Friday, December 25, 2015

World Haiku Association, November 2015

136th Monthly Haiga Contest

Under the Basho, December 2015

Concrete Haiku

awakening the morning blackness of cawcawcawffee


Personal Best

stone cairns
a faded cap drifts

First Place
The 2015 Annual Harold G. Henderson Awards for Best Unpublished Haiku Competition
Haiku Society of America

TanshiArt, 2015

Tanka alone originally published in Poetry Nook, Volume 5, 2014

Tanka alone originally published in Poetry Nook, Volume 1, 2013

Prune Juice, Issue 17, November 2015

Moongarlic E-zine, November 2015

A Scrape of Stars

Membrane of Night

Moonbathing, Issue 13, Autumn/Winter 2015

a sirocco
blows us homeward
scoured clean
our every wound

Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan, Washington D.C., Autumn 2015 Haiku Contest

curling leaves
you turn your face up
to the sun

Honourable Mention
JICC Autumn 2015 Haiku Contest

Note from the Administrator:

The autumn-themed contest attracted 590 haiku submissions from participants living in more than 30 countries. The results, beyond being captivatingly beautiful, demonstrated a true flowering of this traditional Japanese art form as it is interpreted by many different cultures.

The Judges were three internationally-recognized, prizewinning poets whose ties to the international haiku community helped the contest go viral: Roberta Beary, Abigail Friedman, and Jim Kacian.

There were nearly 600 poems, and only six Honourable Mentions were chosen, so congratulations are in order! Your poetry is exemplary, and we were honoured to have the chance to appreciate it.

—Matthew Levitas

Irish Haiku Society, International Haiku Competition 2015

rocky ledge
a wolf with the moon
in its mouth

3rd Prize
8th IHS, International Haiku Competition 2015

Note from the Administrator:

Over 250 haiku by poets from twelve countries/territories were submitted to this year's competition. It was adjudicated by Anatoly Kudryavitsky, and judged blindly.

Two poets receive the 3rd Prize: Ernest J. Berry and Debbie Strange

"A terrific poem, Debbie! And the first ever Canadian prize-winner in our competition. Congratulations!"


Hedgerow Poems, Number 56, November 2015

The Artistry of Rust

The Peeling Sky

Hedgerow Poems, Number 55, November 2015

Frameless Sky, Issue 3, December 2015

water striders
clouds cross-stitched
to the pond

dark-eyed junco
how could i have forgotten
the depth of yours . . .

twilit pasture
mares' tails brush
the hay moon

soap bubbles
drops of sun carried
on the wind

Eucalypt, Issue 19, December 2015

the bickering
of jays in evergreens
this morning
a new blue feather
in my father's cap

Edge, British Haiku Society Members' Anthology 2015

storm's landfall
another relationship
goes off the rails

Brass Bell, December 2015

moonlit lake
I brush the silver
from your hair

Gnarled Oak, Issue 5, November 2015

Blithe Spirit, Vol. 25, Number 4, November 2015

split chrysalis
all the ways we learn
to become small

my sharp edges soften

Akitsu Quarterly, Winter 2015

frost shards
splinter the air
winter prisms

snowy sky
we cross the bridge
into winter

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Ribbons, Volume 11, Number 3, Fall 2015

Going Back

big sky morning
ancestral homesteads
felled by wind
hollow bones whistling
songs I used to know

down washboard roads
between fields
plumes of the past lingering
on all I left behind

at day's end
light beams splintering
across shorn fields
on this moonless night
I, too, am camouflaged

NeverEnding Story, November 2015

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu

night drive . . .
a deer leaps over
the moon

Gems, July 2014

Chen-ou's comments:

A moment is keenly captured in Debbie's poem, whose thematic concern is counter to that of the "roadkill" haiku we often read in the journals.

World Haiku Competition, Lyrical Passion Poetry E-zine, 2015

the humming of wind
in barbed wire

Honourable Mention
2015 World Haiku Competition

blue sea glass
a man of war decays
in the sun

Honourable Mention
2015 World Haiku Competition

Comments from Judge Alan Summers:

Five brilliant haiku receiving honourable mentions, from an imaginative use of parentheses during a time of heavy snow; to storm clouds that may be inside a tulip; an antelope that is the hum of the wind in barbed wire; to the blue filtered light as a man of war decays; to the iconic tumbleweed where perhaps it wishes to ride the now defunct railway line possibly by a long gone ghost town.

These are astonishing honourable mentions all worthy of winning competitions in their own right.

