anthology fever . . .

what made me
reach to hold this stranger’s face
between my hands . . .
his poet eyes seeing all
my days today tomorrow

Bright Stars Anthology vol. 4, 2014

For the first time in many years, the Tanka Society of America is putting together an anthology of members’ tanka, edited by Atlas Poetica‘s M. Kei. It hasn’t been released yet, but I’m eager to read the selected tanka. (The Haiku Society of America is putting together a similar anthology of members’ haiku, which also should be released shortly.) In the meantime, M. Kei asked if I’d agree to have the above tanka published in his Bright Stars anthology. Here’s another one that appears in that new series:

trying hard
to look on the bright side
this moonless night . . .
I wonder which star to choose
for luck, love, happiness, life

Bright Stars vol. 4, 2014

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Throwback . . .


This is my sister’s story. My sister, who carries the genes of our mother’s grandmothers —Miriam and Polly and Mary—in her face, in her arms, legs, feet, hands. My sister, whose skin is red, like a sunset that bleeds into the Oklahoma sky on summer nights. My sister, who glows with the light of a thousand fireflies.

the name mother calls out
from her deathbed

Contemporary Haibun Online 10:2, July 2014 

Posted in Contemporary Haibun Online, Family, Haibun, Haiku, Haiku-doodle | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

new moon rising . . .

A special thank you to Jenny Ward Angyal and Mary Frederick Ahearn for their lovely moon tanka (below) in celebration of my recent birthday.

the self
I’ve clung to
all these years
on water

          –Jenny Ward Angyal
         Skylark 1:1, Summer 2013

backing out
of a dream
to find
just the moon
at my side

     –Mary Frederick Ahearn

I love them both, so I had to put their names in a hat to determine who would receive a book of poetry from me; the winner–via my husband’s random draw–is Mary. (Please email your address to me and I’ll post a 2015 Texas Poetry Calendar to you, Mary.)

In addition, I’m posting the two following moon-related haiku I ran across while I was visiting Miriam Sagan’s wonderful blog (Miriam’s Well) recently. Both are included in Miriam’s new book–a call and response conversation titled dream that is not a dream, featuring Sagan and the late Elizabeth Searle Lamb’s haiku.

A fascinating project, dream that is not a dream was born out of Sagan’s friendship with Lamb’s daughter and executor, and contains Sagan’s responses to Lamb’s previously unpublished haiku (which came to light after her death). I can’t wait to receive my copy, which can be ordered through Red Moon Press. In the meantime, here’s a sampling:

dreaming the dream
that is not a dream moonlight
in the dreamcatcher

     –Elizabeth Searle Lamb

moonlight on snow crust
dark trunks of trees
New Year’s dream

     –Miriam Sagan

Posted in Haiku, Haiku-doodle, Moon, Tanka | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

summer sky . . .

summer sky . . .
she lets her kimono
gently fall
before wrapping herself
twice in moonlight

red lights 10.2, June 2014

Another Supermoon–July 12! Another poem about moonlight. I’ll be featuring a few more small moon poems here over the next couple of weeks, in honor of my birthday (July 20)–you remember, the day men walked on the moon . . .

Why not join me, for a chance to win something wonderful? (A book of small poems, I’m thinking . . . . ) Just send me a haiku or tanka about the moon in a comment here. I’ll post all entries in a celebration of the summer moon before drawing a winner’s name from my old gardening hat one minute after midnight (C.S.T.), July 21.

Posted in Birthday, Full moon, Haiku, Haiku-doodle, red lights, Summer, Tanka | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Nothing more . . .

Nothing more

remains of the house her father built close—too close—to the tracks. Not the wrap-around-porch where she and her sisters perched like a charm of songbirds. Not the wooden swing hung from the porch ceiling. Or the morning glories that climbed the whitewashed columns.

Neither is there a sign of the plot her mother tended, coaxing harvests of turnips and tomatoes and okra from the red dirt clay. Nor of the chickens that ranged there, beloved as the most beloved, until they were called one by one to grace another table. Nowhere the steady hum of her sisters’ many voices: laughing, crying, whispering, sighing their way through hardscrabble winters and white-hot Oklahoma nights.

homecoming . . .
the high lonesome sound
of a passing train

Contemporary Haibun Online 1o:2, July 2014

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eagle sighting . . .

eagle sighting
the passing trucker and I
share a thumbs-up

The Heron’s Nest XVI:2, June 2014

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one strand . . .

one strand of Mylar
dangling from last year’s nest . . .
still we wait
for barn swallows to return
needing nothing more than that

