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

February 25, 2009

all that great haikai

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 10:53 am

In this last week of new posting at f/k/a, how can I possibly put together a piece that pays adequate homage to the vast body of haikai — haiku, senryu and related poetic-literary genres — that our Honored Guest Poets have allowed me to share with you?  In two words: I can’t.

Beginning in late November 2003, with a little feature located in our Sidebar called “haikuesque,” this weblog has brought you “one-breath poetry” by some of the finest English-language haiku poets alive (plus hundreds of translations of the work of 19th Century Japanese Haiku Master, Kobayashi Issa, by David G. Lanoue).  In total, 27 well-known and respected haijin have generously let me share their poetry with you, in my role as Haiku Missionary, bringing the joys of “real haiku” to lawyers and other folk not familiar with the genre. [The post “Yes, Lawyers and haiku” explains why haiku seems like a perfect art form for lawyers and others in our too-busy society.]  Little did I know that rubbing elbows with some of the best haiku poets would inspire me to work hard at the craft myself, and would also result in my making some of my very closest friends.

Other than repeating here my heartfelt, immense gratitude to each of our Honored Guests, there really is no sufficient way to express my thanks or sum up their contribution to the success of this weblog.  As suggested here, I have neither the time nor inclination to select my “favorite” haiku by each poet.  Happily, their haikai will remain at this site for as long as Weblogs at Harvard Law School exists.  So, I hope readers of f/k/a will use our search function or go often to our Honored Guest Poets Index page, and click on links to each poet’s f/k/a archive.   Then, sample their wares, and let them seduce you with the charms of haiku.

In alphabetical order, and with haiku-like pith, the f/k/a Gang says: “many thanks for all that great haikai; best wishes, and ‘auf Wiedersehen’ ” to our Haiku Family: Roberta Beary, Randy Brooks; Yu Chang; Tom Clausen; Devar Dahl; Alice Frampton; Barry George; Lee Gurga;  Carolyn Hall; Gary Hotham; Jim Kacian; David G. Lanoue; Rebecca Lilly; Peggy Willis Lyles; Paul Miller; Ed Markowski; Matt Morden; Pamela Miller Ness; W.F. “Dr. Bill” Owen; Tom Painting; Andrew Riutta; John Stevenson; George Swede; Hilary Tann; Michael Dylan Welch; and Billie Wilson.

alone at sunset
i pick a pair
of faded daylilies

the morning rush—
the whiteness of last night’s snow

….. by David Giacalone – Legal Studies Forum (Vol. XXXII, No. 1. 2008)

Instead of further farewell fanfare regarding our Honored Guest Poets, I’m going to do what I would have done in the normal course of events this week:  Present more haikai selected as among the very best of their genre for inclusion in “white lies: Red Moon Anthology 2008” (see our prior post for details).

Here are two linked-form pieces written by three of our most-honored Guest Poets.

. . . first, a rengay by John Stevenson and Alice Frampton:

Taking Turns

another drought year
we hold our breath
as it begins to sprinkle

in and out the tide
takes the rain

between parched
and sodden lands
an exchange of emails

a rowboat turns
360 degrees

we try to be glad
when we hear our prayer
has been answered elsewhere

a smile from the child
at the hydrant

…. by John Stevenson and Alice Frampton – “white lies: Red Moon Anthology 2008
orig. pub. Frogpond 30:3

. . . and, here’s a haibun by Jim Kacian:

it happened again

last night, the way it always happens–i slivered some
tinder for the fire, then ramped it up into an ardent
blaze that lit the undersides of the leaves.  i warmed
some food over the flames, ate it slowly and with
attention.  i washed out the pots and stared into the fire,
watching the sparks rise and fall and finally go black
against the black sky and earth.  i felt the cool come in
over the water on the winds.  i listened to its white noise.
i listened.

camping alone one star then many

…. by Jim Kacian – “white lies: Red Moon Anthology 2008
orig. pub. –  Dover Beach and My Back Yard: British Haiku Society Haibun Anthology 2007 (Edited by Colin Blundell and Graham High)


  1. End of an era… Thanks, David, for six years of sharing.

    Comment by John Stevenson — February 25, 2009 @ 8:41 pm

  2. Yes, you need a sabbatical, but there is no need to say good bye. Besides, I still don’t know what a haiku is.


    PS Zaijian is good bye in Chinese, and it means “See you again.”

    Comment by Yu Chang — February 26, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

  3. Many thanks, Yu and John. No way you guys are rid of me. When the snow melts and the pooper-scoopers do their magic, we will be rolling our bocce balls in Schenectady’s Central Park. Thanks to f/k/a and haiku, I’ve made two in-person friends for a lifetime.

    Comment by David Giacalone — February 28, 2009 @ 4:05 am

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