Frogpond, Vol. 38:3, Autumn 2015

stone cairns
a faded cap drifts

1st Place
2015 Harold G. Henderson Haiku Contest

Comments from Judges George Dorsty and Tom Painting:

Take our first-place winner "stone cairns" for example: In ancient times piled rocks were called "stone men." So cairns can also be seen as human effigies. In our time, cairns are mostly used to mark trails for hikers. But what of the faded cap drifting down the river? On a symbolic level, the hat is to the cairn's permanence what the river is to transience. As the philosopher Heraclitus said, "You can't step in the same river twice." So the human-made trail markers are contrasted to the meanderings of the river, which is part of the natural world.

The success of the haiku "stone cairns" lies in the contrast between the permanent and the transient. The hat reminds us that human beings, while we may appear permanent, like the "stone men," are really transient and always changing like the river. This comes close to interpretation of the poem, but we must remember that for the poet the connection was "felt" rather than reasoned. Her/his task was to place the three—cairns, river, and faded cap—in juxtaposition so that we as readers might be able to make the same felt connection. And, maybe that's enough. The rest, as Shakespeare said in another context, is "dross."

Note: 657 poems were submitted to the contest

Brass Bell, November 2015

sunrise sunflower heads dangling a charm of finches

Bangor Haiku Group - Autumn Moon Haiku Contest 2015

in cupped hands
the harvest moon rests
for a moment

1st Place
2015 Autumn Moon Contest

Atlas Poetica, Number 23, October 2015

Nearly There

I told them I was dead, but not a single person there believed me . . .

the sign said
turn back, road ends here
I waken
from a brief sojourn
in another realm


Somehow, it seems that I am always the last to know . . .

a crow scrawls
asemic messages
between clouds
I could never read
the writing on your walls

Weapons of Mass Destruction

I was incredibly naive to think that you would be my only enemy . . .

how deadly
these red lily beetles
in my garden
after a swift attack
only fallen soldiers

Asahi Haikuist Network, November 2015

merlot moon
fires burn somewhere
close tonight

Thursday, October 29, 2015

NeverEnding Story, October 2015

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu

when I began
to lose my hair
I wove
a shirt of myself
for your shroud

Presence 49, February 2014

Chen-ou's Comments:

Elegantly and sparsely written, this tanka conveys a depth of emotion most readers won't forget. The last two lines lift the poem up a notch.

Skylark, Vol 3, Number 2, Winter 2015


When I live on the prairie, I long for the sea. When I live by the water, I yearn for the land. I am always living either half-empty or half-full, my totem selves pulling me in opposite directions.

my weathered skin
crusted with salt and dirt
the aftertaste
of this life and the last
where do I go from here

World Haiku Association, September 2015

134th Monthly Haiga Contest

Award of Excellence, WHAC8 Commemorative Haiga Contest

World Haiku Association, October 2015

135th Monthly Haiga Contest

VerseWrights, 2015

TanshiArt, 2015

Presence, Number 53, October 2015

she carries
the weight of a curl
in her locket
all that remains
of their still-born son

Modern Haiku, Vol 46.3, Autumn 2015

cabbage whites
shreds of the letter
I never sent

Haiku Canada Review, Vol 9, Number 2, October 2015

beamed up
headlights point skyward
after the crash

the robins
have taken their leave
and with them
the cracked turquoise shells
of your sunken eyes

Gusts, Number 22, Fall/Winter 2015

walking through
the garden labyrinth
in reverie
I think of all roads taken
that led from there to here

Gogyoshi Monthly, Issue 1, October 2015


I am the feathered thing
that passes through you
sinking into you, singing unto you
a familiar plaint echoing
through hollow bones

Wrong Direction

red-zippered welt of road
dead-ends north at desolation
arrows south to desecration
the route unclear, destination unknown
all signs indicate that I am lost


anointed by the gush of blood
baptized in the hush of guilt
unchained, unclaimed
I slide out of and into
uncharted waters

Frozen Butterfly, Issue 3, October 2015

Haiku Video Journal on YouTube

sea smoke
gulls fading into mountains
into sky

dry lightning
her mattress scarred
with cigarette burns

United Haiku and Tanka Society, Fleeting Words Tanka Competition, 2015

wishing seeds
cartwheel through warm air
how quiet
this fleeting moment
this belief in miracles

2nd Honorable Mention

Judge an'ya's comments:

Second Honorable Mention goes to Debbie Strange from Canada for this fine tanka. Her choice of words "wishing seeds" and "cartwheel" allow readers wonderful visuals. Once again as in Anne's tanka, the poetic device of repeating a phrase firstly in nature and again in reference to human life, proves to be quite effective.

