese. Winona is a Pacific Northwest haiku treasure, and the poems in her latest book help to demonstrate why.

  • Alive and Urgent: Your Hands Discover Me. This is my introduction (in English and French) to Claudia Coutu Radmore’s book of erotic tanka, Your Hands Discover Me. I first wrote this as a review of a previous edition of this book, and she asked to include it when the book was recently republished with a new title and French translations. Take a look—if you dare!

  • Further Reading. Here are links to essays about haiku that I didn’t write, but that I consider essential reading for anyone interested in haiku, especially beginners. I also include a new postscript to the Keiko Imaoka essay, which I first published in Woodnotes.

January 2011

  • Too Hot to Handle. Read this rengay, written with Christopher Patchel, recently published in Haijinx. To learn more about the rengay form, visit my Rengay page.

  • Arthur Sze’s Archipelago. I wrote this review of Arthur Sze’s book in 1996 for the Portlandia Review of Books. I’ve added a new postscript that discusses a ten-verse solo renku included in the book.

  • When Butterflies Come. In 1993, at my encouragement, the Haiku Society of America started its annual members’ anthologies with When Butterflies Come. I wrote the book’s introduction, presented here, and also did the layout, design, and book production.

December 2010

  • Press Here. Visit this new page that lists most books I’ve published with my press, including a brand-new anthology, titled Fifty-Seven Damn Good Haiku by a Bunch of Our Friends.

  • Open Window. This site, hosted by Randy Brooks, is a collection of my haiku and predigital photographs, published in 2000. Take a look!

  • A Look to the Future of Haiku in English. This essay first appeared as an afterword in the 1994 retrospective book A Haiku Path: The Haiku Society of America 1968–1988. I’ve added an extensive new postscript that addresses current opportunities for the future of haiku in English.

November 2010

  • Three Hokku by E. E. Cummings. In 1916, Cummings published three “hokku” (now known as haiku) in Harvard Monthly. This essay explores these poems as early examples of Cummings’ foray into haiku. Also included is a new postscript about the setting of these poems to music.

  • Digressions. For fun, here’s a new page with links to miscellaneous items that don’t seem to fit anywhere else. So they fit here.

  • Photographs. See a selection of my recent photographs here, with links to other photographs online. I just got a new Nikon D90, so Im looking forward to making many more photos.

October 2010

  • My Photo Gallery on Picasa. Okay, so it’s not exactly on this site (Graceguts), but here’s a link to numerous photo albums I have on Picasa, many featuring haiku events. Look for the “Haiku on Sticks” installation photos or the three Haiku North America conference albums.

  • Tremors. In October of 1989 (gee, 21 years ago already), I experienced the 7.1 Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco. I wrote these poems in response, for my chapbook Tremors.

  • Why Graceguts? Have you wondered how this site got its name? E. E. Cummings (one of my favourite poets) might just be the reason. Graceguts is one year old this month!

  • BONUS LINK: Silver Notes. Read my new poem-and-photograph sequence commissioned for the Seattle Art Museum’s 2010 SAM Remix event at the Olympic Sculpture Park.

September 2010

  • Seeing Into the Heart: Vulnerability in Haiku. This essay is the introduction to Lighting a Candle (Two Autumns Press, 2010), a book I edited for the Haiku Poets of Northern California.
  • Hand in Hand. In honour of September 11, I offer this haibun (featuring tanka instead of haiku) about my experience of that fateful day.
  • Uh-Huh. This rengay by me and Lee Gurga was one of the earliest ones to feature senryu instead of haiku.

August 2010

July 2010

  • Flowers on the Roof of Hell. A longer poem of mine about the beloved haiku poet Issa.
  • Cornstalk Twisting. A rengay by me and Lenard D. Moore, published in 2010 in Frogpond. Also the first-prize winner in the 2000 rengay contest sponsored by the Haiku Poets of Northern California, but not previously published.
  • Up with Season Words. An essay promoting the key technique of season words (kigo) in English-language haiku.

June 2010 

May 2010

April 2010

  • Recognizing Influences: The Unswept Path. My review of one of the more significant haiku anthologies to be published in the last ten years, focusing on the influences that may—or may not—have affected the poets included.

  • Urban Haiku. A set of poems on an urban theme, compiled for a reading I did in Pasadena, California, with musical accompaniment, in February 2010.

  • Welcome to Haiku North America 2003. I had some fun with this speech, presented to commence the 2003 HNA conference in New York City. HNA happens every two years and will next take place at Seattle Center in Seattle, Washington, 3–7 August 2011.

March 2010

  • Text-ku. A sequence of thirteen poems having some fun with texting acronyms, first published in Frogpond.

  • Haiga. Traditional haiga is the combination of haiku, calligraphy, and brush painting. Here are four examples with calligraphy and artwork by Marcia McEachron.

  • Interviews. Visit this page to find links to numerous interviews done with me or that I’ve conducted with others.

February 2010

  • What Is a Syllable? Even among native English speakers, there’s much misunderstanding about what constitutes a syllable. Read this essay to learn more about syllables and English-language haiku—which don’t need to count syllables at all!

  • The Clarinet. I wrote this poem about an experience outside the Royal Festival Hall in London. I spent a year of college in England, and also returned for a summer at the University of London in graduate school (I’m a British citizen). This poem takes me back.

  • Haiku and the Japanese Garden. This essay first appeared on my site for the Haiku Garden reading series that I held in Seattle. In 2009, I recorded it for the Japanese Garden audio tour, with music by Elizabeth and John Falconer. Read it here!

January 2010

  • Trifolds. Check out a selection of the trifold poem sheets that I create at a pace of about one or two a year. You can even download a few of them in PDF format to print out for yourself (please do let me know if you do this).
  • Open Books: Seattle’s Thriving Bookstore for Poets. Seattle is home to one of only two poetry-only bookstores in the United States. This interview with the store’s owners first appeared in the 2009 edition of Poet’s Market, and is presented here in an expanded version.
  • Young Leaves. Read this kasen renku (36-verse collaborative poem) that travelled 49,114 miles on its five-year path to completion, with verses by a who’s who of English-language haiku poets. Includes commentary.

December 2009

  • Rengay. Rengay is perhaps the most exciting new genre of collaborative verse created in the last fifty years—invented by Garry Gay in 1992. It has been my pleasure and good fortune to be with Garry on the forefront of promoting and writing rengay, and this page presents a portal to essays on rengay, as well as examples I've written with numerous cowriters. Take a look . . . and give rengay a try!
  • Food Haiku. Feeling peckish? If you can't grab a bite to eat, at least grab a few of these food haiku instead. I put them together for a performance in Seattle in conjunction with a food haiku installation.
  • The Seed of Wonder: An Antidote to Haiku Inflation. This essay was my keynote address at the 2005 Haiku North America conference in Port Townsend, Washington. It also appeared in Frogpond and in the Red Moon Anthology for best haiku-related writing from 2005. I talk about how poets can reenergize their enthusiasm for haiku by nurturing a capacity for wonder.

November 2009

  • The Haiku Sensibilities of E. E. Cummings. This essay, one of my most widely quoted academic articles, surveys and assesses the short poems of one of my favourite poets. It makes the case for the significant influence of haiku on Cummings’ later poetry.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award to Jack Prelutsky. In 2007, it was my privilege to present the Washington Poets Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award to United States Children’s Poet Laureate Jack Prelutsky. This speech covers highlights of his remarkable poetry career.
  • Night Flight. The thematic six-verse rengay form usually calls for two or three collaborators. Here’s a rengay of mine that takes a solo flight.

October 2009

This site was established on 12 October 2009. Thank you for visiting.