Rewind: Haiku Highlights from 2017

It’s hard to believe 2017 is over. Each year seems to go by faster than the one before. It’s harder to believe that this is the third Rewind post I’ve written.

notebooks used in 2017

2017 was another successful year for my writing. I met all my writing goals by July, and even met my extended goals. I published 36 new poems in 2017 (31 haiku and senryu, and 5 tanka) in the following places: Acorn (1), Akitsu Quarterly (3), Frogpond (2), Golden Haiku Contest (1), Gusts (3), Haiku in the Workplace (9), Haikuniverse (1), hedgerow (3), The Heron’s Nest (5), Mariposa (2), Modern Haiku (1), Shamrock (4), and Stardust (1).

A good portion of my new material appeared in Jim Kacian’s column Haiku in the Workplace, which just recently ended. While I’m sad to see the column go, I hope the new one, Haiku Windows, edited by poet kjmunro, will be as inspiring.

One of my goals every year is to publish in one venue I’ve never published in before. In 2017, I had work published in two such places, Gusts, a tanka journal, and Stardust. I submitted to a couple of other journals I’ve not previously published in, but both of those submissions were rejected in their entirety.

In February I learned, much to my surprise, that a haiku I submitted to the Golden Haiku Contest received a runner-up award. In this contest, the winners and runners-up are printed on signs and placed in flowerbeds in certain neighborhoods of Washington D.C.. Due to one reason or another I can’t recall, I don’t think all of the chosen haiku made it out to the streets. If the pics of the haiku signs on the Golden Triangle website are any indication, then it seems my haiku did not make it to a flower bed. Despite this, I am still happy to have had a haiku chosen for a contest. In April, I was honored to have a haiku shortlisted for a Touchstone Award for Individual Poems. I am most certainly grateful.

I republished work in four different anthologies in 2017. The first was in dust devils: the Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2016 (Red Moon Press, 2017), followed by on down the road: Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology 2017 (edited by LeRoy Gorman), then The Wonder Code: Discover the Way of Haiku and See the World with New Eyes (Girasole Press, 2017, edited by Scott Mason), and finally They Gave Us Life: Celebrating Mothers, Fathers & Others in Haiku (Middle Island Press, 2017, edited by Robert Epstein).

Looking ahead to 2018, I will have a poem published in the year’s first issue of Frogpond. I have submitted the necessary info and poems to be a part of the Echoes 2 project, which will be a sort of update on all the haiku poets who have appeared in a volume of Red Moon Press’s A New Resonance series. Last July I began work on my fourth collection of haiku which carries the working title of The White Buffalo. I’m hoping this one won’t take ten years to put together like The Deep End of the Sky did! No matter what, it will be a long process, and I’ve only just begun.

Last September, it had been 15 years since I sat in that windowless classroom at South Dakota State University where David Allan Evans (then poet laureate of SD) wrote a haiku by Basho on the eraser board. I will always be grateful to Professor Evans for including haiku in his creative writing class. I was in the right place that day.

So this New Year’s Eve, where ever you are, raise a glass with me

to fifteen more . . .

Just a few favorites from 2017:

prairie storm
the darkness disperses
as buffalo

The Heron’s Nest XIX:3, September 2017
*

straightness of the bean rows–
a simple nod
from my father

Haiku in the Workplace: A Job Well Done (The Haiku Foundation, June 2017)
*

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

The Heron’s Nest XIX:4, December 2017

All poems copyright Chad Lee Robinson

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Beyond the Grave

Beyond the GraveI finally got a copy of Beyond the Grave: Contemporary Afterlife Haiku (Middle Island Press, 2015), edited by Robert Epstein. Usually I submit previously published material to Robert Epstein’s anthologies, but this time I decided to try writing something brand new, in this case haiku about the afterlife. I was pleasantly surprised the editor chose four previously unpublished pieces, which you can read below. Many thanks to Robert Epstein for including my work in yet another of his anthologies.

 

turning over a stone the afterlife

blue dragonfly
shimmer of the afterlife
in its wings

afterlifejacket

some distant night
the crickets you hear
could be my heartbeat

all haiku above by Chad Lee Robinson, originally published in Beyond the Grave: Contemporary Afterlife Haiku (Middle Island Press, 2015)

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!

Recent Anthology Appearances

Three anthologies have appeared recently, starting with Like the Pumpkins from The Befuddled Press. This anthology includes eight haiku on the theme of death. Letterpress on handmade paper by Scott Murphy. Here’s my contribution:

until
I am earth again
rain moving through the bluestem

by Chad Lee Robinson (originally published in Acorn #30, Spring 2013)

NestFeathersThe other day I received a copy of Nest Feathers: Selected Haiku from the First 15 Years of The Heron’s Nest. This is definitely an anthology to own. Full color, glossy hardcover (no dust jacket) really makes the colors of the feathers pop. Reading through the selections (248 haiku from 145 poets) and it’s clear that this will be an anthology I’ll return to again and again. Most of the poets are represented by one or two haiku, and there are a fair amount of poets with three or four haiku each. But there are only three poets who are represented by five haiku: John Barlow, Peggy Willis Lyles, and me. The Heron’s Nest has published a number of my haiku that are among my very best, and I am truly honored and humbled to be included among such company. Here are two of my five in the anthology:

spring rain
the soft click of marbles
on the kitchen floor

by Chad Lee Robinson (The Heron’s Nest volume 7, number 4, 2005)

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

by Chad Lee Robinson (The Heron’s Nest volume 13, number 1, 2011)

Beyond the GraveAnd lastly, Robert Epstein has (finally!) released Beyond the Grave: Contemporary Afterlife Haiku (Middle Island Press). I just found it on Amazon.com today, so I don’t even have a copy yet, but it should have four brand new haiku that I wrote specifically for this anthology. Based on the preview on Amazon, this looks to be a great new anthology.