The purpose of this feature is to introduce  poets who are not known to the  many newcomers of haiku and to give praise to these haiku poets who have often been over- looked or underrated by the establishment so that they will not become forgotten. It is hoped that this monthly column will also serve as an instructional and inspirational guide to currently emerging future writers. 

Many people who have become interested and got started writing haiku, my- self included, were attract- ed first to translations of the Japanese Haiku Masters such as Basho, Buson, Issa, Shiki, etc. Most people read the haiku of these Japanese Masters before being introduced to the haiku of English haiku poets. The big presses are partly to blame, but now that we have the Internet, people have greater options than they have ever had before. English haiku now has about 35 or 40 solid years of history and development. The old masters of Japan, from the Basho period to the post-Shiki era, are interesting and enjoyable to read and study (if the translations are good); but it does require quite a bit of knowledge, understanding, and study of Japanese (and Chinese) history, culture, religion, etc. to fully and properly appreciate many of these tiny poems. Volumes of commentaries and critical studies have been written in Japanese, English, French, German, Dutch, Romanian, Spanish and other languages. This process was pretty much
necessary 20 or 30 years ago when North American haiku was experiencing its
growing pains, trying to come into its own, hoping to someday gain its own freedom and independence. 

That day has now finally arrived! There are English haiku masters  who have not been included in major haiku anthologies or have not had a collection of haiku that has been widely
read. Some had collections of haiku that were very poorly distributed, being read only by a few for per- haps a year or two and then were quickly forgotten. There are now hundreds and hundreds of haiku chapbooks and mini-chapbooks that have been published, but most get read by only a small percentage of the total haiku community. Most haiku poets submit regularly to the various haiku publications, but most of these haiku enthusiasts only subscribe to two or three or four at a time. Back-issues are not high in demand and issues of haiku magazines that have been discontinued are very difficult to obtain. The result is that many haiku poets' works get scattered about in the haiku magazines and mini- chapbooks over time, thus readers never really get a true overview of the haiku poet's best work over the years. Most of the haiku publications do a pretty good job though of re- printing haiku, contained in articles written by haiku poets who have been a- round for a number of years, thus a few "haiku classics" are saved from disappearing into oblivion. That of course is the primary function of a haiku anthology - to preserve the best that has been written over the years. Unfortunately, this is a nearly impossible task! There is not enough publication space avail- able, so naturally politics comes into play and some extremely deserving people get left out while some lesser deserving people get in. People who have just started developing themselves in the art of haiku composition should stop buying the Japanese haiku translations (for a little while) and start buying collections of haiku written by living  haiku poets. 

    The current Poet Profile of the Month is:

Lorraine Ellis Harr

Read past Poet Profiles:
Helen Chenoweth.
Paul Reps

Beatrice Brissman Jane Andrew Evelyn Tooley Hunt Ana Takseena Roberta Stewart Magnus Mack Homestead Steve Thompson Viola Provenzano
, Mentor Addicks, Harvey Hess, Mary Truth Fowler. Alan Pizzarelli, Ana Barton, Margaret G. Robinson, Mary Dragonetti:
Richard Wright

Janice  Bostok

John J. Polozzolo ZOLO
Josť Juan Tablada
Anne McKay


Yu Chang

Sanford Goldstein

ai li

Imperial Majesties of Japan

How To Submit A Poet's Profile


More about Haiku


  Column Copyright ©Jane Reichhold 2001.
Page Copyright © AHA Books 2001.