Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Failed Haiku - A Journal of English Senryu, Vol. 5, Issue 49, January 2020

Eucalypt, Issue 27, December 2019

fingers of barley
strum the prairie skies
in this heat
our bones become liquid
our minds become still

Blithe Spirit, Vol. 29, Number 4, November 2019

journey's end
the red eyes
of a loon

sunflower fields
I never knew yellow
until now

the slough
behind our farmhouse
with mallard drakes
in praise of morning

the vibrant trills
of prairie meadowlarks
rising up
from every fence post,
these old familiar songs

Root, British Haiku Society Members' Anthology, 2019

beachcombing . . .
a fossil emerges
out of extinction

Hedgerow Poems, Number 129, Autumn 2019

Note: haiku first published in Modern Haiku 50.3, Autumn 2019

Naviar Records - Haiku Music Challenge 312, 2019

Featured Haiku December 25, 2019

Please enjoy the music created in response to my haiku:

frozen trough
I cup the warm breath
of my horse

1st Place
2018 Sharpening the Green Pencil Haiku Contest

#FemkuMag: An E-zine of Womxn's Haiku - Issue 19, December 2019

Guest Editor: Elizabeth Alford

snow shadows we find a deeper meaning


freezing rain . . .
every worry doubles
in size

The Bowerbird Tanka Group - 21st Bowerbird Tanka Workshop, November 30, 2019

I extend my deep gratitude to Julie Thorndyke for the following generous and sensitive commentary:

Appraisal by Julie Thorndyke

stubble fires
scarred fields under siege
we surrender
to the acrid breath
of smoking dragons

Cattails, January 2014

"When I read this poem for the first time, it gave me shivers up my spine. No doubt it is because in Australia we are in the grip of early bushfires: a spring in which even rainforests are burning, and koalas are dropping from heat in a scarred landscape which no longer resembles the lush seaside towns of our childhood summer holidays.

stubble fires
scarred fields under siege

Debbie Strange is writing about specific agricultural fields but for me they are the country landscapes of memory, brought to mind through the poet's use of sibilance and the hard, consonant sounds of 'f's and 'b' and 'd' and 'c/k'. The metaphor of the dragon representing fire is traditional, but the specific mention of "acrid breath" makes the image very real and reinforces for me the allusion to lost childhood places. The terrible smell after the bushfire. The desolation brought by a monster more real than Smaug himself. The word 'siege' represents the battle between nature and man, as in Tolkien's mythical war. How I wish that our native trees were able to mobilize, like Ents, and carry our wildlife to safety.

But no: the third line, the classic tanka pivot, is chilling: "we surrender". Hope is gone. We accept the dragons' power. It is a death scene.

I have never met Debbie Strange, except on the pages of tanka journals. I have learned that her words are elegant and piercing, and often they provide that little emotional jolt that make tanka such a powerful form of poetry. Here she uses a clasic tanka shape; fewer than 31 syllables; there is a rhythm in the lines and a build-up to line 5 and the drama of the dragon image.

There is plenty of room for wondering in this poem. Smoke can be used as a tool, and perhaps that is another message that readers could glean from these words. The mark of an effective tanka is that there is space for readers to bring to it their own interpretations.

This poem

stubble fires
scarred fields under siege
we surrender
to the acrid breath
of smoking dragons

is for me, a call to arms—we must react against these words and not surrender to the dragon but work to change the seemingly inevitable descent into smoke-filled disaster on this planet. Thank you, Debbie."

San Francisco International Competition for Haiku, Senryu and Tanka, 2019

the coiled tips
of fiddlehead ferns
remind me
that every forest knows
how to make music

2nd Honourable Mention Tanka

Judge's comments:

These coiled fern tips remind me of what's called the "scroll" at the top end of a violin, which is surely why these ferns are named for fiddles. These tips will uncoil, as if to release their music. All aspects of the forest—the high canopies of swaying trees, the forest duff below, and everything in between—all contribute to the music of the forest. The poet notices and is filled with appreciation for the harmony of nature.

—Michael Dylan Welch

World Haiku Review, December 2019

father waxes
his handlebar moustache . . .
crescent moon

Zatsuei Haiku of Merit
Shintai Haiku Category

Stardust Haiku, Issue 36, December 2019

solstice moon
our skis cross-stitch
the snow to earth

Atlas Poetica, Number 39, 2019


when death
calls me home
let it be
while I lie with you
in the wilderlands

I surrender
myself to mystery
that something immutable
waits beyond my ken

Monday, December 30, 2019

Monday, December 23, 2019

Irish Haiku Society International Haiku Competition 2019

soft rime
a chickadee's song
becomes visible

Honourable Mention
12th IHS, International Haiku Competition 2019


over 320 entries judged blindly by Anatoly Kudryavitsky

The Haiku Foundation, Per Diem, November 2019

Selected by Pravat Kumar Padhy for the monoku theme of "Celestial Bodies": November, 2019

a curl of eyelash on your pillow crescent moon

Brass Bell, April 2016

The Haiku Foundation, Haiku Dialogue, November 2019

"Social Issues" prompts by Lori Minor: poverty and hunger

how hard it is
to ask

Purple Cotton Candy Arts, Will You Still Love Me? A Puppy Haiku Story, December 2019

Will You Still Love Me? A Puppy Haiku Story: written by Christine L. Villa, illustrated by Jiliane Vilches, and published by Purple Cotton Candy Arts.

