Friday, 29 September 2017

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Friday, 22 September 2017

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

pink streaked sky
a final pigeon
flies home

Accepted for the BHS Members Anthology 2019

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The seven deadly sins

the dogs have sex
and stop our car

one cat
two bowls
he eats them both

the time?
flash of expensive watch
one of many

the cat watches the mouse
but does nothing

the prisoner
is summarily executed

the young lion
watches the old lion
and attacks

the obstacle
not seen
before falling

security light

shows Mr Fox

the way to my bins

Monday, 11 September 2017

silent shredder
of all my thoughts

Commended in the IAFOR Vladimir Devidé Haiku Award 2018

LHA Ref:

Commended, Vladimir Devidé Haiku Award 2018, April 2018

The results of the IAFOR Vladimir Devidé Haiku Award 2018 were announced by Professor Myles Chilton at The Asian Conference on Arts & Humanities in Kobe, Japan, on March 30, 2018. This year the award, now in its eighth year, received more than 700 submissions from 71 countries. The Grand Prize Winner, 12 Runners Up and 20 Commended entries were selected by His Excellency Dr Drago Štambuk.

Living Haiku Anthology

The Haiku Registry

haiku resources page

This page, which continues to evolve,
gathers together some useful online resources on haiku

British Haiku Society

Blithe Spirit (Journal of the British Haiku Society)

See also anotherkindofpoetry

Haiku Society of America

Frogpond (The Journal of the Haiku Society of America)

World Haiku Review

The Official Magazine of The World Haiku Club

The Heron’s Nest

The Heron’s Nest, founded in 1999, is a quarterly online journal. A new edition is published during the first week of March, June, September, and December. We publish multiple pages of fine haiku in each issue, plus three Editors’ Choice Haiku; one of which is presented with the Heron’s Nest Award, and receives special commentary. The Heron’s Nest also appears in a single annual paper edition anthology each April.

Kigo words

Haiku: The Poetry of Focus with Scott Mason (this is an excellent lecture on Vimeo)

modern Haiku

modern Haiku describes itself as: An Independent Journal of Haiku and Haiku Studies. A great deal of free content is available and a great description of what a good haiku and senryu should be like:

Haiku is a brief verse that epitomizes a single moment. It uses the juxtaposition of two concrete images, often a universal condition of nature and a particular aspect of human experience, in a way that prompts the reader to make an insightful connection between the two. The best haiku allude to the appropriate season of the year. Good haiku avoid subjectivity; intrusions of the poet’s ego, views, or values; and displays of intellect, wit, and facility with words.
The above is a normative definition, and haiku of various kinds not squaring with this definition can be easily found, even in the pages of our journal.

Senryu is a verse in the haiku form that focuses on human nature. Although Modern Haiku has a best-senryu-of-issue award, separate sections for haiku and senryu have been discontinued because we find it is impossible to draw a sharp line between the two in English-language verse.
The editors of Modern Haiku use the term “haiku” inclusively (and loosely) for both haiku and senyru and consider both for publication on an equal footing.

Speculations of Robert Spiess, the long-time editor of Modern Haiku

A Hundred Gourds

A quarterly online (free to access) journal of haiku and other forms such as tanka and haiga

Poetry Pea
A website for those who love to read, write and listen to Haiku. An especially nice feature of this webpage is the regular podcasts by Patricia McGuire and her efforts to write a daily haiku.

The Haiku Foundation

Daily email with one book to download weekly and some really good pages of haiku; subscribe (free) here

Mission Statement

The Haiku Foundation has two primary missions:

1) to archive our first century of English-language haiku,
2) to expand possibilities for our second.

All other haiku groups—from journals to societies to conferences—have been created to help the individual poet realize his or her creative dream, be it education, publication or social contact. The Haiku Foundation does not follow this model. THF instead is a series of projects organized not for poets per se, but for haiku itself. The realization of these projects will in due course help all haiku poets. The Haiku Foundation is where poets go when they want to give back.

The Haiku Foundation publish a journal of haiku scholarship: Juxtapositions


Haiga is a Japanese concept for simple pictures combined with poetry, usually meaning haiku.

