MEGA Update: Haiku News for April, May and June

I really didn’t mean to go so long without an update, but here I am, and I don’t know where to begin.

I had three new poems published in three different issues of the Haiku Windows column at The Haiku Foundation. The themes were outhouse window, train window, and spaceship window:

March mud
the outhouse window
stuck shut

prairie darkness–
what a child’s breath reveals
on the train window

cardboard spaceship–
making fish lips at my son
through the window

The spaceship window theme inspired me to write a number of senryu about a cardboard spaceship that I hope to publish individually and/or turn into some kind of sequence.

I published two new poems in Mariposa #38:

distant owl
a barn tipping
toward no return

the heartbeat
of a painted pony
winter prairie

Turns out this was the last issue with Cherie Hunter Day as editor. Many thanks to Cherie for publishing these as well as a handful more of my haiku during her editorship.

I recently published four new poems in a new haiku journal, Wales Haiku Journal, edited by Paul Chambers. Here are a couple of them:

from inside
this illness
waving at trains

rust on the tracks
the lonely landscape
of a harmonica

I’ve been writing lots of haiku about trains lately in response to a call for submissions to an anthology of haiku and related poetry about trains. I’ve sent my submission which consists of a few published poems and the rest brand new.

I’ve also had some poems republished recently. One appeared on Charlotte Digregorio’s Writers’ Blog, and the other appeared in the Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaborative 2018 (on the theme of birds) to celebrate Haiku Poetry Day on April 17 (the pdf is available for free from The Haiku Foundation). In addition, I had six poems republished in Echoes 2, an anthology from Red Moon Press with updates on the accomplishments of the poets who have appeared in Red Moon Press’s A New Resonance series. It’s available in print, but also free to read online. Lots of great haiku, and definitely worth your time.

In the works is an anthology of poetry about small towns, edited by Tom Montag and David Graham. I have three previously published haiku accepted for the anthology. Not sure about when the anthology will be available, but my guess is 2019. Definitely looking forward to it.

A Word about Rejections

Shortly after submitting to Wales Haiku Journal, I sent a submission to another journal that recently appeared on the haiku landscape. Unfortunately I didn’t have any work selected, but what was more unfortunate was the rejection letter I received. The editor is an accomplished and highly respected haikai poet which made the rejection letter all the more shocking to me. I suspect the editor wrote it as a form rejection letter. Still, I was insulted at the questioning of my connection to nature and my haiku sensibility. Count’em: I have published 485 poems since 2003, all of which are haiku, senryu and tanka; I have published three contest/award winning haiku chapbooks; and I’ve even given a little back to the haiku community by being a contest judge and regional coordinator (not to mention all the money I’ve spent subscribing and buying books from the small haiku presses and individual authors). I don’t consider myself an expert in anything, but it seems to me that my haiku sensibility is just fine. I hope no one takes offense to what I’m about to say next, but it’s how I feel. I don’t care who you are or where you think you rank on the haiku hierarchy, I will not change the way I write or what I write about to match an editor’s or a journal’s haiku sensibility. You either like what I submit or you don’t. I will eagerly consider suggested revisions as long as it’s done in the spirit of kindness and generosity and I get the feeling that the editor genuinely wants to help make my work better. Furthermore the rejection letter didn’t even say thank you for submitting. It made me feel like my submission was irritating and a hardship. My suggestions to the editor: 1. scrap the letter and re-write it; 2. say thank you. You might even go so far as to say that, even though you didn’t select anything this time, it was an honor to read their submission. After all, without ANY submissions you wouldn’t have a journal to publish; 3. allow poets to submit 5-10 poems instead of only 3. Some poets just need a little more room to stretch out. Anyway, maybe I shouldn’t even say anything about it. I’ve been doing this long enough to know better, but what about that poet just starting on the publishing path? A rejection letter like this may make them turn away from haiku. I’d hate to see that happen.

Moving on.

And so it goes in publishing. About a month after receiving such a crappy rejection letter I learn that a haiku of mine won The Heron’s Nest Award in the June issue of The Heron’s Nest!

tornado siren
the wind lifts a sneaker print
from home plate

And on top of that my other haiku in the June issue was selected as an Editor’s Choice haiku!

snow starting to stick
the carriage horse
clears its nostrils

I’ve said it before: It’s an honor just to be published in The Heron’s Nest. To receive either of these awards is really exciting and fulfilling. Many thanks to the editors and to Fay Aoyagi for writing the commentary for the “tornado siren” haiku. I am grateful for both honors.