I'm honoured to have the following haiku included:

ice cream truck . . .
our Dalmatian appears
out of nowhere

Australian Haiku Society, December 2019

Summer Solstice 2019 AHS Haiga Kukai: Seasonal Entry

firestorm a dusting of red on the glacier

Summer Solstice 2019 AHS Haiga Kukai: Non-Seasonal Entry

patchwork quilt . . .
a happy cow produces
more milk

(Note: these haiku were written in response to artwork by Ron Moss)

Seashores - An International Journal to Share the Spirit of Haiku, Vol. 3, November 2019

prognosis . . .
in the cranberry bog
cinders of light

fern spores
the ellipsis after
your goodbye

Moonbathing, Issue 21, Fall/Winter 2019

laden boughs
tremble in ambient light
I catch
a fleeting memory
of you holding my hand

Daily Haiga: An Edited Journal of Traditional and Contemporary Haiga, December 2019

Featured Artist: December 20, 2019

Note: this haiku was first published in Presence 62, November 2018

Daily Haiku, Charlotte Digregorio's Writer's Blog, December 2019

the wild crocuses
you loved

2nd Place
1st Morioka International Haiku Contest, 2019

Tanka Origins, Issue 2, December 2019

My thanks to the editor, an'ya, for her lovely commentary!

painted ladies
hitch rides on the wind
my journey
was without direction
before you came along

"The tanka by Debbie, on a favorite subject of mine, painted lady (butterflies). This assumption is created by lines one and two. However, line three twists this into something more. Depending on how you read this tanka, the reference in lines four and five could mean ladies-of-the-night, one of them given direction by whomever came calling. A tanka that allows readers more than one option."

Monday, December 16, 2019

Daily Haiga: An Edited Journal of Traditional and Contemporary Haiga, December 2019

Featured Artist: December 6, 2019

Note: haiku first published in the Peonies Haiku Anthology, 2019

Under the Basho, 2019

Personal Best

I skip a pebble across
the universe

1st Place, 2019 OtherWordly Intergalactic Haiku Competition
(first publication in Seashores, Volume 2, April 2019)


maple leaves ignite
the dusk

fields thronged
with sandhill cranes . . .
corn moon

bugling elk
fog softens the shape
of morning

the curve
of a dune's shadow . . .
day moon

Modern Haiku

rivulets of rain . . .
I trace the shape
of loneliness

veils of dust . . .
at least we have
this sunset

Tinywords, Issue 19.2, November 2019

(Note: haiku without art first appeared in The Haiku Foundation's blog in 2019)

The Cherita, September 2019

Issue: "wondering where"

sea maidens

out of mist

hover, then rise
into dawn's
golden embrace

recurring dream . . .

I am falling
like slow-motion rain

you reach for me
but I slip away,
eyes wet with wonder

A Cherita Lighthouse Award

we have journeyed

so far away
from our intentions

let us ship oars
for a moment
and simply, drift

A Cherita Lighthouse Award

summer's end

we dangle memories
over the dock's edge

this weathered wood
etched with secrets
and lies

A Cherita Lighthouse Award

Stardust Haiku, Issue 35, November 2019

homeless vet
a red leaf flutters
above the grate

Ribbons, Volume 15, Number 3, Fall 2019


we are witness
to the birth of dawn
our paddles
silent for a moment
dripping with light

dolphins stitch
the blue edge of sky
to ocean
I imagine our bodies
unwrinkled and nimble

fishing boats
appear to hover
in mid-air
as heaven becomes
one with the water

night falls
upon this island
we open
our mouths and swallow
an elixir of stars

Prune Juice, Issue 29, November 2019

Presence, Number 65, November 2019

the rain that never

snow day
we make crow footprints
into peace signs

king tide
an orca's breath snuffs
out the sun

every night
this river lulls me
to sleep
with the same story
it told my ancestors

Haiku Canada Review, Vol. 13, Number 2, October 2019

blackout poetry all my little strokes

looking away
from our campfire
for a moment
we see that the stars
have been here all along

