f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

June 16, 2007

the pond warms up

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 10:29 pm

HSALogo It’s always a pleasure to find a copy of Frogpond, the thrice-yearly journal of the Haiku Society of America, in my mailbox. Frogpond Vol. XXX:2 (Spring/Summer 2007) arrived two days ago, with another fine collection of haiku and senryu, plus other Japanese short-form poems and essays. Of course, like going to an art gallery, it’s also fun to quibble with some of the selections, asserting independence from editorial tyranny. Don’t worry, though, I’m not going to subject f/k/a’s readers to my brand of literary criticism (nor unleash the Tell-em Police). Instead, here are some gems from Vol. XXX:2, the newest Frogpond, written by several of our Honored Guest Poets:

fading sun at low tide —
teeth marks
in an old frisbee

written in red ink,
my new year resolution
to eat more veggies

under the afghan — napperTrunk
reading Huck Finn
by penlight

………………. by Michael Dylan Welch
“fading sun” reprised from Frogpond XVIII:3

my daughter’s voice cracks
across two continents

……… by Roberta Beary

after the handshake
we sit down for pasta
al dente

sumoS …………………. by Yu Chang

passed down
from my parents
dust pan and brush

……………………………. by Tom Clausen

hopscotch —
a few stones frozen
to the first square

……………………… by Alice Frampton

wind in the pines
I reach past
my fingertips

…………………………………. Peggy Willis Lyles dandelionClock

after the funeral
the weight of potato salad
on a spork

……………………………….. by Andrew Riutta
spotlightS – I’ll share more haiku and senryu from Frogpond Vol. XXX:2 next week. But, today, I want to humbly tell you about an award announced in the new Frogpond, and take this opportunity to spotlight and thank two Honored Guests and friends of mine, John Stevenson and Yu Chang. As described in the posting “renku’d into submission” (Jan. 28, 2006), John and Yu dragged me kicking and screaming into the collaborative world of “renku” writing last year. The prior post describes the renku genre (which uses “linking and shifting” of a multitude of topics, such as flora, fauna, the moon and seasons, love, and more), my painful initiation, and my oath never to write another renku. Thanks to the patience, persistence and skills of Yu and John, an all-day drafting session resulted in a jointly-written, 12-verse (jûnichô) renku called “Chinese New Year.” Now, in an irony that has left me quite bemused, Chinese New Year has been awarded First Place in the Haiku Society of America’s Bernard Lionel Einbond Renku Competition for 2006.

YChang ……………….…… by yu chang

……………………………..……… by John Stevenson JohnStevensonS

It goes without saying, that John (who served as “sabaki” – lead poet) and Yu, who are two of the very best haijin poets writing in the English language, deserve virtually all the credit for creation of this prize-winning renku. Nonetheless, I am pleased to ride along as the caboose on their renku train, and I’m proud to post Chinese New Year online for the first time tonight:

sumoS Chinese New Year – by Yu Chang [b], David Giacalone [c], and John Stevenson [a]

clearing the table
for a party of twelve
Chinese new year – a

the tea kettle whistles
under a leaky roof – b

a dueling pistol
recovered from
the shipwreck – a

cattails sway
and sigh – c

her warmth
my down jacket – b

we much prefer
candlelight – c

the antipope’s
excommunication – c

cloud shadows
on orange blossoms – b

vanity plates
tell me it was a doctor
who didn’t stop to help – a

the bathroom mirror
has secrets – c

harvest moon
as full as
it ever was – a

room for all
on the hayride – b

You’ll find “Chinese New Year” at the HSA Einbond Renku Collection page (and the judges’ commentary), along with prior winners.  You can learn more about shortform renku in Practical Guidelines for the Jûnichô Renku Form, by Seijo Okamoto, Master of the Haikai Sesshin, translated by William J. Higginson and Tadashi Kondô.

ScaliaHandGesture [original Peter Smith/Boston Herald]

To get back to our usual level of discourse, I’ll leave you with a peak at our Referer Page, where I learned that someone made the Google query Issa and piss early this morning. Because our Honored Guest David Lanoue has translated almost 8000 poems of the Japanese haiku Master Kobayashi Issa at his HaikuGuy website, it was no surprise that the first two results for the Google search were from Lanoue’s website (which contains 40 poems on the lowly topic). I had to smile, though, to see that the third result for that search was our posting about Justice Antonin Scalia, who had dissed the “appearance of impropriety” concept under which judges are expected to recuse themselves from hearing a lawsuit. Google found our post, because I had written:

For some reason, thoughts of Justice Scalia often lead me dandelion
to a theme touched upon frequently in the more earthy haiku
of Master Issa:

little chestnuts
pissed on by the horse…
shiny new

hey boatman
no pissing on the moon
in the waves!

laugh at my piss
and shudder…

mosquito2 I had planned to nag you all again about energy savings and conservation. But, I’ve got to get up early to drive to Rochester and see my Dad for Father’s Day. So, I shall merely point you to the New York Times article “Putting Energy Hogs in the Home on a Strict Low-Power Diet,” by Larry Magid (June 14, 2007), and trust that you will take appropriate action — such as increasing the energy efficiency of your computer by checking into its energy management options.


  1. Congratulations to you, Yu, and John on “Chinese New Year”!

    Comment by Aurora — June 17, 2007 @ 9:50 am

  2. Congrats, David…
    I enjoyed the Chinese New Year renku!

    Comment by Laryalee — June 19, 2007 @ 2:35 pm

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