September Haiku Update

It’s hard to believe the last time I posted was in June. Where did the summer go?

I’ve been steadily writing and submitting, and have even had a number of new haiku published. Three new poems have appeared in the haiku column A Sense of Place edited by kjmunro for The Haiku Foundation. Those familiar with my haiku know that place has always been important to me, and the writing prompts for A Sense of Place have been fun to attempt. One prompt asked to explore the sense of taste at the shore, and I came up with this:

surging waves . . .
the taste
of her tan lines

The prompts are currently set in the mountains, and I wrote this for the sense of hearing:

logging trucks . . .
another mountain
loses its voice

and this, for the sense of taste:

campfire coffee
the taste of what can’t be scraped
from the kettle

Recently, I published for the first time in The Cicada’s Cry, a micro-zine of haiku published in Delaware and edited by JM Reinbold:

each fence post
a pulpit . . .
meadowlark song

I also published a new one in the September issue of The Heron’s Nest:

a collie’s bark . . .
last of the winter clouds
driven north

Issue #40 of Shamrock Haiku Journal out of Ireland just published another of mine:

a crow with more
than a thing or two to say
sour wind

And on the horizon, one haiku in the Fall issue of Frogpond, one in the Fall issue of Acorn, and four in the winter issue of Akitsu Quarterly.

Thank you to the editors of the publications above.

All poems copyright Chad Lee Robinson.

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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.

January and February Haiku News

A month and a half into 2018 already. I wish I could tell you that I’ve been writing my ass off. Unfortunately, I haven’t been writing much. Submission deadlines are coming and going, and I’ve got nothing. Despite the drought, I do have some news to share.

In early January the editors of The Heron’s Nest accepted a haiku of mine for the March issue.

kjmunro, editor of the new haiku column at The Haiku Foundation called windows, accepted and published a one-liner of mine for the very first installment of the column. The theme for that installment was the kitchen window.  Here is my contribution:

my mother in every kitchen window

I’ve also had two haiku reprinted. Late in 2017 a haiku of mine that appears in the essay 100 Years of Haiku in the United States: An Overview by Jim Kacian was published in a book of essays on the development of English-language haiku called American Haiku: New Readings (Lexington Books, 2017), edited by Toru Kiuchi.

one of the wolves
shows its face
firelight

The other reprint is a haiku from last year that appears in old song: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2017 (Red Moon Press, 2018). This haiku originally appeared in The Heron’s Nest:

prairie storm
the darkness disperses
as buffalo

On Valentine’s Day, The Heron’s Nest announced its Readers’ Choice Awards. The haiku I published in The Heron’s Nest in 2017 received enough votes to place me among “other popular poets”. Many thanks to those who gave my haiku some votes.

And finally, my very first chapbook of haiku, Pop Bottles, is now sold out. I will probably reprint it in some way in the future, but I haven’t yet made any decisions on that yet.

That’s all for now. Hopefully I can kickstart the writing and have some acceptances soon.

All poems copyright Chad Lee Robinson