New Zealand Poetry Society International Poetry Competition 2019

The Perfect Weight of Blankets at Night - NZPS Poetry Anthology 2019

Contest judged by Gregory Piko

prairie thunder
I braid my sister's hair
with corn silk

Highly Commended

rosy dawn
our paddles stippled
with petals

Highly Commended

(note: there were 5320 entries to the contest)

NeverEnding Story, November 2019

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu:

frozen trough
I cup the warm breath
of my horse

First Place, 2018 Sharpening the Green Pencil Haiku Contest

Chen-ou Liu's Comments:

excerpted from comments by the contest judge, Cezar Florin CIOBICA, accessed at:


Frameless Sky, Issue 11, December 2019

Honoured to be the featured poet for the "Take the Challenge" contest for this issue. I chose Gregory Piko's lovely photograph to accompany this haiku:

redwoods . . .
a squirrel interrupts
our communion

I was also thrilled to be have my haiga video, "Watercoloured Words" included in this issue. It first appeared as part of the Haiku Foundation HaikuLife Film Festival in 2018.

#FemkuMag: An E-zine of Womxn's Haiku - Issue 18, November 2019

Haibun issue edited by Tia Haynes

not my fairytale

We used to make angels in the sand until our hair and skin sparked like fire on water. Now, I sit with my back against a chunk of driftwood, as hoary as this life without you.

castle ruins
a whale swims
up the moat

Failed Haiku - A Journal of English Senryu, Vol. 4, Issue 48, December 2019

Haibun issue edited by Sonam Chhoki

I was thrilled to learn that the following haibunga had been chosen for this month's cover:

Failed Haiku - A Journal of English Senryu, Vol. 4, Issue 47, November 2019

Rock and Roll Issue edited by Michael Lester

This kyoka is inspired by Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. I was pretty much a "folkie" until David Bowie expanded my musical horizons in the early 1970s.

Daily Haiga: An Edited Journal of Traditional and Contemporary Haiga, November 2019

Featured Artist: November 14, 2019

Note: this haiku was first published in Akitsu Quarterly, Fall 2018

Daily Haiku, Charlotte Digregorio's Writer's Blog, December 2019

northern lights
the blur of scarves
as skaters pass

Zatsuei Haiku of Merit
The R.H. Blyth Award, 2019
World Haiku Review, March 2019

Creatrix Poetry and Haiku Journal, Number 47, December 2019

country school
dust devils spin from
our bicycles

beach stones
I relax the muscles
in my forehead

Bleached Butterfly Magazine, Volume 1:3, December 2019

Autumn Moon Haiku Journal, 3:1, Autumn-Winter 2019-2020

autumn leaves
the missing colours
of my life

A Thousand Voices, Tanka Society of America Members' Anthology 2019

Edited by Alexis Rotella:

a mirage
shimmers above
golden grain . . .
I reach out to touch
my sister's halo

Another Trip Around the Sun: 365 Days of Haiku for Children Young and Old, 2019

Editor: Jessica Malone Latham

February 2

candlemas . . .
a doe's eyelashes fringed
with light

Akitsu Quarterly, Winter 2017

March 17

fog deepens
the sound of rabbits
nibbling night

Grand Prize, 2016 World Haiku Competition

May - honoured to have the following poem chosen as the featured haiku:

heirloom hollyhocks
I still see father kneeling
in a patch of light

The Heron's Nest 21.1, March 2019

May 21

the curled ears
of newborns

Brass Bell, October 2017

September 4

bone density . . .
the broken stems
of sunflowers

Creatrix 39, November 2017

September 8

harvesting night
an arc of moondust
from the auger

Creatrix 43, December 2018

September 22

in cupped hands
the harvest moon rests
for a moment

1st Place, 2015 Autumn Moon Haiku Contest

October 9

aspen grove
he fills his pockets
with pirate gold

Ephemerae 1C, November 2018

October 31

witches' butter
along a rotten log
speckled light

Acorn 38, Spring 2017

November 17

stark branches
the first flowering
of snowflakes

Award of Excellence, 2015 World Haiku Association Haiga Contest

December 20

sleigh bells
the hayloft rustles
with deer mice

Haiku Canada Review 9.1, February 2015

December 22

sugar cookies
we swallow each phase
of the moon

Frogpond 39.3, Spring/Summer 2016

All the Way Home: Aging in Haiku, 2019

Editor: Robert Epstein

golden years . . .
no one tells you about
the tarnish

Prune Juice 26, 2018

the growth rings
of otoliths and trees . . .
when did she
become smaller
than her daughters

