Don’t forget to pack these essential items for the Haiku North America conference





The Fly (Making of the zine)

The fly is one of the many new characters from the Old Pond Comics series I was able to developed thanks to a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.
In this behind-the-scene video, I show how I put my zines together.
The zine will be available soon on the Old Pond Comics online store:

A cicada in the cosmos, by Angela Leuck

Recommended reading:

A cicada in the cosmos, tankas by Angela Leuck

(Inkling Press, 2010, 99 p. ISBN 978-0-9810725-4-8)




   daring me

   to be bold –

   the giant

   red dahlia

   at your door



   in front of the church

   apple blossoms

   like confetti

   I daydream of weddings

   until the hearse pulls up



   in a vase

   on the table

   as I wait for his call

   those pale green roses

   called Limbo




  poppies –

  so predictable

  my attraction

  to the exotic


From: A cicada in the cosmos: tankas by Angela Leuck


Breathmarks: ready-made haiku from the table of contents





















When I opened the little book “Breathmarks: haiku to read in the dark” by Gary Hotham published by Canon Press, I was immediately drawn by the table of contents which was a simple list of the haiku’s “first line” with the corresponding page number.  (Readers can browse the table of contents and some pages of the book on Amazon)


These “first lines”, alternating between short and long and short, could be read like a series of haiku. These ready-made haiku were sometimes funny, sometimes moving, and simply beautiful. 




soft rain 72

I lean 73

at the bus stop 74


Source: table of contents of “Breathmarks” by Gary Hotham (photo)


This is a haiku made from the three “first lines” of haiku of pages 72, 73 and 74 written by Gary.


Here are more Ready-made haiku taken from the table of contents of  “Breathmarks: Haiku to read in the dark”

by Gary Hotham (Canon Press, 1999, Isbn 1-885767-58-7):


coffee 20

night comes 21

more darkness 22



picking up the shells 26

the heat 27



music two centuries old 44

rest stop 45

the wind 46



spring wind 48

distand thunder 49

more coffee made 50



on my birthday 64

up late 65

the library book 66



no place 67

no hurry in the wind 68

outside the door 69



sipping the soup 80

this summer night 81

the sound they make 82


shadow 94

early in the night 95

before the dew is off 96



she comes back 91

one mirror for everyone 92

time to go 93



The table of contents and its “First lines” are only a sense of the beautiful haiku to come.  Gary Hotham’s writing is simply wonderfl. Here are the three complete haiku from page 84, 85, 86:


waiting up-

one hand warms

the other


a pile of orange peelings –

the night watchman

away from his desk


around our feet –

water on its way

to more water


Gary Hotham in Breathmarks


And, if you take the first line of each haiku, you get this beautiful and new “ready-made haiku”:



waiting up 84

a pile of orange peelings 85

around our feet 86


(Table of contents of Breathmarks by Gary Hotham)

Did you know?… Shiki


Brd 001


     On how to sing

     the frog school and the skylark school

     are arguing.




This is a beautiful haiku in itself, although it does gain added point from the fact that its author Shiki had founded what was sometimes called the “Cuckoo school”.


Therefore this poem also refers to the differences between Basho’s school and Shiki’s school.


Reference: An introduction to haiku: an anthology of poems and poets from Basho to Shiki, by Harold G. Henderson



Haiku wars, novel by David G. Lanoue


Haiku Guy, by David G. Lanoue.  


During a haiku conference in New Orleans, a manuscript disappears. As the author Mr. Kusuban threatens to leave the conference, the organizer known as “Poet” and his pet ferret set on to discover the culprit and recover the manuscript during the conference.  The ferret has the ability to slip in the Old Japan in his dreams and there, he gets help from famous haiku masters Buck-Teeth (Issa) and buddha himself. 


As the plot evolves, we dive into an existing feud between rejected writers and a dictatorial publisher, and a war between haiku clans in Japan, the traditionalists vs the modern haiku writers, who attend the conference but don’t speak to each other. 


* * *


For writers not used to reading modern haiku, the haiku recited by Mr. Kusuban at the conference in the novel can cause quite a shock (or a chuckle) as “tower of cellos…” is used as a modern kigo. 


The novel features haiku of the highest quality recited by the narrator Poet and other conference attendees. (The true names of the attendees were changed but members of the tightly-knit haiku community will easily identify the real haiku writers behind each characters despite the pseudonym given to them by the author).


This haiku novel does a great job in capturing the atmosphere and activities of a haiku conference (haiku readings, haiku walk, dinner parties). If you’ve never been to a haiku conference, this will give you a good idea of what they are like, and if you’ve attended one before, you’ll feel nostalgic. I especially enjoyed the chapter taking place during a Haiku Death Match (a kind of haiku slam), as I have never attended one of these before and always wondered about how it works. The novel explains it quite well.


Haiku Wars is a fabulous haiku novel by David G. Lanoue.  Also recommended: Haiku Guy, by David G. Lanoue.