Cattails, September 2015

a red canoe
drifts between pines
his last portage

popping open
the sound of summer
caragana pods

crape myrtle
the skinned knees
of small boys

sudden sleet
an owl chick tapping
its egg tooth

a line of mergansers
ripples the clouds

old headstones
with mossy shoulders
leaning against
one another's curves
we take comfort here

wishing seeds
cartwheel through warm air
how quiet
this fleeting moment
this belief in miracles

Second Honorable Mention
2015 Fleeting Words Tanka Contest

Comments from the Judge:

Second Honorable Mention goes to Debbie Strange from Canada for this fine tanka. Her choice of words "wishing seeds" and "cartwheel" allow readers wonderful visuals. Once again as in Anne's tanka, the poetic device of repeating a phrase firstly in nature and again in reference to human life, proves to be quite effective.

—Fleeting Words Contest Judge an'ya, USA

Brass Bell, October 2015

love notes
the heart-shaped tracks
of wapiti

Atlas Poetica Special Feature, October 2015

Yin, Yang and Beyond

this (wo)man revered
by one culture
how could (s)he be
so reviled by another

Asahi Haikuist Network, October 2015

snow geese
a chevron tattooed
on the moon

A Hundred Gourds, Issue 4:4, September 2015

apogee moon
in the deep distance
your light
making the least
of every shadow

Acorn, Number 35, Fall 2015

solar flares
a spill of buttercups
in the meadow

Sunday, September 20, 2015

NeverEnding Story, September 2015

Cool Announcement: A New Release, Warp and Weft, Tanka Threads

My Dear Readers:

I'm happy to share with you this exciting news: NeverEnding Story contributor Debbie Strange just published her first collection of tanka, titled Warp and Weft, Tanka Threads (edited by M. Kei and available in print and ebook at Amazon), which "weaves tanka into short threads of three each, each triptych building into a larger sequence that tells the story of a poet with a raven's eye."

Selected Tanka:

at the stoplight
she squeegees
car windows
her scrawny arms tattooed
with poetry and addiction

my hands
tend the wild roses
upon your grave
in blood and blossoms
I sanctify your name

beneath the roses
these questions:
are you not more than ash
am I not more than rain

riding pillion
my heart
against your back
we unzip the highway
at the velocity of night

moonbeam quills
through our windows
the grammar of shadows
into the poetry of light

at the top
of a ferris wheel
two spiders
spin neon orbs
into the night

a nimbus
around the frost moon
above us
the hushed wings
of a snowy owl

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Behind the Tree Line - Haiku Anthology, 2015

Haiku, Acorn, Number 33, Fall 2014

Wild Plum, Issue 1:2, Fall & Winter 2015

Haiga Corner

Haiku, Akitsu Quarterly, Summer 2015

The Bamboo Hut, Autumn 2015

a washboard road
woven between fallow fields
leads me backward
to a past so much smaller
than I had remembered

Irish dancers
their lightning steps flash
phosphorescent waves
thunder at my feet

wrecking balls
expose long-held secrets
these crumbling facades
we are masterpieces

my body with woad
I succumb
to the strange allure
of melancholia

in the "nuisance ground"
black bears
catching the scent of me
catching the sight of them

note:  "nuisance ground" is a term used for a rubbish dump near a small town

On the Strand

our beach wedding
ribbons of dreams fluttering
from the old boat's mast

the singing sands
on a wind-strummed beach
you murmur my name

wet beach towels
we dance a fandango
in the hot breeze

Akitsu Quarterly, Fall 2015

the morning stiffness
in my spine

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Undertow Tanka Review, Issue 7, September 2015

the x-rays
of my flattened breasts
pressed roses
these black petals etched
with traceries of white

the sweater
mother knit for me
a rainbow
fading at the edges
her evanescent life

when we were girls
there was an unspoken rule
avoid loitering males
why was I ashamed when
he exposed himself to me

dead houseflies
litter my windowsill
not even compound eyes
see the way out of here

gulls nesting
on the cottage roof
fallen feathers
sprouting from my boots
today, my feet have wings

Honourable Mention
Undertow Tanka Review First Tanka Contest, 2015

NeverEnding Story, August 2015

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu

great blue heron . . .
leaning into the mirror
i become still

Cattails, May 2014

Chen-ou's Comments:

There is an analogical relationship subtly established between the great blue heron and the speaker. The description of the speaker's body posture, the mirror, and the state of mind in Ls 2&3 successfully carries symbolic significance.