2nd Place, 2017 Fleeting Words Tanka Competition

Note: the haiga above originally appeared in Failed Haiku 36, 2018

Note: the tanka above originally appeared in Blithe Spirit 28.2, 2018

Note: the senryu above originally appeared in Cattails, 2017

Akitsu Quarterly, Winter 2019

skating pond
the unopened lotus
beneath us

toboggan slide
children fill their pockets
with stars

I was honoured to have the following haiga appear on the inner cover of this issue:

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, Haiku Invitational, 2019

sakura petals
floating in the bath
we make amends

Honourable Mention
Sakura Award, Canada

Wales Haiku Journal, Autumn 2019

mom's last smile hangs
in the air

Cattails, October 2019

family photos . . .
Mom sweeps back
my mop of hair

crown shyness
the space we make
for each other

I measure
my horse at his withers . . .
these hands
know how to gentle
everything but you

a charm
of rufous hummingbirds
sipping nectar
wings blur the edges
between darkness and light

Tanka Editor's Choice

What stands out again is this poet's unusual use of language in her tanka. Instead of writing 'a flock' of rufous hummingbirds, Debbie penned 'a charm'. And charming they are, for who has not been spellbound by these birds suspended mid-air, wings a-blur as they sink their beaks into the center of blooms, their reddish-brown countenance glowing. While the simplest of language works best in tanka and affords more dreaming room, so too creative use of words that affords multiple understanding, a poetice device Debbie has mastered in many a tanka.

This tanka is a 'charm' in itself.

—Kathy Kituai

The Cherita, August 2019

Issue: "coming home late"

fog settles

nothing looks
the same

without you,
I do not recognize

how we loved

in the snow

my footprints
seem lonely now


an exhalation
of blackbirds

rising and falling,
your voice comes
back to me

I pull

my memories
behind me

this train
hurtling through a life
that was never mine

A Cherita Lighthouse Award

we are tethered

to this earth
and to each other

our veins,
blue rhizomes searching
for light in the dark

A Cherita Lighthouse Award


in this blanket
of stars

the Milky Way
swirls above us
like a song

A Cherita Lighthouse Award

Stardust Haiku, Issue 34, October 2019

morning prayers . . .
autumn leaves stitched
with dew

Poetry Northern Ireland - Panning for Poems, Issue 12, Autumn 2019

a blackened
volcanic tusk pokes
between clouds . . .
we unlace our tired boots,
and cool our feet in snow

Otata, Issue 47, November 2019

interrupted by snowy owls this winter darkness

frozen puddle the open eye at its centre

the barn that used to be red dust devil

NeverEnding Story, October 2019

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu:

grazing on sagebrush
at first light
the horizon stitched
to an infinitude of sky

A Hundred Gourds, 5:1, September 2015

Chen-ou Liu's Comments:

Enhanced by the cinematic "zoom-out" technique, the visually and emotionally evocative juxtaposition of antelope/grazing on sagebrush and the horizon stitched/to an infinit[e] sky makes this wildlife tanka effective.

Modern Haiku, Vol. 50.3, Autumn 2019

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

Human/Kind Journal, Issue 1.9, October 2019

Honoured to have my artwork, "Sinuosity", chosen for the cover of this month's fine issue!

Hedgerow Poems, Number 128, Summer 2019

Note: haiku first published in Chuffed Buff Books, Kigo: Seasonal Words, Issue 2, Summer 2014. The photograph originally appeared in my solo abstract exhibition, The Poetry of Light, in 2011.

A Moment's Longing, Haiku Society of America Members' Anthology 2019

first braces . . .
a puffin's beak fringed
with silver

Mariposa, Number 41, Autumn/Winter 2019

sea fog
white sails split open
the morning

whiffling geese
sift snowflakes between
their wings . . .
I've never felt your loss
more keenly than today

GUSTS, Number 30, Fall/Winter 2019

skim the hayfields . . .
father never
expected to hear
their songs again

twisted limbs
of driftwood define
the tides . . .
I look more like you
with each passing year

you carry me
across drifts of stars,
our breath
into northern lights

Frogpond, Vol. 42, Number 3, Fall 2019

meteor showers . . .
the time it takes to lose
a memory

#FemkuMag: An E-zine of Womxn's Haiku - Issue 17, October 2019

Erotic Issue


you rise over
these rolling hills
like the ecstasy
of morning, flushed pink
and wet with dew

you enter me . . .
a falling star
p l u n g e s
into the silence
of this dark river

Daily Haiku, Charlotte Digregorio's Writer's Blog, October 2019

fallow fields a light dusting of snow geese

Shortlisted for the Touchstone Award, 2018

prize pumpkins
our hayrack buckles
with light

Honourable Mention
The International Contest on the Theme of the Gourds, 2019

Daily Haiga: An Edited Journal of Traditional and Contemporary Haiga, October 2019

Featured Artist: October 5, 2019

Note: haiku first published by The Bamboo Hut, Spring 2019

Chrysanthemum, Number 26, October 2019

Translated into German

Incense Dreams, Issue 3.1 - Nature and Humanity in Little Poems, October 2019

Cha No Keburi - Italian Blog of Haiku, Senryu and Short Poetry

Translated into Italian by Lucia Fontana

a black filly
with one blue eye . . .

star trails . . .
we follow them
into morning

falling star . . .
the silver bracts
of protea

cloud fragments . . .
the slow blossoming
of stars

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Snapshot Press, The eChapbook Awards, 2019

I'm thrilled and honoured to announce that my haiku manuscript, Prairie Interludes, is a winner in the 2019 Snapshot Press eChapbook Awards!

