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

December 4, 2008

a full, warm cup of ambrosia

Filed under: haijin-haikai news,Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 1:05 pm

.. Poet-editor-publisher Denis M. Garrison has recently produced his first batch of Ambrosia.  Ambrosia comes in many forms, but Denis’ version won’t make you immortal, or give you hay fever; and, it’s not that green squiggly stuff your Aunt Tootsie brought for dessert at Thanksgiving.

It is, however, “something with an especially delicious flavor or fragrance.”  To be more precise, and in Denis’ own words:

“This premiere issue of Ambrosia: Journal of Fine Haiku includes 100 top drawer haiku from twenty-eight leading poets from around the world. All these poets, while writing in English, respect the formal values of traditional Japanese haiku.

“Ambrosia holds that a haiku in English, to be fine, must have the traditional shape and duration of haiku, its metre and music, and exhibit aspects of traditional Japanese poetic aesthetics. We prefer haiku written in a natural, modern, English idiom with great care for the sound of the verse when spoken. Ambrosia’s haiku touch the reader powerfully.”

The new, quarterly Ambrosia haiku journal is published by Modern English Tanka Press.   It comes in print form (as a 4.25″ x 6.87″ paperback pocket book) and as a PDF ebook (a steal at $4.95), both of which can be ordered from Ambrosia‘s Lulu.com webpage.  You can subscribe to the print edition here.  However, we are most pleased to tell fellow lovers of genuine haiku that Ambrosia is also available for free as a digital online magazine.

In addition to numerous poems by our Honored Guest poet Laryalee Fraser (you’ll find them below), this first issue of Ambrosia features several poems from each of these poets: Hortensia Anderson, Susan Constable, Bill Kenney, Michael McClintoch, Jo McInerney, Kirsty Karkow, and Raffael de Gruttola, plus offerings from twenty other haijin.

lightning storm —
biting into the blackness
of licorice

…. by Laryalee Fraser – Ambrosia (Issue 1 – Autumn 2008)

In his Editor’s Note, Denis tells us: “Ambrosia considers the traditional poetic aesthetics of Japan as necessary, not in order to pay homage to the tradition, but because without their understanding and skillful use, writing haiku worth reading is difficult, if not impossible.” At a time when some editors seem to mistake artifice for originality, unusual for unique, contrived for creative, and juvenile for rejuvenating, the f/k/a Gang applauds Denis Garrison for reminding us that the haiku genre does indeed have a recognizable shape and scent, and for insisting on standards of quality.

Or, as our crankily frank Prof. Yabut might say:

They may be one breath long, but every brain fart is not a publishable haiku!

Thanks to Laryalee Fraser for sending me over to Ambrosia, and for penning these haiku, which can found in Ambrosia (Issue 1 – Autumn 2008).

dragonfly —
skirting the edge
of a heron’s stillness

frayed sunlight
between the pilings —
summer’s end

cornflowers —
between the clouds
a handful of sky

a rainbow
over autumn maples…
the laundry forgotten

drowsy morning…
the bird that belongs
to the song

…. by Laryalee FraserAmbrosia (Issue 1 – Autumn 2008)

p.s. If you prefer quirky commentary to quirky poetry, we remind you to get a virtual shot of hot caffeine at the BabyBarista weblog (see our prior post), which was selected this week for the 2008 ABA Journal Blawg 100.  It’s a daily soap opera about the “reality” of life as a junior barrister at the English Bar — with characters to love and loathe, and plenty of ethical and anthropological issues to ponder over a cup of java.  If you enjoy BabyBarista, like we do, please consider voting for it in the “Beauty Pageant” going on from now until Jan. 2, 2009, at the ABA Journal website, by heading over to the Quirky category.

[orig. haiga here]

lipstick on his
coffee mug –
steam rising



  1. Enjoyed Laryalee’s poems.

    A glass of red for Professor Yabut!

    Lipstick on a coffee mug?
    What a waste!

    By the way, I don’t always drive
    between the lines.

    Comment by Yu Chang — December 4, 2008 @ 6:30 pm

  2. Hi, Yu. Thanks for your comments. Prof. Y has probably imbibed enough already today.

    As for that coffee mug, you’re usually pretty good at imaging how the lipstick might have gotten there and why the steam is rising.

    And, having often driven with you, I decline to opine upon your driving habits.

    Comment by David Giacalone — December 4, 2008 @ 6:46 pm

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