Shangri-La: James W. Hackett’s Life in Haiku

A fascinating article about the relationship between Haiku and Zen and the person who was James W Hackett

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

The VCBF hold an annual competition for haiku related to cherry blossom and they also have two good resource pages on About haiku and Teaching haiku.

The Living Haiku Anthology

To be aware of who we are, where we are: to connect with ourselves, to connect with community. To be vulnerable, to taste exotic and familiar landscapes of poetry, to drink in words being drawn, to enrich our lives, to remind ourselves that in difficult times we are poets together.

The Wales Haiku Journal

The Wales Haiku Journal is an online journal of contemporary haiku poetry. The journal regularly publishes a wide range of haiku poetry and special features related to the haiku form. Featuring selections of work by internationally acclaimed and emerging haiku poets alike, it is the first English-language haiku journal to be released in partnership with a national arts publication. 

Presence (Britain’s 

leading independent haiku journal)

Presence is a haiku magazine, specialising in publishing high quality haiku, senryu, tanka, haibun and related poetry. It appears 3 times per year. Each issue is typically 80-100 A5 pages, and contains articles on haiku practice and book reviews in addition to the poetry.

We welcome submissions from experienced and new haiku writers alike. Before submitting for the first time, please have a look round the website to get an idea of the sort of work we are looking for.

The Australian Haiku Society

In December, 2000, Australian haiku enthusiasts banded together to form HaikuOz, The Australian Haiku Society.

  • to promote enjoyment of haiku within Australia,
  • to bring Australian writers to the world haiku community.
Any person may be a member; there are no membership fees.

The Mainichi

The Mainichi is a Japanese daily newspaper that published haiku in English


Roadrunner ceased to publish in 2013 but there is an archive of copies between 2004-2013.

The Mamba: Journal of the African Haiku Network

These are free to download at this link but the journal ceased publishing in 2017.

The Haiku Foundation Digital Library

A great online resource for free haiku journals.

Under the Basho

From the webpage:

Under the Basho is an annual organic journal in the sense that accepted submissions will be added to the journal as the year proceeds through the submission period from March 1st through to November 15th.

December 1st will be considered the publication date of the completed annual journal.

Mission Statement

Under the Bashō's mission is to solicit and publish a wide-range of haikai-derived writings as they are being manifested in the 21st century. See the article Haiku in English – A General Guide to Genre Distinction by Richard Gilbert.

In recognising the many trends in contemporary forms that stem from the Japanese haikai tradition, we have broken down what is being currently written into categories of differing approaches to form, technique, content, and style.

The Living Senryu Anthology

The Haiku Society of America states that:
A senryu is a poem, structurally similar to haiku, that highlights the foibles of human nature, usually in a humorous or satiric way.
A senryu may or may not contain a season word or a grammatical break. Some Japanese senryu seem more like aphorisms, and some modern senryu in both Japanese and English avoid humor, becoming more like serious short poems in haiku form. There are also "borderline haiku/senryu", which may seem like one or the other, depending on how the reader interprets them. Many so-called "haiku" in English are really senryu.


Acorn is a biannual journal dedicated to publishing the best of contemporary English-language haiku. In particular, it showcases the individual poem and the ability of haiku to reveal the extraordinary moments found in everyday life.

Daily Haiku

DailyHaiku is a print and online literary publication that exists to promote and preserve the written art of haiku. DailyHaiku publishes the work of Canadian and international haiku poets, blending contemporary, experimental, and traditional styles to push the boundaries of English-language haiku. Through our special features section and invited poet series, DailyHaiku also aims to chronicle and explore the diverse and ever-changing landscape of contemporary haiku-related forms.

(Daily Haiku ceased publication in 2016)

Directory of Haiku Magazines

Millikin University students and others are encouraged to read, subscribe to and submit their original work to haiku magazines.

One of the best sources of information about current contemporary haiku magazines and web sites is located at:

Haiku Poetry Links, Guide to Internet and Print Resources, edited by Michael P. Garofalo, also has a comprehensive set of links with helpful descriptions.