The following link will take you directly to Snapshot Press, and I will post the link to my free ebook when it becomes available:

From Snapshot Press...

Snapshot Press is an independent publisher specializing in English-language haiku, tanka and other short poetry by authors from around the world.

Founded in 1997, our publications include anthologies, single-author collections, and annual editions of The Haiku Calendar. Our books have been honoured by the Haiku Society of America, The Poetry Society of America, and The Haiku Foundation.

'Snapshot Press sets the platinum standard for design and production values among haiku and tanka books. Their quality is unsurpassed. Indeed, books from Snapshot Press are always a tactile and poetic delight.'

—Michael Dylan Welch in Modern Haiku

Colorado Boulevard Poets Salon, September 2019

I was honoured to be the featured photographer in the Colorado Boulevard Poets Salon on September 4, 2019, hosted and curated by Kathabela Wilson. Grateful thanks to everyone who wrote poems in response to my photos!


(the flower will produce new blooms)

(the seed will find a new home)

(the tree will grow new leaves)

(the spider will craft a new web)

(the bird will build a new nest)

The Zen Space, Autumn Showcase 2019

Note: this haiku received a Commendation in the 2019 Iris Little Haiku Contest.

#FemkuMag: An E-zine of Womxn's Haiku - Issue 16, September 2019

thunderstones the pointed words he hurled at me


thrift shop . . .
the ins and outs
of fashion

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

The Heron's Nest, Vol. 21, Number 3, September 2019

summer solstice the length of a beaver's incisors

deserted farm
the random acts
of hollyhocks

The Cicada's Cry: A Micro-Zine of Haiku Poetry, 2019

Special Edition: Ocean

tide pools
the here and there
of fallen stars

The Bamboo Hut, Autumn 2019

forest bathing
I immerse myself
in your light

dew point
fountain grass bends
to the earth

calm lake
otters slip between

the cup of valley
fills with fog

a grebe's nest
the rise and fall
of our paddles

Stardust Haiku, Issue 33, September 2019

marsh dawn
our voices scatter flocks
of light

Stardust Haiku, Issue 32, August 2019

windblown silt
the frog digs in
a little deeper

Shamrock Haiku Journal, Number 42, September 2019

ghost apple
this emptiness

city sirens
the wolves that used to
sing us home

Kokako, Number 31, September 2019

ranunculus the delicate unfurling of dawn

slot canyon
the sunbeam only
a lizard sees

my basket
full of clothes pegs
I smile
at your jeans dancing
with my calico dress

taking shelter
in a graffitied doorway
the stray and I
decide to become
more than strangers

Human/Kind Journal, Issue 1.8, September 2019

Haigaonline, Vol. 20, Issue 2, Autumn 2019

The Life Cycle Challenge - Walking Stick Issue

#FemkuMag: An E-zine of Womxn's Haiku - Issue 15, August 2019

the many hats they wear working mothers


phantom pain . . .
the hauntings of invisible

Failed Haiku - A Journal of English Senryu, Vol. 4, Issue 46, October 2019

My gratitude to Guest Editor, Bryan Rickert, for choosing this haiga for the cover of the October issue of Failed Haiku!

Failed Haiku - A Journal of English Senryu, Vol. 4, Issue 45, September 2019

Daily Haiku, Charlotte Digregorio's Writer's Blog, September 2019

fading dreams . . .
the golden smoke
of tamaracks

The Snapshot Press Haiku Calendar Competition, 2018

Creatrix Poetry and Haiku Journal, Number 46, September 2019

evening shadows
the ground squirrel's
thirteen stripes

dappled light
the invisibility
of fawns

Colorado Boulevard Poets Salon, August 2019

I was delighted to be featured in the Colorado Boulevard Poets Salon (note name change from "Poetry Corner") on August 21, 2019, hosted and curated by Kathabela Wilson.

Finding Our Way Home

Broken things in nature often renew themselves with a change in seasons, much in the same way that human interactions can be mended by spending time in nature, and in deeper communication with each other, with the world, and with ourselves.

nightly news . . .
a beaver changes
our world view

cross the border
in search
of better lives . . .
we open our arms

Though we may long for home, sometimes there are physical or emotional barriers to overcome before we take that first step...

