Rewind: Haiku Highlights from 2021

It’s time  to round up another year of haiku. There’s so much haiku stuff from 2021 that I didn’t get around to sharing, so I have lots of ground to cover. I’m just gonna skip all that other 2021 stuff, Covid and all that, and go right into one of the things that’s helping so many of us stay grounded and sane: haiku!

For me 2021 was another successful year. As I’ve mentioned before, I set goals for myself. I purposely keep the goals to what is reasonable for me and my writing practice. So usually I set a goal to publish 22 new poems each year, and to publish in one place that I’ve never published in before. It’s true, I have had years when I was unable to meet my goals. But then in other years I have far exceeded them. So these goals that I set for myself are flexible, and are meant to keep me on task and on track. Another way to put it is that I try not to put too much pressure on myself to produce. I try to just go with the flow.

In a nutshell, this is what 2021 looked like for me. I published 34 new poems (all haiku and senryu, no tanka in 2021). Here is the breakdown by publication: Acorn (1), Akitsu Quarterly (5), Autumn Moon Haiku Journal (3), Haiku in Action (1), haikuniverse (1), The Heron’s Nest (4), Horror Senryu Journal (4), Kingfisher (3), Last Train Home (Pondhawk Press) (3), Mariposa (2), Modern Haiku (1), Otoroshi Journal (1), Prune Juice (1), tsuri-doro (3), Vancouver Cherry Blossom Haiku Contest (1).

I made my first appearance in the following journals in 2021: Autumn Moon Haiku Journal, Otoroshi Journal, and tsuri-doro.

I keep tabs on anywhere and everywhere my poems appear. 2021 saw a number of poems republished in various places, such as Last Train Home (Pondhawk Press), jar of rain: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2020 (Red Moon Press), Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog, tsuri-doro (issue #3, as featured poet), Visiting the Wind: Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology 2021, The Haiku Foundation Per Diem “Firsts” (October), MahMight Haiku Journal (August), Nick Virgilio Writer’s House Anthology Volume 2, Triveni Haiku Spotlight (November), and in Lee Gurga’s essay “Normative Haiku and Beyond” (Modern Haiku 52.2).

I gave two readings and one interview in 2021. The first, for the Haiku Poets of Northern California on July 18, 2021.  The second, for Haiku Northwest on September 9, 2021. Both readings were performed via Zoom. The HPNC reading is available to watch on YouTube. Here is the link to the HPNC website where you can go to recordings, click on my name and you’ll find the link to YouTube. Kinda funny, when my son saw my reading on YouTube he thought I was going to become “YouTube famous”! I gave an interview for the New to Haiku feature on The Haiku Foundation website, which appeared on September 19, 2021. Lots of great interviews in that series. It’s always fun and interesting to hear about other haiku poet’s writing practices and their views on all things haiku. Go take a look!

Some of my writing received awards in 2021. In The Heron’s Nest Readers’ Choice Awards (for poems published in 2020), I received first runner-up and second runner-up for individual poems, and received the Grand Prize Poet of the Year. Not too shabby! I also had a haiku on the shortlist for The Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems (for a poem published in 2020). In Snapshot Press’s Haiku Calendar Competition 2021, I had two winning poems and one runner-up (published in The Haiku Calendar 2022). In the Vancouver Cherry blossom Haiku Contest 2021, I received the award for Best USA haiku. Like I said, not bad at all!

I reached, and passed, the 600 poems published milestone late in 2021 (with an actual total of 603).

It goes without saying that for every success there are some hardships or some bumps in the road along the way. No different for me as it is for others. I received a number of rejections in 2021, seems maybe a few more than usual. A couple in particular, in December actually, have been difficult to digest. One was actually the closing of a journal, Horror Senryu Journal, where the editor saw fit to close to focus on some health issues. I wish him all the best. For me that meant the editor returned four poems scheduled to appear over the course of January and February of 2022. Will those poems find a new home? That remains to be seen.