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

And the work continues. I’ve got a couple submissions under consideration at the moment, and I’m planning more submissions as I write this. Stay tuned!

Edit. Allow me to clarify my comments about rejections. It is not my intention to speak negatively about anyone or any publication. That is the last thing I want to do. The haiku community has been kind and generous to me. As I have stated before, haiku has allowed me to be the published poet that I’ve wanted to be since I was 14 years old. I am not at all upset that my submission was rejected. That is something I prepare for each and every time I send a submission. But the rejection letter I received was poorly written to say the least. The purpose of this blog is for me to share my experiences as a haiku poet with a larger audience. To only share the successes is not an honest representation of my haiku path. I appreciate having a place where I can be honest and share my ups and downs as a poet. But being honest means I have to walk a fine line. My apologies to anyone who took offense to my comments above. Thank you for your understanding.

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Acorn and Other News

I recently received the spring issue of Acorn that includes a new poem of mine. As always, I’m thrilled to be in another issue of Acorn. It’s such a fantastic haiku journal. With thanks to Susan Antolin, here is my contribution:

it’s cancer . . .
the tips of the tall grass
brush my palms

by Chad Lee Robinson, Acorn No. 38, Spring 2017

In other news, I feel kinda bad that I wasn’t able to participate in this year’s EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration for International Haiku Poetry Day, but the theme of reconciliation just didn’t spark anything for me. So hopefully next year’s theme will be more inspiring.

The Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems were announced yesterday. I was honored to have a poem on the shortlist, this one which was originally published in Mariposa 35, 2016 (thanks to editor Cherie Hunter Day):

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

by Chad Lee Robinson

Unfortunately, the Touchstone judges did not select my poem as a winner. Since the Touchstone Awards began, I have been fortunate enough to have had four poems shortlisted, one of which (this one) actually won:

migrating geese–
the things we thought we needed
darken the garage

by Chad Lee Robinson, first published in The Heron’s Nest Vol. XIII, Number 1: March, 2011.

This haiku can also be found in my award-winning collection from Turtle Light Press, The Deep End of the Sky.

Thanks to the Touchstone judges for shortlisting my poem.

International Haiku Poetry Day

Today is International Haiku Poetry Day, and to celebrate I have participated in The Haiku Foundation’s Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration, the world’s largest collaborative poem. This year’s theme is foodcrop haiku, so I contributed this verse:

the Big Dipper–
rows of corn connect
farm to farm

Runner-up, Contemporary Category, HaikuNow! International Haiku Contest 2010 and The Deep End of the Sky (Turtle Light Press, 2015)

The following haiku of mine was shortlisted for a Touchstone Award for Individual Poems but didn’t ultimately win. I know how selective these awards are, so it’s an honor just to be shortlisted.

in a rush to reach stillness whitewater

The Heron’s Nest XVII:4, December 2015

And since the results of the Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards were announced today, that marks the end of my three-year term as a judge. The Haiku Foundation put its trust in me to use my knowledge of haiku and my experience as a haiku poet to choose the very best books, and for that I am grateful. I also had the opportunity to interact with a number of the best poets writing and thinking about haiku today, the best part of the whole process aside from reading lots of books.

If you’re interested in reading more of the haiku from the Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration or watching haiku videos or reading the complete results of the Touchstone Awards, The Haiku Foundation has all you need to celebrate International Haiku Poetry Day here. Happy Haiku Poetry Day!

Rewind: Haiku Highlights from 2015

Notebooks used in 2015. The five small Moleskine's contain nothing but haiku and drafts of haiku. The six Field Notes notebooks contain some haiku and other writing.

Notebooks used in 2015. The five small Moleskine notebooks contain nothing but haiku and drafts of haiku. The six Field Notes notebooks contain some haiku and other jottings.

As each year comes to a close, I like to look back at what I accomplished with my haiku writing. This helps to settle any doubt as to what I got done over the last twelve months, and it helps me figure out where the writing is going, if anywhere, in the coming year.