(Bridges to Cross)

(Doors to Open)

(Roads to Travel)

(Fences to Tear Down)

"And where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. The chain may lengthen, but it never parts." (Oliver Wendell Holmes)

Bleached Butterfly Magazine, Volume 1:2, September 2019

Australian Haiku Society, 2019

Spring Equinox Haiku String - September 23, 2019

we come to terms
with our past

for a moment
at the ocean's edge
plover prints

lark song
i finally believe
in something

Atlas Poetica, Number 38, 2019

tanka sequence:


taking lunch
to father in the field
we wend
our way through grain
and grasshopper song

w a i t i n g
for the hail to pass
hunkered down
between bales of hay
sisters holding hands

ricochet across
the prairie
our singing lost
to wind and rain

a rainbow
arcs above our barn
scudding clouds
chase us toward the lilt
of grandmother's voice

The Mamba, Issue 8 - Africa Haiku Network, September 2019

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum English Haiku Contest 2019

I decided to enter two 5/7/5 haiku this year, and was delighted to have them selected for the contest!

11th Contest Selected Haiku Collection

rising winter moon . . .
we drive across the prairie
alone with our thoughts

the departing spring . . .
he replaces online games
with a baseball glove

Morioka 1st International Haiku Contest, 2019

the wild crocuses
you loved

Second Prize (shared) - selected by Michael Dylan Welch
1st Morioka International Haiku Contest

The Haiku Foundation, July 2019

Haiku Music Challenge Number 28 - July 27, 2019

The Haiku Foundation chose three of their favourite compositions from the Naviar Records Haiku Music Challenge for the following poem:

I skip a pebble across
the universe

1st Place
2019 OtherWordly Intergalactic Haiku Competition

The Cherita, June 2019

Issue: "you bring me"


I empty myself
of this world

by wind on wave,
water on stone

Tanka Origins, Issue 1, August 2019

Honoured to have two tanka chosen for this inaugural issue. My thanks to the editor, an'ya, for her lovely commentaries!

bloom inside my lungs,
every sense
alive with the fragrance
of this exquisite world

"How great is it to be able to actually breathe in this tanka by Debbie, and let those wildflowers also bloom in our lungs! Debbie makes good use of multiple "l" sounds throughout. This is a tanka that truly takes us on a journey out of the material world and into a realm where everything is exquisite, and our senses come alive with the fragrance of wildflowers."

peace lilies
sprout in my garden
nurtured with the love
you couldn't give me

"A beautiful tanka shared with us by Debbie who has such a classic way with words! She accomplishes this in the first three lines by talking of "peace lilies" and "heirlooms". However, she surprises her readers in lines four and five when the direction of this tanka takes a melancholy turn. Debbie is very much adept at creating a whole story in just five lines, as you can see in this tanka."

Mayfly, Issue 67, Summer 2019

bivouacking . . .
mountains unfold
into lullabies

#FemkuMag: An E-zine of Womxn's Haiku - Issue 14, July 2019

hot (fl)ashes the combustibility of womxn's rights

Honourable Mention
Marlene Mountain Memorial Haiku Contest 2019

(note: the editor, Lori Minor, also nominated this poem for the 2019 Haiku Foundation Touchstone Awards)

Other work included in this issue:

magpie the white streaks at my temples

surface tension
we hold it together


This issue also features the following triptych from my book, Three-Part Harmony: Tanka Verses (Keibooks 2018):


mute swans
under a moon bridge
the things
I should have confessed
make no difference now

the peace
that accompanies
after this long drought
an ecstasy of rain

on this day
of my atonement,
your face
a fragile watermark
at the edge of sky

1st verse: First Place, UHTS Fleeting Words Tanka Contest 2016
2nd verse: GUSTS, Number 25, Spring/Summer 2017
3rd verse: Moonbathing, Issue 16, Spring/Summer 2017

(thrilled to note that the magazine has now changed its name to reflect "womxn")

Failed Haiku - A Journal of English Senryu, Vol. 4, Issue 44, August 2019

Bottle Rockets, Vol. 21, Number 1 (or #41), August 2019

barbed wire
the spring tidings
of magpies

Blithe Spirit, Vol. 29, Number 3, August 2019

fallen wasp nest
a ladybird brightens
each chamber

rickety fence
a row of bluebirds
holds up the sky

lakeside camp . . .
an otter's soft splash
as it slips
under the edge
of my dreams

across heathland,
our boots
wet with the dew
of starlight

Atlas Poetica Special Feature, August 2019

Death Poems

bind my body
with spanworm silk
lay me down
in a shaded garden
until I turn to earth

Akitsu Quarterly, Fall 2019

marsh reeds
we learn the secret
language of wind

intensive care
the last cuneiform
of snow geese

Mom's recipe . . .
my hollow pumpkin
a soup tureen

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Red Lights, Vol. 15, Number 2, June 2019

BOOK APPRECIATION: Three-Part Harmony: Tanka Verses

I was honoured to be chosen for this feature by the editor, Marilyn Hazelton. 