Skylark 3, Spring/Summer 2014

Posted in Birds, Haiku, Haiku-doodle, Skylark, Tanka | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

in my handwriting . . .

in my handwriting
you see an optimist’s slope–
the slanted lines
taking flight off the page
with a fluttering of wings

A Hundred Gourds 3.2, March 2014

As spring winds into summer, I find myself being optimistic about many aspects of my life: consistent rain that has kept our well fat and happy; the parade of spring flowers I continue to watch open and close each day from my window; friends; family; my writing community; my writing life. In the past few weeks, I’ve had many opportunities to reflect on the good fortune that I enjoy thanks to the world that poetry has opened up to me. If you (or anyone) need a testimony about the value of writing (and reading) poetry, you only have to ask me.

During the past three years since I have turned my hand to the Japanese forms of haiku, tanka and haibun, I have met the most amazing people who, daily, touch me with their words, their wisdom and their acts of kindness and generosity. Through them, my world has, paradoxically, become both smaller and larger, and definitely richer. How otherwise, I wonder, might I be able to connect with creative spirits living outside my small neck of the woods? People who live in such far-flung places as New Zealand and Australia, Japan, India, and every corner of the United States and Europe.

red lights editor and tanka poet Marilyn Hazelton recently asked me how writing tanka has impacted my life. It’s difficult to answer that question fully, except to say “in every way.” And, for that, I am exceedingly grateful.

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Slow Growing Ivy: A Review of David Terelinck’s Tanka . . .


a shaded corner
in the hospice garden
— slow growing ivy
as if there is all
the time in the world

–David Terelinck, Slow Growing Ivy

Reading David Terelinck’s poetry makes me feel as if there is all the time in the world–or at least enough to savor this, his second book of tanka. Every poem in the collection is an affirmation of what it means to be human, and every poem brings the reader closer to the poet’s redoubtable spirit–providing a window into a world filled with love, loss, resilience and humor. Whether reflecting upon death, as in

the mellow notes
from a stilling vesper bell–
and when god is done
how shall I fill
these wingless hours . . .

or celebrating the mystery and power of romance,

the pearls
of Cassiopeia spilled
across the sky . . .
a nightjar calls from the tree
where we carved our initials

the poet’s love of both language and nature draws the reader into a world that is tender but never maudlin or overly sentimental. It is clear from reading this collection of 115 individual tanka (followed by a handful-and-a-half of tanka sequences and several “prose journeys”) that Terelinck’s voice is a mature one–and I mean that in the best possible way. His five-line poems tell stories based on experience, pathos, understanding, and a life well-lived. Take, for example,

a drone of bees
in summer lavender
trailing our fingers
through slow-running waters
and childhood memories


black pines
in Bashō’s garden –
what twists
and turns await
on my narrow road

There are several tanka in this collection that illuminate the poet’s travels, many of them lighthearted as well as sensual, such as

then the coolness
of Egyptian sheets . . .
scent of dusk
and your skin tasting
of the land of spices


how late
the coming of spring
Salzburg nocklern
served by a waiter with eyes
bluer than tomorrow

Others provide further insight into Terelinck’s explorations of the world he inhabits, like this one

we find comfort
in slow-turned pages
and spinning globes . . .
year in, year out
the constancy of us

These are just a few of the many memorable poems to savor in Slow Growing Ivy. I could go on and on, citing tanka from this collection that I know I will return to again and again. For now, though, I’ll end with a simple thank you to David for the gift of his words, . . . and the comfort of “paginated friends.”

To purchase a copy of Slow Growing Ivy, contact David for details via e-mail at:

Posted in David Terelinck, Haiku, Haiku-doodle, Tanka | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Skylark: A Tanka Journal . . .

With its newest release, Claire Everett’s biennial tanka journal, Skylark, celebrates the beginning of its second year of publication.  And what a welcome addition to the world of tanka it is. Claire, a talented tanka poet and tanka prose editor for Haibun Today, is known for her lyrical approach to a traditionally lyrical form. Her works have consistently graced the pages of leading tanka journals, and her love for the form led her to her newest venture, which features a wonderful sampling of contemporary tanka poets.

I’m proud to have my own tanka showcased in Skylark and happy to encourage others to support Claire’s quality journal.

over and over
the lesson I must keep on
learning . . .
so necessary until
I hear the hummingbird’s song

Skylark 3, Spring/Summer 2014

Posted in Haiku, Haiku-doodle, Skylark, Tanka | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments