Monday, June 14, 2021

Hexapod Haiku Contest, 2021 - Frost Entomological Museum

Honoured to have the following work chosen for the Haiku Laureate Award (category: ages 18 and older) in the 2021 Hexapod Haiku Contest:

outdoor wedding
an unexpected flurry
of cabbage whites

Judges' Comments:

Everyone knows wedding planning has its stresses. When a couple decides on an outdoor wedding they are taking a chance; an outdoor wedding has the added stress of weather. And yet for some couples it is worth taking the risk of having a rainy or windy wedding day, in order to tie the knot in the great outdoors. In Debbie Strange's haiku, the setting is clearly outlined in the first line. However, the particulars are carefully omitted. Is it in a park, a person's backyard, a formal garden, or a field? Cabbage whites, the insect in this haiku, are considered hexapod generalists. They have adapted to survive in many different habitats, so in this regard the author further allows the reader to imagine their own version of an outdoor wedding. Debbie Strange uses a technique created by Master Matsuo Basho called sokkyo, or spontaneity, when using the word "flurry." In the course of a wedding ceremony there is typically a great flurry of emotion when either of the nearlyweds enter the scene. However, the author pivots to the cabbage whites who are having their own flurry of activity. Perhaps a trailing dress or footsteps stirred up the butterflies, or the butterflies may have been attuning to something else. There is room to wonder. Debbie Strange adeptly taps into the excitement one feels at a wedding without any direct reference to emotion or the wedding party. Although scientists bristle at the idea of appreciating an invasive species such as the cabbage white butterfly, the author of this haiku finds a way to express beauty through the butterfly's presence in the world. And you wouldn't want a white butterfly at one's outdoor wedding? It is good luck, we hear, and it has even become a wedding business — called butterfly release.

—Anne Burgevin and Dr. Kadeem Gilbert

Serow: Journal of the Akita International Haiku Network, Volume 4, Spring 2021

Grateful to be a featured poet in this issue! 

The transcript of this feature may be viewed under the "Articles/About" tab of this blog.

The Haiku Foundation - New to Haiku: Advice for Beginners, May 2021

My thanks to Julie Bloss Kelsey for inviting me to take part in this interview series!

The transcript of this interview may be viewed under the "Articles/About" tab of this blog.

A New Resonance 12: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku, Red Moon Press, 2021

Honoured to be one of 17 poets chosen for this anthology. My thanks to editors Jim Kacian and Julie Warther for selecting the following poems, and for their lovely commentary:

Strange's keen pictorial sense is on display throughout these poems, and it comes as no surprise to learn that she is a painter and photographer—these poems brim with tableaux. It is a simple matter for her to have us visualize a field of lupine leading on to a mirroring sky, a pika daubed gold, and the dim illumination of swans on a night pond. But she is also a storyteller—there are volumes suppressed behind a father's plough, an unknown sibling, an extended stretch of knitted silence. In a sense, then, we can reckon her haiku to be extremely condensed haibun, with the prose to be provided by the reader, and the haiku, as is most common (and just as she tells her stories) beginning at the end. Add to this her felicity with images and we recognize her to be a multimedia artist in the long tradition of haiku poets, like Buson, for whom all the arts were in play. 

fields of lupine
where does the sky

deserted farm
the random acts
of hollyhocks

porch swing
songs where we least
expect them

rusty sun
father's plough returns
to the earth

unmarked grave . . .
a thousand red maples
offer their leaves

the sister
I didn't know I had . . .

pine forest . . .
the advice I'd give
my younger self

moonless . . .
a dark lake lit
with swans

marsh reeds
we learn the secret
language of wind

owling . . .
we wait for the other side
of silence

city sirens
the wolves that used to
sing us home

on the taiga a glimpse of something bigger

a pika gathers stems
of light

firelight knitting another length of silence

river stories
we always begin
at the end

Publication Credits:

