New haiku hither and yon

A batch of haiku and haibun that I wrote last summer specifically to send out—some with darker imagery, influenced by my regular consumption of death metal—has met with mixed reactions from editors: acceptances from tinywords, The Heron’s Nest, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, and Drifting Sands Haibun (as previously noted) but no bites from Acorn, Whiptail, Rattle, or Contemporary Haibun Online. The one in tinywords appeared back in October:

monitoring the dead zone blue crabbers

The image came from a lengthy article in the Chesapeake Bay Journal, an essential source of environmental news for anyone living in the Chesapeake watershed.

My haiku in The Heron’s Nest came about in the approved manner, however: an encounter in nature prompting a nearly instantaneous response, in a haiku all about responsiveness.

night bird—we startle as one

I’m grateful to the editors of Frogpond, the journal of the Haiku Society of America, for selecting this one for their Winter 2024 issue:

being measured for a coffin first snowflake

This had been included in the batch I sent to Modern Haiku, but editor Paul Miller chose this one instead:

unrivaled in my kitchen cricket

I love and read all these journals whether I place work in them or not, so it’s fun to feel as if I’m taking part in building something bigger than ourselves. That something being, I think, no less than a complete reassessment of how we in the West relate to nature: seen no longer as something apart from humans but a spontaneously self-organizing cosmos, “of itself thus” as the two-character compound for “nature” in Japanese and Chinese may be translated. But that’s a topic for another post.

I suppose it’s worth mentioning, for those who might be curious, that I do not necessarily hold my best haiku to send out. If I get an idea for a photo haiga, that sucker is going up on my photoblog and on social media right away, because I think sometimes the immediacy of haiku is more important than anything else. And by sharing these kinds of haiku more widely, with people who aren’t already up to speed with the modern understanding of Japanese short forms in English, my hope is to enlarge the tent of modern haiku readers and creators.

Two haiku in Issue 20.1 of tinywords

scrseenshot from tinywords

I’m pleased to have not one, but two haiku in the currently serializing Issue 20.1 of tinywords, “climate strike…” and “steel band…” Both began life as the texts of videohaiku (here and here); “climate strike” was shortened following a suggestion by the editors.

I’m especially happy to be a part of tinywords‘ 20th anniversary year. As a web publisher myself, I know what’s involved in making it to that milestone — qarrtsiluni lasted all of seven years, and Moving Poems has only been around since 2009. Also, from a tech and usability standpoint, tinywords is one of the (sadly) very few online literary magazines that is doing nearly everything right, in my view. Here’s some of what Kathe L. Palka and Peter Newton wrote in the intro to the issue:

Here we are, nearly twenty years after Dylan Tweney started publishing tiny poems, one per day, like a daily vitamin for wordsmiths.

Dylan comments: “When I started tinywords in November 2000, I was bored, wanted to explore the possibilities of text messaging, and craved more poetry in my daily life. I never thought my little project to fuse these three impulses would grow so big or last so long. And I’m continually amazed by and grateful for the work that Peter and Kathe have done since taking over editorship of this site that I think of as ‘the world’s biggest, tiniest poetry magazine.’”

T I N Y W O R D S has grown over the years and now, as issue 20.1 begins, nearly 1,000 poets have seen their work appear in its pages. Today, almost 7,000 folks subscribe to and read T I N Y W O R D S each day, either through our email subscription list or via Twitter. We also get about 10,000 visitors per month on the website.

A remarkable achievement.

“New ice” at tinywords

I have a photo up at one of my favorite online magazines, tinywords. The editors chose it as an interim feature between issues, a visual writing prompt for fans of the site:

While we are assembling the next issue, tinywords invites you to get inspired by Dave Bonta’s beautiful photograph above. Add your short poems inspired by his image “new ice” to our comment box below.

Thank you for lending your voices. And thanks to Dave for lending his photo. We will consider the best of the best for possible inclusion in tinywords 13.1.

Happy New Year!

Please stop by and contribute a poem to the growing collection. I wrote my own haiku in response to the photo back in January 2008 at Woodrat Photohaiku:

bone-white sticks
trapped in the cross-hatch foliage
new blue ice