I like facts and figures and lists. I like to arrange things in front of me. So I found it fun to make a list of the places I published work in 2015. But I didn’t stop there. I broke the list into more detailed lists: places where my work appeared for the very first time, places where work was reprinted. And then the figures: how many new poems did I publish this year, how many poems were reprinted, how many did I publish in this journal or that, how many poems are still awaiting publication, how many haiku and related poems have I published since I started writing them in 2002?

Information like this doesn’t really do me any good. I think it’s a mistake to try to compare one year’s figures to the next in an attempt to glean any useful information. I just find it fun to look at the numbers.

Despite the fact that 2015 is book-ended by droughts in my writing, I still managed to publish 40 new haiku. It’s been many years since I pulled off a number like that. So what does this mean to me? When I found myself writing, I was writing some good stuff, and a lot of it. I’m not sure it should mean anything more than that. As for the droughts, I can say with certainty the causes were/are busyness and laziness. I really shouldn’t call these intervals of little writing droughts because to me they’re more like a field left fallow for a season. These are intervals of renewal.

So let’s talk lists and numbers. I published 40 new haiku in 2015. I published those haiku in the following places: Acorn (1), Akitsu Quarterly (3), Beyond the Grave: Contemporary Afterlife Haiku (Middle Island Press) (4), bottle rockets (1 sequence of 5 haiku), cattails (2), The Deep End of the Sky (Turtle Light Press) (1), Frogpond (2), Frozen Butterfly (1), The Heron’s Nest (4), A Hundred Gourds (5), Mariposa (1), Modern Haiku (2), muttering thunder (2), Presence (2), Under the Basho (4), Wild Plum (1). Of these, the journals publishing my work for the very first time are: Akitsu Quarterly, cattails, Frozen Butterfly, Under the Basho, and Wild Plum.

I’m a big fan of getting my work reprinted. It’s a great way to get my writing in front of readers who may not have seen it the first time. 2015 was no exception. I had work reprinted in the following places: Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog (6), Nest Feathers: Selected Haiku from the First Fifteen Years of The Heron’s Nest (The Heron’s Nest) (5), A Vast Sky: An Anthology of Contemporary World Haiku (Tancho Press) (1), Haiku 2015 (Modern Haiku Press) (1), big data: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2014 (Red Moon Press) (1), Like the Pumpkins (The Befuddled Press) (1), A Splash of Water: Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology (Haiku Society of America) (1), EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration (The Haiku Foundation) (1), With Words Summer Haiku Competition (joint 1st place plus other highly commended and commended haiku).

On top of having 40 new poems find their way into the world (that’s the nuts and bolts of this whole operation), the most exciting publication of 2015 was The Deep End of the Sky, my third collection of haiku. With the help of Rick Black at Turtle Light Press, my third contest-winning collection was released last May and has received numerous positive reviews. Because of the publication of my book, I started this blog in January 2015 as a way to promote the book and my writing in general. I also joined Facebook with personal and writer profiles. Later in the year, I joined Twitter, but I have yet to pen my first tweet. A number of interviews with the Pierre Capital Journal resulted from the publication of The Deep End of the Sky as well as a reading I gave to the South Dakota Arts Council’s Tales on the River series in August. Yet another interview with Rick Black appeared a question or two at a time on Facebook in the fall.

And in addition to the writing and publishing, I completed my second year as a panelist for The Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards.

Fast Forward to 2016

In January, this blog will celebrate its first birthday. I am looking forward to my third and final year as a panelist for The Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards. On the publishing front, I have one new haiku awaiting publication in bottle rockets. And on Christmas Eve I received word from Jim Kacian that I will have a haiku reprinted in galaxy of dust: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2015 (Red Moon Press, 2016). Also, I plan on submitting The Deep End of the Sky to the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Awards.

I guess the only other thing will be to WRITE MY ASS OFF. Oh, and reach that major milestone I mentioned a couple times before. I am this close . . .

Thanks

I’d like to say thanks to everyone who bought a copy or copies of The Deep End of the Sky, and also to the local shops who helped me sell copies: Korner Grocery, The Heritage Store at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center and Museum, and Prairie Pages Bookseller. And thanks to those who took the time to check out this blog or one of my Facebook pages. I hope you keep coming back!