Tuesday, December 23, 2008

making Christmas cookies work turns to joy

w. f. owen

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


On November 17, Ricardo and I woke to find that we had lost our beloved Sofia, our tiny, cross-eyed tabbie of 4-1/2 years. She had been in the vet's office two weeks before for a week-long stay because of fluid in her lungs. We all thought she was well (including the vet) when she was released and it's obvious she was not. She was special to us in many ways but especially because she was the only female among our family of cats. From the start, she was quite the doting mother to the boys. She will be greatly missed by us.

falling leaves
the outline of my cat's
dead body


Sunday, November 16, 2008

autumn hike the mud makes us taller

w. f. owen

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

tooting my own horn

thanks to all for helping me revise and submit my work -- it pays off! (figuratively) . one of my tanka has been accepted for publication in bottle rockets and a haibun in CHO for the december issue! these are both firsts -- couldn't have gotten there without CVHC.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

the ants are back
to back
in my kitchen

a letter
i imagine
your creases

on the bus
your seat, so used
to saving

Saturday, August 02, 2008

rising heat fish hug the bottom

w. f. owen

Friday, July 04, 2008

before the fireworks a parent flares

w. f. owen

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

this constant moon
my parents discuss their
burial plans


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

passing clouds a foul ball into the stands

w. f. owen

Saturday, May 10, 2008

picking the fruit my life half over

w. f. owen

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

the big house
he hopes to free himself
with haiku


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

the simple life

Part of haiku sensibilities go beyond "nature
poems." Many haiku focus on human life
that, to be sure, are part of nature, but I
think of the simpler, everyday activities.
Because haiku highlight moments, typically,
the mundane objects of life are elevated.
Modern humanity all too often rushes past
noticeable, yet unnoticed, simplicity.
Part of what attracts me to haiku writing
and reading is that it suggests mindfulness
and grounding in everyday reality.
In the past some writers have taken this
attitude to extreme. For example, one could
become an "ascetic" like Hosai Ozaki (see
"Right under the big sky, I don't wear a hat,"
Stone Bridge Press, P.O. Box 8208, Berkeley,
CA, 1993). Some of his poems:

Having run here through the wind, in his palm, hot coins (p. 37)

I know the footsteps of the sparrow walking on the mat (p. 105)

See this site for more on his book:


We need not give up all worldly possessions like
Ozaki, but rather "slow down" to notice life's
simplicity. So, occasionally, I return to Ozaki's
small book as a reminder to notice more around
me, as with this poem from observing

bent over the apprentice straightens a nail

w. f. owen

Monday, April 21, 2008

before the cars drown the sound of wings flapping across water

--amy whitcomb

Sunday, April 20, 2008

late afternoon
the tree's shadow
leans on my car

ascending the steps
the scent of rosemary
first warm day
---Leslie Rose

Monday, April 07, 2008


day moon a pitched horseshoe leans against the stake

w. f. owen

Saturday, March 15, 2008

food fair

food fair
scraping something
from my shoe*

The food is as varied as the people attending. Attire in creative colors and fabrics, every ethnicity, smells of concoctions intermingling, wafting through the throng. Booths offering samples delivered with oversized plastic gloves and hairnets never quite covering. And yet, from the mimes, to free magnets, to cartoon characters, to that guy on stilts with the constant smile, everything fits.

puppet show
she guides him
into his seat*

w. f. owen
* haiku notebook (pp. 40 & 53)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Keeping an Open Mind (repost)

Keeping an Open Mind's Eye

Part of the challenge of being a human and a haijin (haiku poet) is to make sense of the worlds around and within us. Regardless of where you live, work, or play, chances are high that you are surrounded by stimuli. Some stimuli are overt, others more subtle. The perception of these stimuli guide my actions and thoughts. They also guide my haiku. In writing haiku, I try to be aware of the stimuli and to understand the root, or essense, of the sensation(s) they invoke in me. As many haiku demonstrate, the stimuli are almost never extraordinary; they are common pieces of my natural and social environments that I capture by keeping my mind's eye open as best I can. There is no special place to look for "haiku moments" -- so look everywhere.

From what I've learned, haiku are the sights, smells, touch, tastes, and sounds of a moment in words that convey related images and interpretations. Other poems do this, too, but the haiku form does it particularly well by striving for conciseness and "show vs. tell." Because haiku is so often misunderstood or misrepresented as simple and trite, I think there may be haijin and haiku out there that we overlook. Consider the following poem, "Dust of Snow" by Robert Frost:

"The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued."

This poem, to me, expresses a "haiku moment" in a different (and arguably awkward) form. My intention is not to call Robert Frost a bad poet -- that would be wrong and ridiculous -- but rather to remind us to keep space in our days and hearts to be moved by such stimuli. I believe the important lesson is to invite and capture the images and senses of your days. ...The craft and revisions of the poems will come later.

Repost of Comments:

w. f. owen said...
Hi Amy,

Your post was very insightful. I
especially liked the last paragraph
about opening our senses and letting
the "craft" of writing come later. I know
for me the best haiku I've written merge
what I've sensed with the writing all
at once. Kind of a "eureka" moment.
It's as if the poem writes itself. Next
best, again for me, is the perception
followed closely by one or two versions
of a poem, which usually gets resolved
quickly. In any case, the sensation leads
the way. So, thanks for a thoughtful


9:50 PM PDT
Mark Hollingsworth said...
Thank you, Amy.
Yes, I think there's a haiku moment in this poem. Yes, it is awkward. And it tells. And it only has one image. So how might this moment become a haiku. Maybe:

end of winter
crow on the hemlock branch
dusts me with snow

10:36 PM PDT

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

If I remember correctly, Mark led us in a workshop whereby we each selected a poem from The New Yorker Magazines provided and turned it into haiku. Perhaps we could do that again the next time we meet? Just as Amy's workshop at our last meeting was so helpful, regular poems into haiku can be quite insightful.

Whaddya think?

Yvonne Cabalona

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

P.S. to my last post

Very good point, readers, i.e. we compose haiku in different ways. Now that you mention it, mine are often "eureka" moments as well. When that happens, most I know are just right on, others I've been able to work on afterwards, and the remainder turn out to be nothing. Was I misleading in the blog in presenting the process a different way? No, I just hadn't thought it through very well, I guess. And the main point I guess I was trying to say is that I found this haiku moment in Robert Frost's collection and it surprised me so much -- that I saw haiku outside of MH and Frogpond; that I recognized the sensation as a haiku moment; that the form didn't seem to do justice to the experience. All food for thought. Thanks for reading and responding.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

spring planting
the rise and fall
of a flock of birds

moonless night
search lights cross
uncross themselves

Posted by Yvonne Cabalona

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Haiku and related forms by CVHC Members

Here are some items our members
have published or are working on
(all rights reserved by each writer).

through chain link
and over razor wire
blooming almond tree

before dawn
of a mockingbird song
  • Mark Hollingsworth

distant thunder
a few cherry blossoms
float to earth

just blossoming
we meet under
the cherry tree

spring darkness
the scent of cherry blossoms
is bright
  • w. f. owen

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Jerry Kilbride Memorial 2008 English-Language Haibun Contest

The Jerry Kilbride Memorial 2008 English-Language Haibun Contest

Sponsor: Central Valley Haiku Club

Deadline: In hand by September 1, 2008

Submissions: All entries must be unpublished, not under consideration elsewhere, and in English. No limit to the number or length of any submissions. Submit three copies of each haibun, two (2) copies without author information attached for anonymous judging, one (1) copy with author’s name, address, phone number and e-mail address for notification purposes. A first prize of $100 and a second prize of $50 will be awarded. Honorable mention certificates also will be given. The entry fee ($5 US dollars per haibun) should be made out to: Mark Hollingsworth (CVHC Treasurer).

Eligibility: Open to the public; CVHC officers are not eligible.

Correspondence: No entries will be returned. Send business-sized SASE for a list of the winning entries. Please note that entries without SASE, insufficient postage, or that fail to adhere to contest rules will be disqualified.

Judges: Will not be disclosed until the contest winner has been decided.

Send entries to: Yvonne Cabalona, 709 Auburn Street, Modesto, CA 95350-6079.

Central Valley Haiku Club books

The Central Valley Haiku Club (CVHC) has several member-written books available from our Leaning Bamboo Press:

blink: A collection of haiku, senryu, tanka and haibun. Yvonne Cabalona, Don Delcollo, Ty Hadman, Kaz Ide, Jennifer Jensen, Jerry Kilbride, Shiela Mahan, Claris Moore, w. f. owen, Jo Lea Parker, and Barbara J. Williams. 2002. $5 USD

feel of the handrail: Haiku by Yvonne Cabalona, Mark Hollingsworth, Claris Moore, w. f. owen, Lane Parker, Leslie Rose, and June Shook. $7 USD

Tangled in Dreams: A linked haibun project. Yvonne Cabalona, Mark Hollingsworth, Claris Moore, w. f. owen, Lane Parker, and Leslie Rose. Includes the first place and first and second honorable mentions of the CVHC's Second Annual English-Language Haibun Contest. 2006. $9 USD

Leaning Bamboo Press
709 Auburn Street
Modesto, CA 95350