I only mention the rejections and hardships not so people will feel sorry for me but because others will know that they’re not alone in feeling bad when those things happen. And to those who are new to writing and submitting and publishing their haiku or other poems, maybe it’ll be of some comfort to them that rejection is a part of what it is we do and we all experience it. Sending our little poems out into the world, it is inevitable that many of them will come back to us. 2022 will be my 20th year writing and submitting and publishing haiku, and I still get rejections.  Here’s the clincher for me: the acceptances are great and make me feel like my writing has value and that it matters. But where the real value lies isn’t in the publications, it’s how I feel when I’m writing. I am happy when I’m writing. I’m happy when it’s just me and the poem. At that point none of the other parts of the process matter, not the submitting, not the acceptance or rejection. So the next time you get a rejection and you feel bad about it, let yourself feel bad about it for about five minutes. There’s nothing else you can do about rejection but keep writing.

Here’s a few haiku and senryu that I published in 2021. I hope you enjoy them. Thanks for reading, take care and stay safe!

skies other
than the one I know
migrating geese

tsuri-doro #1, 2021

train whistle–
from the conductor’s ears
a puff of white hair

Last Train Home (Pondhawk Press, 2021)

the winter count
brought before the elders–
hush of first snow

Modern Haiku 52.2, Summer 2021

wildfire–
the horse given water
from a cowboy hat

Autumn Moon Haiku Journal 4:2, Spring/Summer 2021

grassland
a swish of cow tail
sparks fireflies

Acorn #47, Fall 2021

Milky Way
the sound of corn leaves
overlapping

Kingfisher #4, 2021

letting the mask fall
below my nose . . .
cherry blossoms

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Haiku Contest 2021

sundown rodeo
the cowboy’s lasso
fraying dust

Mariposa #45, Fall/Winter 2021

red tag in a cow’s ear–
the glow of sunrise
through and through

The Heron’s Nest XXIII:4, December 2021

snow falling on cedars
the way I would read
to my son

Akitsu Quarterly, Winter 2021

Many thanks to the editors of the above mentioned publications, to the contest judges, anyone who voted for my work, and everyone who reads my haiku in the various places they appear in the universe, including this blog.

Poems copyright Chad Lee Robinson.

Recent Publications and Blog Updates

Since my last update on Haiku Poetry Day in April, I have had a handful of new haiku published.

 

This first one appeared in the summer issue of Modern Haiku:

the winter count

brought before the elders–

hush of first snow

Winter counts are fascinating objects. The Lakota, and other plains tribes as well, used them to record important events in the tribe’s history. With the tribe’s elders, the winter count keeper would choose one or two events to represent a calendar year. They marked the years from first snow to first snow. Winter counts were usually drawn on buffalo hide, but other durable materials were also used. One event that was marked on the winter counts of multiple tribes was the Leonid meteor shower of 1833. Other events depicted on various winter counts include disease and war. The keeper of the winter count was also a storyteller, and so the pictographs aided him in the oral tradition of telling the tribe’s history through stories.

 

In June, two new poems appeared in The Heron’s Nest:

bone after bone blue morning glories

 

prairie sage

the prance of a pony

in high spirits

 

Three more haiku appeared in Autumn Moon Haiku Journal. Here’s one of them:

wildfire–

the horse given water

from a cowboy hat

 

In July, a senryu appeared in Prune Juice:

used books–

running a finger down the spine

of a cat

I wrote some haiku and senryu about cats to submit to the new anthology just recently published by bottle rockets press (Window Seats), but I didn’t get the chance to submit them to the anthology. A few of them over the last year or so have found a home in various journals.

 

On July 18, I was one of two featured readers who gave a reading to the Haiku Poets of Northern California.  It was an honor to be invited along with Robin Anna Smith/GRIX. This was only my third reading in about 20 years, and my first over Zoom. I prepared about 50 haiku focused on the prairie. It was great to get to interact with haiku poets who I either only knew by name in the journals or corresponded with through email or social media. A recording of it is available on the Haiku Poets of Northern California website. Just run your mouse over the Recordings tab at the top of their website, and then scroll down to my name. Many thanks to the HPNC for inviting me to read for them!

My “horse pasture” haiku was the poem up for discussion at The Haiku Foundation back in May, on their re:Virals column #293. If you are interested in reading some commentary about my haiku, please go here

Over the next couple of months or so new poems will appear in the following places: the fall issue of Akitsu Quarterly (three poems), Horror Senryu Journal (three poems over September and October), and the fall issue of Acorn (one poem).

Many thanks to the editors and everyone mentioned above for supporting my work.

Poems copyright Chad Lee Robinson.

 

Blog Updates

I made a few minor updates to the About the Author page, but the most significant update is to the Books page. I have provided a link to The Haiku Foundation’s Digital Library where you can find my very first collection, Pop Bottles, available to read and/or download for free. Also remember that my second collection, Rope Marks, is also available to read/download for free from Snapshot Press. A link is also available for that as well.

International Haiku Poetry Day 2021

April is National Poetry Month, and today, April 17th, is International Haiku Poetry Day. Wherever you are, I hope you celebrate by reading some haiku or other poetry that holds special meaning for you.

I’ve been meaning to offer updates on my recent publications on a more regular basis, but time seemed to get away from me. So I thought Haiku Day would be a good day for an update.

I’ve published a couple more Halloween/horrorku recently in Horror Senryu Journal and in Otoroshi Journal, the latter just recently published its first issue.

where her body should be moonlight

zombies pressing

the chain-link–

jump rope song

Last Train Home is a new anthology of train-themed haiku, senryu and tanka, recently published by Pondhawk Press and edited by Jacqueline Pearce. This anthology is hefty and includes an abundance of excellent work. I’ve read it only once so far, but I will be returning to it often. I am pleased to have eight haiku and senryu included, five of which are previously published and three are brand new. Here is one of the new ones:

train whistle–

from the conductor’s ears

a puff of white hair

Three new haiku appeared in tsuri-doro, a new haiku journal whose first issue appeared at the beginning of this year. Here’s one of them:

skies other

than the one I know

migrating geese

Published annually since 1996, the Red Moon Anthology series attempts to collect the best of English-language haiku and related forms published each calendar year. This year’s anthology, jar of rain, includes the following haiku of mine, originally published in The Heron’s Nest:

stillborn lamb

the storm reduces itself

to quiet rain

In February, The Heron’s Nest announced its annual Readers’ Choice Awards for poems published in its 2020 issues. I am delighted and grateful to have received a number of honors for the work I published there in 2020. Readers of The Heron’s Nest named me Poet of the Year, and two of my poems were first and second runners-up for Poem of the Year. Second runner-up was my stillborn lamb poem above, and first runner-up was this one:

horse pasture

the prairie wind moves

with muscle

Another poem of mine received a special mention:

no one

to inherit the work–

rattle of corn leaves

Many thanks to all who voted for my poems.

Last week (4/8/21), I had a new poem published in Haiku in Action, a weekly column from the Nick Virgilio Writers House.

mask hanging

by one ear . . .

cherry blossoms

The results of the Snapshot Press Haiku Calendar Competition were announced at the end of March, and I am happy to have two winners (for the months of November and December) and one runner-up (for the month of March). This will be a calendar for 2022 and will likely be published in the fall. Here is the winner for December:

night train

the slight lift of snow

in the snow globe

One of my haiku, the horse pasture one above, has been shortlisted for a Touchstone Award for Individual Poems from The Haiku Foundation. There were more poems nominated this time around (1302) than in past years, so to be on the shortlist of 29 poems is quite an honor. Many thanks to the panel of judges.

Looking ahead, I have new work forthcoming in Modern Haiku and The Heron’s Nest.