Creatrix is the online journal of poetry and haiku published quarterly by West Australian Poets Inc., the peak poetry body in Western Australia. Established in 2006 as an incorporated not-for-profit organisation, WAPI is run by volunteers and relies on membership fees, ticket and book sales, donations, sponsorship and grants to fund all its activities.
Creatrix is concerned with the sharing of WAPI members’ poetry, so each quarter some fifty to sixty six per cent of poems submitted are selected ranging from poets who are first timers, to emerging and established poets. A heavy emphasis is on first timers in order to encourage them and help them get started into the world of poetry publication and distribution. A small lien is given to already published poems allowing them fresh circulation if the writer feels they should again come down from the shelf, but the source must be acknowledged. Only three poems per member can be submitted each quarter and it is rare for a member to have all three selected.
Selection of poems is therefore based on quality for established poets and regular contributors, or being a first timer or new contributor. This helps to build a comradely spirit amongst our members.

Interview with Alan Summers
An extensive interview with some good examples, advice and links to other useful webpages.

Haiku Spirit

An independent and bilingual space for haiku (Un espace indépendant et bilingue pour le haïku) - they publish Seashores.

Weird laburnum

Weird haiku. Modern haiku. New haiku. Western haiku. Gendai haiku. Short form. Minimalism. And beyond. [submissions:] (only acceptance emails will be sent).

Heliosparrow Poetry Journal
We have no agenda for it other than the intention of creating an artistic and free-spirited community. As an outgrowth of this, Heliosparrow is a journal for the free expression of poetic thought and creative spaces of thought. We aren’t hung up on form or on single authorship and await the future spring.

Big Ben falls silent
at my age
will I ever hear him again?
(with thanks to Frank Skinner)

steep mountain path

I step over

the variegated leaf

we struggle uphill
how I envy
the waterfall

mountain moth

has Basho's spirit

followed me here?

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Friday, 8 September 2017

painting the shed

memories of children

just memories

Discovering haiku

watch hands
no fingers
pointing to time

This was my first published haiku in Blithe Spirit (The Journal of the British Haiku Society) in 2017. I 'discovered' haiku over twenty years ago when I picked up The Haiku Hundred in a shop in Edinburgh. I read it with interest and occasional amusement, but without much appreciation and took little further interest. But I must have shown some interest in haiku as my wife bought me Haiku Poetry Ancient & Modern a few years later, after we had moved to Hull. It was here that I learned that haiku traditionally follow a format of seventeen syllables in three lines and I 'dabbled' with a few ideas. It is as well that these are all lost now - they were terrible and I was simply trying to be amusing; the 'spirit' of haiku had not been acquired. Like many things I start I gave up, my mind swamped by work and academic writing.

Almost twenty years on something happened and I have no idea what or, specifically, where except that it was on a plane. I think I read something about haiku - a genre of poetry I had barely heard about or thought about in years and immediately started to think and to see things about me in seventeen syllables. A quick Google and I learned for the first time - although it had been explained in the preamble to Haiku Poetry Ancient & Modern that there was more to the genre than seventeen syllables; there was also a 5:7:5 arrangement. This added to the challenge but I began to arrange the 'poems' I was writing in this way and then to break these down so that they scanned and the breaks in the lines made some sense. Looking back, some of these were terrible and not haiku at all - just doggerel - but it was keeping me amused on long-haul flights and long, lonely stays in foreign countries and it helped me to reflect on my time there. I decided not to be shy about this and created this Haiku blog and started posting my haiku; I am glad to say that many of these have been deleted. I also evolved the blog such that all haiku are lower case, have no titles and have no pictures related to them. There are different views on this; I think a haiku should stand-alone, but I may change my mind.

Back home after one journey I dug out The Haiku Hundred and Haiku Poetry Ancient & Modern and packed them for my next long-haul. I read all of the haiku contained in them again and it had not struck me, until this reading, that they were not all in the 5:7:5 format. I was having fun with that format and already - in my usual arrogance - considered myself a 'traditionalist'. Looking more closely at The Haiku Hundred I noted that there was a British Haiku Society and checked it out online. I immediately joined and received the most recent issues of Blithe Spirit and a newsletter and my eyes were really opened to the spririt of haiku. Many of the haiku were brilliant: moving; amusing; inspiring, and the essays were helpful in leading me away from the constraints of the 5:7:5 format and to experiment with shorter pieces and also to begin writing haiku that seemed more like haiku. In Blithe Spirit I also discovered other related forms of poetry: tanka; haibun and senryu (in fact, most 'haiku' are senryu - and mine are certainly mostly senryu). I also learned that haiku - strictly speaking - have the specific characteristics of a word indicating the season (a 'kigo') and a cutting word (a 'kireji') which breaks the haiku into two parts. I had seen frogs - one of my favourite animals - referred to frequently in haiku and had wondered why until I learned that this indicates spring. The frog features in the most famous haiku by the acknowledged founder and foremost expert in the genre, Basho:

Old pond
leap — splash
a frog.
This haiku exists in many translations; above is my favourite and a very common one. It is short and clear. The kigo word is obvious; I still have to be clear where the kireji is in every haiku and I am not always sure but I think in the above it is 'splash'. In Blithe Spirit haiku and senryu are presented together with no distinction and, likewise, in frogpond, the Journal of the Haiku Society of America, which I also joined.

One thing I have found very useful is sharing haiku and my Burmese friend - living in Singapore - Su Wai Hlaing has been very enthusiastic and helpful. She started by responding in kind to my early 5:7:5 'haiku' and then as we discovered more about haiku we began to adapt our styles. We have also been experimenting with renku and tanka. At the moment I think we need to improve our haiku! The cross-cultural and cross-religious aspect here has been intersting and helpful: Su Wai is Buddhist and I am a Roman Catholic. Of course, haiku has its roots in Zen Buddhism and I have to be clear, in my own mind, where I stand. My interest in Buddhism has certainly increased but my own faith has not changed. Haiku is for everyone.

Finally, I have enjoyed finding more resoures to read and where haiku can be shared such as the Facebook pages for The British Haiku Society and Sharing Haiku Knowledge. There is also, based in the United States, The Haiku Foundation who have a fun app THF Haiku where you can read haiku at random and from whom you can receive blog postings. They also offer a lot of free content such as books to be downloaded. I am building up my own library of haiku books but I will not list these as I think that would deprive you of the fun of discovering them yourself. However, I have created a Haiku resources page and here are the links to my published haiku: 'watch hands'; 'rising river steam'; 'the ploughman'. And some haiku sequences on SoundCloud: 'haiku poetry by Roger Watson'.
You can listen to this as podcast

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Tuesday, 5 September 2017


parallel speaker

with no hook

on my attention

my mind drifts

and I think of you

Sunday, 3 September 2017

'Fragrance' renku with Su Wai Hlaing - again, harder than we thought 

the signs of life
numbers on the screen

_ your Haiku made me think of loneliness so_

bored and alone
turning towards the window

even the cuckoo
is not singing any song

the first conker falls from the tree
and lies alone on the ground

the cold wind
takes away the last
rusted leave

_worried about losing my thoughts_

the thief of dementia
steals my memories

my old diaries
giving rooms for

life goes on with memories
drifted away

Friday, 1 September 2017

Attempt at a related renku - not as easy as I thought - with Su Wai Hlaing

bird droppings

on the window sill

but no cat

food scattered on the table

no sign of a mouse

TV programme

children laughing

Tom and Jerry

last night's comedy show 

audience with laughing mouths

koi fish

gaping for food 

watched by a frog

little tadpoles paddle

following the mother fish

the flotilla

sails to sea

windows wave farewell

through the curtain

rosy-fingered dawn

Homer rises

the love of Christ

drips from The Cross

with blood and water

A contrasting renku with Su Wai Hlaing


like marbles under my pillow 

steal my sleep

though blinded by stars

the gift of sleep comes

winter nights

even the lice on my cat 

are awake

yet shooting stars streak

across the summer sky

my forehead 

sparks with sweat 

in summer nights

the chill wind blowing outside

rattles the icicles on my window

sun melting snow

beyond the curtains

as I dream of sleep

glancing up a blue tit gone