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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Haiku Published in The Heron’s Nest

I am pleased to be a part of another issue of The Heron’s Nest with two new haiku. Click the link to read mine on pages 8 and 10. Here is one of my two:

prairie storm
the darkness disperses
as buffalo

Thank you to Fay Aoyagi and the rest of the editorial team for selecting my poems!

Like the Pumpkins and More News

Over the weekend I heard from Scott Murphy of The Befuddled Press about a project he’s been working on called Like the Pumpkins. According to The Befuddled Press website, Like the Pumpkins is “a new artist book featuring eight haiku poets exploring the subject of death.” The book is supposed to be letterpress, one of the reasons why I submitted in the first place. I am honored to be one of the eight haiku poets, and can’t wait to receive my contributor copies.

Just tonight I heard from Fay Aoyagi, one of the associate editors of The Heron’s Nest, and I will have two new haiku in the December 2015 issue. It’s always an honor to be published in The Heron’s Nest, one of the best haiku journals around.

Many thanks to Scott Murphy, Fay Aoyagi and the rest of the editorial team at THN.

I am wondering where the results of the 2015 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational are. It’s been almost four months since the contest deadline, and I’m getting impatient . . .

UPDATE: Sounds like the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Contest will wrap up in the next couple weeks. Something to look forward to . . .

Acceptances and Book Release Info

I heard from Francine Banwarth and Michelle Root-Bernstein, the editor and assistant editor of  Frogpond, who have accepted two haiku of mine for the spring/summer issue 38.2. One of the haiku they accepted I had originally submitted to The Heron’s Nest, but it ultimately wasn’t chosen. However, THN associate editor Fay Aoyagi suggested a new third line. This revised version is the one that will now appear in Frogpond. Many thanks to Francine, Michelle and Fay!

As for book news, things are really heating up. Rick Black over at Turtle Light Press is working overtime to have The Deep End of the Sky available sometime close to mid-May. The wait is nearly over!

More Acceptances and a Reprint

A few days ago I heard from Fay Aoyagi, one of the editors of The Heron’s Nest, and I will have two haiku in the June issue. I am no longer behind on my goals for the year, and am actually ahead now!

One of my haiku published in 2014 will be reprinted in Haiku 2015, forthcoming this summer from Modern Haiku PressHaiku 2015 will be the next edition following Haiku 21 and Haiku 2014, from the editorial team of Lee Gurga and Scott Metz.

Big thanks to all the editors!