Stardust Haku 22
The Heron's Nest XXI:3
Modern Haiku 48.3
The Cicada's Cry (2020)
THF Haiku Dialogue Week 19 (2019)
The Heron's Nest XXII:2
Soka Matsubara International Haiku Competition
The Heron's Nest XIX:2
Akitsu Quarterly Fall (2019)
Modern Haiku 50.3
Shamrock Haiku Journal 42
Presence 58
Iris International Haiku Magazine 5
Wales Haiku Journal Haiga Gallery (2018)
Under the Basho (2017)

"porch swing" appeared in Prairie Interludes, the Snapshot Press eChapbook Awards winner (2020), which was also shortlisted for The Haiku Foundation Distinguished Books Award (2020); "pine forest" received an Honorable Mention in the Soka Matsubara International Haiku Competition (2020); "city sirens" was the runner-up senryu for the Shamrock Haiku Journal Readers' Choice Awards (2019); "alpenglow" received a commendation in A Little Haiku Contest by the Croatian haiku magazine Iris (2018).

The Cherita: The Word Healers Anniversary Anthology, June 2021

we are tethered

to this earth
and to each other

our veins,
blue rhizomes searching
for light in the dark

A Cherita Lighthouse Award
The Cherita, August 2019

Fireflies' Light: A Magazine of Short Poems, Issue 23, June 2021


Our Best Haiga: Black & White Haiga/Haisha, May 2021

 Curated by Lavana Kray

May 11, 2021

(Note: this haiku was first published in #FemkuMag 19, December 2019)

May 22, 2021

(Note: this haiku was first published in Creatrix 49, June 2020)

Our Best Haiga: Black & White Haiga/Haisha, April 2021

Curated by Lavana Kray

April 25, 2021

(Note: this tanka art was first published in Ribbons 16.1, Winter 2020)


Otoroshi Journal, Volume 1, Issue 2, Summer 2021

Ghoulishly excited to have my first horror tanka prose featured in this new horror-themed journal. My thanks to editor Lori Minor and Joshua Gage!


I feel a frisson of fear as she unpins the emergency button from my bed. The intravenous needle tears a hole through my skin and blood spurts from the wound. My bedding becomes drenched with urine and stomach acid as the catheter and feeding tubes are yanked out. Taking my brittle hands in hers, she kisses the tip of each finger before breaking them, one by one. I am without oxygen, but conscious enough to understand that this is what I deserve. With a final gasp, I beg for her forgiveness.

the sin-eater
the sin-eater

Moonbathing, Issue 24, Spring/Summer 2021

a slick
of moonlight across
dark water
the way our wounds
fill up with silver

Random Sampling, Haiku Canada Members' Anthology 2021

forgotten grave
only the small bones
of leaves remain

Commended Haiku
2020 Polish International Haiku Competition

Failed Haiku - A Journal of English Senryu, Vol. 6, Issue 66, June 2021

Theme: "Back from the Dead"

killdeer chicks
the roller skates
of our youth

timeworn the clock that can't be wound back

yarn bombing
we imagine the colour
of life without war

Daily Haiku, Charlotte Digregorio's Writer's Blog, June 2021

city sirens
the wolves that used to
sing us home

Runner-up Senryu, Readers' Choice Awards 2019
Shamrock Haiku Journal, Number 42, 2019

Cold Moon Journal, June 2021

Theme: Moon - June 5, 2021

full moon
a strawberry ripens
in the basket of sky

Blithe Spirit, Vol. 31, Number 2, May 2021

My thanks to Colin Blundell for the wonderful review of The Language of Loss: Haiku & Tanka Conversations, which may be accessed under the book's tab!

pleats of light
fold into the valley . . .
mountain goats

moving away
the liquid whistle
of a bobwhite

everywhere we look
even the smallest
leaves its signature
on this mountain

Autumn Moon Haiku Journal, 4:2, Spring-Summer 2021

pollen clouds
the meadow threaded
with butterflies