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 . . .
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!