In response to her question regarding my musical background as it informs Three-Part Harmony:

I have been playing guitar, singing, and writing songs since the age of 12. My eldest sister was the main musical mentor in my life. I received my first guitar from her as a Christmas gift, and we often played music and sang together. She taught my sisters and me to sing harmony, hence the title and dedication of this book. Though she passed away when she was 28, every time I play my guitar, I think of her.

In response to her question regarding how I compiled the book:

It took about a year to finalize the manuscript. I began my eliminating poems that had appeared in my first book, Warp and Weft: Tanka Threads. I sorted the remaining published work into themed groups, and whittled the field down to approximately 300 tanka. This is like working on a huge jigsaw puzzle. I inserted each tanka into a set until they resonated with each other, thereby breathing new life into old poems.

In response to her question regarding my reflections on three tanka sets she chose at random:


curls of clouds
become passerines
each autumn
the low-angled light
invites me to follow

snow geese
scribe an ancient mystery
across the moon
their soft murmurs
catching winter's breath

a starling
m u m u r a t i o n
sifting the sky
she recalls the moment
her life changed shape

I have been an avid birder for 40 years. Birds inspire me on a daily basis, and they feature in many of my tanka. In murmuration, I tried to encompass the way birds make me feel, how they capture my imagination, and stir my emotion. Here, we have clouds shape-shifting into passerines, snow geese becoming scribes, and starlings changing the very shape of sky.

bread and tempers

that phone call
all those years ago
I still see
a serpent writhing
between her fingers

the argument
escalates all night
inside me
these paper-thin walls
only meant for wasps

we lived
above a bake shop
that summer
of bread and tempers
rising through the night

I find it cathartic and healing to share my joys and sorrows via the written word. I do not shy away from writing about the dark times in my life, because these experiences have helped to mould me into the writer I am, and the writer that I will become.

gunmetal nights

mule deer
resting in a thicket
by the slough
all over this world
the sound of guns

shots fired
another child dies
for a debt
her chalk outline
macabre street art

bullets of crows
on gunmetal nights
a deeper shade
of anguish echoes
in her bones

This set is especially meaningful to me, as I have a complicated relationship with guns. When I was a child, my father hunted to provide food for our family, so they seemed like a necessary evil, if you will. Over the years, two of my cousins have been murdered by these weapons, and with escalating gun violence throughout the world, I find myself becoming increasingly fearful for our global community.

Other work included in this issue:

webs billow
across the pathway . . .
we blunder
into magic, ensnared
by everyday miracles

hares boxing
in the flush of dawn . . .
it seems
impossible to defeat
an opponent I can't see

note: During spring mating season, hares can be seen striking other hares, giving rise to the phrase, "Mad as a March hare."

we step
into the warm barn
by a horse playing
piano with his nose

note: This is a true story! Percherons at a nearby barn are kept stimulated by various artistic diversions, such as painting and playing piano, during bitter winter weather when they are confined to their stalls.

Turtle Light Press, Haiku Chapbook Contest 2019

Thrilled to receive Third Honorable Mention for my haiku chapbook, Songs Where We Least Expect Them!

I'm grateful to the judge, Susan Antolin, for her lovely comments:

"Rich with specific and evocative nature images, this collection showcases the varied landscape and wildlife of a northern region in a vibrant and engaging series of haiku.

mallard flock the iridescent sound of morning

These haiku engage all of the senses and incorporate a wide range of seasonal references. The individual haiku are well crafted and often suggestive of a greater emotional back story.

weathered oars
we fold our worries
into the river

Occasionally, the haiku in this collection also cause us to contemplate our place in the cosmos.

solar flares
a spill of buttercups
in the meadow

In all of these haiku humans are, if not actually present, never far away.

in cupped hands
the harvest moon rests
for a moment

On the whole, an appealing and beautifully crafted collection."

Ribbons, Volume 15, Number 2, Spring/Summer 2019

Honoured to be the featured poet in this issue. My thanks to David Rice!