Also, I joined Instagram in January to try to reach readers who may not know about my blog or who aren’t on Facebook. Check me out there @dakotaku80

Many thanks to the editors and judges of the journals, anthologies and contests listed above.

Poems copyright Chad Lee Robinson.

Rewind: Haiku Highlights from 2020

2020. A year so many people are happy to leave behind. Pandemic. Politics. Thank heavens that’s all I’m going to say about that stuff. But as far as my haiku writing goes, 2020 was one heck of a year.

I published 34 poems in 2020 (33 haiku and senryu, and 1 tanka) in the following places: Acorn (1); Akitsu Quarterly (4); bottle rockets (1); Bundled Wildflowers: Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology (1); The Bamboo Hut (5); Failed Haiku (7); Frogpond (1); Haiku in Action (1); The Heron’s Nest (5); Horror Senryu Journal (1); Haikuniverse (1); Kingfisher (3); and Wales Haiku Journal (3).

One of my goals every year is to publish in a journal or other venue that I’ve never published in before, and in 2020 I published in four such places: The Bamboo Hut, Haiku in Action, Horror Senryu Journal, and Kingfisher.  I hear about new publications regularly, and I wish I was more prolific so I can submit to them all in addition to all the other publications I like to submit to. Some other new journals I’ve yet to send work to include: Bloo outlier journal, Cold Moon Journal, First Frost, The Haiku Broadsheet, Heliosparrow, and Otoroshi Journal. I can’t keep up!

I published work in five anthologies in 2020, mostly republications, including (no particular order): South Dakota in Poems (South Dakota State Poetry Society), wind flowers: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2019 (Red Moon Press), The Helping Hand Haiku Anthology (Middle Island Press), Haiku 2020 (Modern Haiku Press), and Bundled Wildflowers: Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology. I also republished a couple haiku on Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog.

2020 Awards include a haiku shortlisted for a Touchstone Award for Individual Poems, The Heron’s Nest Award (September and December issues), and one Editors’ Choice award from The Heron’s Nest (December issue).

I filled 18 notebooks in 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a handful of haiku from 2020:

the pumpkin’s light blows out . . .
I leave the owl
to its asking

stillborn lamb
the storm reduces itself
to quiet rain

the way she tilts her head
to put on an earring
evening star

horse pasture
the prairie wind moves
with muscle

pandemic Halloween
a shortage of toilet paper
mummies

 

Looking ahead to 2021, I have already published three poems in a new journal called tsuri-doro: a small journal of haiku and senryu, and one senryu in Horror Senryu Journal. I also have new and previously published work forthcoming in Last Train Home, an anthology of haiku and related poetry about trains, and I will have a haiku republished in the next Red Moon Anthology.

Thank you for stopping by The Deep End of the Sky and keeping up with my writing. I know 2020 was a difficult year for many, many people all over the world. Wherever you are I hope you are doing all you can to stay safe and healthy. You’ll hear from me next in February. In the meantime, please take care.

Many thanks to the editors and publishers of the publications listed above.

Poems copyright Chad Lee Robinson.

Final 2020 Haiku News

Before I write my 2020 haiku year in review, I need to acknowledge a few more publications from 2020.

The winter edition of Akitsu Quarterly features four new haiku and senryu, including these two:

moonlight
the scarred side
of the stallion’s face

store cat–
filling my arms
with scratches

The store cat poem is based on stories I’ve heard about the original owners of Korner Grocery (my dad is the current owner). I’ve heard they allowed their cat to hang out at the store and even have babies there! Of course, this was decades ago, and such a thing wouldn’t be allowed today because of laws and codes directing health and sanitation.