NeverEnding Story, May 2015

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou-Liu

geese unzip the sky
a snowflake trembles
on your eyelashes

VerseWrights, 2013

Chen-ou's comments:

Debbie's use of the zoom-in technique is effective, and the contrasts between the two parts of the poem open up an interpretative space that allows the reader to co-author the poem.

The Heron's Nest, Vol. 17, Number 3, September 2015

summer camp
children sieve the sky
for tadpoles

Brasss Bell, September 2015

One-Line Haiku Issue

folding unfolding the origami of monarch butterflies

TanshiArt, 2015

Kokako, Number 23, September 2015

cactus flower
a prickle of fear
at the news

sun catcher
the flicker's tail
a yellow fan

a pod of orcas
rubbing bellies on stones
at low tide
another rare wonder
that cannot be explained

Blithe Spirit, Vol. 25, Number 3, August 2015

fool's gold
glitters in the sun
except for this nugget
my father gave me

in the barn
an old red barber's chair
spins tales
for raggle-taggle sisters
dizzy with summer magic

pink bear scat
the saskatoon berries
no one picked

Cultural Response Poem

music on the wind
an open field blossoms
with flower children

(The Winnipeg Folk Festival
Bird's Hill Provincial Park, Manitoba)

Atlas Poetica, Number 22, August 2015


this is how
to make your deathbed
this is the way
you fold transgressions
into hospital corners

this is how
to write your death poem
this is the way
you hold your last breath
when the plug is pulled

Hedgerow Poems, Number 44, August 2015

Part 4 of the Resident Artist Collection...

The Altered Reality Series

I have a lot of fun enhancing my photographs with a variety of digital techniques. This gives me double the creative pleasure and helps to extend the reach of the original works...

Runner-up, British Haiku Society Tanka Awards, 2014/15
Soft Thunder Anthology, 2015

3rd Place, United Haiku and Tanka Society Second Annual "AHA" Awards, 2014
Cattails, May 2014
Forthcoming collection, "A Year Unfolding", from Folded Words in 2016

Moonbathing, Issue 11, Fall/Winter 2014

Honourable Mention, World Tanka Competition, 2013
Lyrical Passion Poetry E-zine, October 2013

Undertow Tanka Review, Issue 1, August 2014

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

World Haiku Association, August 2015

133rd Monthly Haiga Contest

World Haiku Association, July 2015

132nd Monthly Haiga Contest

World Haiku Association, June 2014

121st Monthly Haiga Contest

World Haiku Association, July 2014

122nd Monthly Haiga Contest

Hedgerow Poems, Number 43, August 2015

Part 3 of the Resident Artist Collection...

The White Spaces Series

I love the sense of mystery surrounding white spaces in art. These iPad sketches are not meant to be realistic portrayals, but rather, a means for the viewer to fill in the blanks...

Gems, An Anthology of Haiku, Senryu and Sedoka, 2014

Red Lights, Volume 11, Number 2, June 2015

Sketch only, Winner of The Heron's Nest 2014 Illustration Contest (front cover)
Haiga published in Cattails, September 2014

Ribbons, Volume 10, Number 2, Spring/Summer 2014

Honourable Mention, Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, Tokutomi Haiku Contest, 2014

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum English Haiku Contest, 2015

7th Contest Selected Haiku Collection

rusted gate
old lilacs blooming
for no one

empty nest
on the for sale sign
mourning doves

Hedgerow Poems, Number 42, August 2015

Part 2 of the Resident Artist Collection...

The Watercolour Series

I am drawn to the serenity of watercolours. These original photographs were digitally manipulated in order to create painterly effects...

Honourable Mention, Haiku Canada Betty Drevniok Award 2015

GUSTS, Number 21, Spring/Summer 2015

A Hundred Gourds, Issue 4:2, March 2015

Atlas Poetica, Number 20, February 2015

Acorn, Number 34, Spring 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hedgerow Poems, Number 41, August 2015

I am grateful to Caroline Skanne for inviting me to be the "resident artist" for the next four weekly issues of hedgerow: a journal of small poems. She has always been supportive of my endeavours, and her editorial and artistic skills in the production of more than 40 issues of this journal are remarkable!

The Glass Series

I am always entranced by the magic of light. In this series of photographs, I tried to capture the play of light through glass in a minimalistic manner...

Bright Stars, Volume 1, January 2014

Inner Art Journal, February 2014

LYNX, Issue 28:3, October 2013

Cattails, September 2014

All the Shells, Tanka Society of America Members' Anthology, 2014