Sharing My Light

As a child, I used to curl up on the couch in our farmhouse while listening to my father recite poetry. This was my introduction to the power of words, and I remain under their spell to this day.

snow whirls
outside the henhouse . . .
father cups
my hands around
a warm brown egg

3rd Place, 2018 Fleeting Words Tanka Contest

I wrote my first poem at nine, and began writing songs at twelve. My older sister was my mentor and singing partner, always encouraging me to "share my light." When she passed away at 28, I was lost.

a smudge
of blackbirds swirling
into evening . . .
how fluid the shape
of this sorrow

2nd Place, 2018 Fleeting Words Tanka Contest

Years later, I took my sister's advice and submitted work to an'ya at kernelsonline (Cattails). My haiku chapbook, A Year Unfolding (Folded Word 2017) is a direct result of that first acceptance. I am grateful to an'ya for helping me take a leap of faith into short-form poetry. It changed my life!

each moment
here on earth is numbered . . .
so why not
fly too close to the moon,
and hang our hats on stars?

1st Place, 2016 Mandy's Pages Annual Tanka Contest

Shortly afterward, I discovered tanka on Twitter via M. Kei. I am indebted to him for publishing my first book, Warp and Weft: Tanka Threads in 2015, and its sequel, Three-Part Harmony: Tanka Verses in 2018. Both books are comprised of tanka that appeared individually in a variety of publications over the years. I selected tanka that resonated with each other, combining them into triptychs in an effort to expand their scope. This technique allowed me to breathe new life into old poems. I do not think of these "verses or threads" as sequences, because they were not written as such. The titles are drawn from the last tanka in each set and serve to bring the poems full circle.

this fleeting moment

how still
this numinous dawn
we kneel,
watching a muskrat's breath
bubbling under thin ice

light spills
through a fallstreak hole
onto water . . .
if nothing else,
this will be enough

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

1st verse: The Bamboo Hut, Spring 2015
2nd verse: HM, 2017 Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest
3rd verse: 2nd HM, 2015 Fleeting Words Tanka Contest

Musicality in tanka is vital to me, as I often sing the poems while strumming my guitar. Vocabulary also plays an integral role in my work.

the growth rings
of otoliths and trees . . .
when did she
become smaller
than her daughters

2nd Place, 2017 Fleeting Words Tanka Contest

Composing tanka is my primary writing focus. This daily meditation quiets my mind and helps to distract me from chronic pain.

the architecture
of impending storms . . .
every cloud
that hangs over me
has a given name

HM, 2017 Fleeting Words Tanka Contest

I have made my home beside the ocean, on the prairies, and at the feet of mountains. Poetry of place features in much of my tanka.

the ocean
was in a rage last night
but today,
these peace offerings
of blue mussels and kelp

1st Place, 2018 Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest

Many of my tanka and photographs depict flora, fauna, and phenomena encountered while camping, birding, and hiking in the wilds.

dried curls
of gray reindeer moss
crunch softly
underneath our boots . . .
no other sound, but breath

1st Place (tie), 2016 San Francisco International Competition

Human experience is also a frequent subject in my tanka.

tracks of birds
meander through snow . . .
the surgeon
marks her left breast
with a cross

1st Place, 2016 British Haiku Society Tanka Awards

The short-form community inspires me. Reading the work of others and heeding editorial advice pushes me to hone my skills. I offer my thanks to the following gifted tanka poets who provided blurbs for my books:

without . . .
each evening seems even
than it takes the river
to smooth a thousand stones

an'ya: Winner, 2018 British Haiku Society Tanka Awards

when no one is around,
my heart changes
into a heron
and flies

M. Kei: HM, 2007 Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest

it's not so much
the 'big one' when it comes
but aftershocks . . .
our favorite song,
letters addressed to you

David Terelinck: Winner, 2018 British Haiku Society Tanka Awards

through rain
through a year
of threadbare melodies
the early dark
of stolen mulberries

ai li: The Tanka Anthology, 2003 (editor Michael McClintock et al)

if you were reborn
a fly and I, a spider
with skeins of rainbow
I would weave
a web for our dreams

Sonam Chhoki: Fire Pearls, Volume 2, 2013 (editor M. Kei)

a tree trunk
lost in the shadow
of its branches . . .
another yes
when I meant to say no

Ken Slaughter: 1st Place, 2015 Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest

in an old picture
my mother's hand so firm
on my shoulder
as if gravity alone
could not hold me down

Angela Leuck: Take Five, Volume 4, 2011 (editor-in-chief M. Kei)

Holding a letter
with words no longer true;
day-lilies open
and wither
in the same vase.

Alexis Rotella: The Tanka Anthology, 2003 (editor Michael McClintock et al)

The cuckoo clock strikes
I smile at the soft dawn light
Until my eyes rest
On your bare dressing table,
On all the empty hangers

Denis Garrison: Fire Pearls, 2006 (editor M. Kei)

This tanka journey has been an amazing adventure, and it has brought me closer to awareness of the universe and myself.

on this night
of our awareness,
the aurora
brushes an ensō
across lake and sky

HM, 2018 Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest