by Erin Schmiel
Many haiku of quality combine unexpectedness with inevitability —that “shock of mild surprise” (Blyth), followed immediately by the felt-significance of “Of course, that’s just as it is.” — Robert Spiess
My favorite form of poetry is the haiku. It’s the only kind I like to write, and it’s one of my favorite to read. The short seventeen syllable form is a refreshing break from long prose—the distillation of an image in nature makes the haiku like a breath of fresh air. Breathe deeply these short pictures, sit by the water and hear the lapping of words, and drink up the inspiration.
On the hunt for haiku, a good first step is Haiku Journal—take the link above to Issue 26, their most recent. They list the authors and then the haiku. Scrolling down and reading these short tidbits is a treat to for the eye and ear. “As stilettos skip across stars and leaves mutely fall,” enjoy.
These next haiku are from Boston Literary Magazine, Haiku Spring 2013. They boast dedication to helping writers publish, they “offer feedback and encouragement,” and they welcome resubmissions once they’re polished. This site also is another example of posting all of the authors first before the haiku themselves. Given that they’re so short and easy to list, this is an interesting formatting choice.
This next journal has time on its side, as it is the oldest haiku journal outside of Japan. The quote on their website, from Small Press Review, says, “You ain’t serious about haiku unless you subscribe to Modern Haiku.” Here in the latest issue, Autumn 2013, you can read haiku and senryu laid out on the page differently than the previous sites, the small poems woven across the page elegantly and tastefully. Senryu are similar to haiku in length, but are about human mistakes rather than nature and can be playful in tone.