Three new senryu appeared in the December issue of Failed Haiku (this issue edited by Bryan Rickert). This issue’s theme was holidays, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to send, you guessed it, some Halloween poems. Here is one of them:

Day of the Dead
the smell of fresh dirt
in the candlelight

The December issue of The Heron’s Nest features two new haiku of mine, one of which was an editors’ choice, and the other received The Heron’s Nest Award, in that order below:

no one
to inherit the work–
rattle of corn leaves

horse pasture
the prairie wind moves
with muscle

In November, one of my horse poems appeared as part of the Per Diem feature at The Haiku Foundation. November’s theme was horses, edited by Jennifer Sutherland:

ponies a pasture beyond
the last known color
in the twilight sky

I recently learned about a new publication, this one found on twitter, called Horror Senryu Journal, and I had a senryu published there in December:

serving
only stares
village diner

Many thanks to the editors and publishers of the above publications for featuring my haiku and senryu.

You’ll hear from me next when I write up my haiku highlights from 2020. Thanks for reading. Stay safe.

Poems copyright Chad Lee Robinson.

South Dakota in Poems

The South Dakota State Poetry Society released a new anthology this fall titled South Dakota in Poems. South Dakota’s current poet laureate, Christine Stewart-Nunez, edited the anthology. I am happy to have a “suite” of eight haiku included, all previously published pieces. It’s a well-rounded collection of poetry about South Dakota by South Dakotans. I am thrilled to have work included. Here are a couple haiku from my selection:

restringing fence wire–
the meadowlark’s song one post
ahead of the wind

tractor parade–
from a truck window the boots
of a napping cowboy

Many thanks to Christine for selecting some haiku for this anthology.

Poems copyright Chad Lee Robinson

Recent Publications

I have had a number of new haiku and senryu published this Fall in a variety of publications.

The Fall 2020 issue of Acorn (no. 45) landed in my mailbox in October, and it includes this one:

the way she tilts her head
to put on an earring
evening star

I published for the first time in The Bamboo Hut (Number 4, 2020), and my selection includes one tanka and four haiku. A couple of the haiku:

fish story
the bottles of beer it takes
to believe it

small town store
a cat napping
next to the tuna

The Nick Virgilio Haiku Association and Writers House runs a weekly feature on Facebook called Haiku in Action. The poems published in the column are all “anchored in the now”. As you would expect, current events dominate many of the haiku and senryu as well as how people have been affected by them. The column from 10/8/2020 included a senryu of mine that is a bit unusual for me. Here is a screenshot of my contribution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An older haiku of mine, one from bottle rockets (issue 13, 2005), was selected for republication on Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog in October:

the cold of your room
on the door handle–
autumn loneliness

Of course, I couldn’t let Halloween go by without publishing a Halloween poem. This one appeared in the wee hours of Halloween morning on Haikuniverse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many thanks to the editors of all the publications mentioned above.

Poems copyright Chad Lee Robinson.

Helping Hand Haiku

Two haiku of mine that I originally published in 2017 have been republished in a new anthology titled The Helping Hand Haiku Anthology (Middle Island Press, 2020), edited by Robert Epstein. The poems in this anthology are excatly what the title says: poems about helping each other. When you consider the pandemic and the tense political climate, this is a timely anthology. We could all do with a reminder to be kinder, more understanding, and more helpful to each other. Here are my two contributions:

rustle of corn leaves–
fitting my son
for a new ball glove

whirling snowflakes–
a Lakota elder
passes the pipe

Many thanks to Robert for publishing these poems.

Poems copyright Chad Lee Robinson

New Haiku Published Online

In September The Heron’s Nest published its third issue of 2020. I am pleased to have two new haiku appear in that issue. The journal’s editors honored one of my contributions with The Heron’s Nest Award. Here are both poems, the first one being the award winner:

stillborn lamb
the storm reduces itself
to quiet rain

rambling roses
an old wagon wheel
with a broken spoke

The Heron’s Nest Volume XXII, Number 3: September 2020

Follow the link above to read the commentary for “stillborn lamb”. Many thanks to the editorial team of The Heron’s Nest.

Poems copyright Chad Lee Robinson