Autumn 2016

cover image, Autumn 2016 issue
Autumn Grasses, Hay-on-Wye, Wales, U.K.
by Helen Tann

Our guest poet is Chad Lee Robinson of Pierre, South Dakota. He was in his early twenties when he joined the haiku community, already writing poems that reflected a deep sense of belonging. His work has, from the beginning, displayed a depth and maturity that quickly brought him positive attention. Fourteen years later, and still very young by haiku standards, he is a consistently surprising and yet a steady presence in English language haiku. We are delighted to present to you some of his latest work.

This summer I attended the fiftieth reunion of my high school class. It was well attended and great fun. For the most part, I had not seen any of these people since we graduated. Knowing in advance that this would be the case, I prepared myself to be confronted with the fact that the greatest portions of our lives consisted of events in which we were strangers to each other. Certainly this was part of the truth. The part I was not expecting was the realization that this was the audience for which I had been performing over those many years; these were the people who could render any success or failures of my later life meaningful. With that discovery, I began to rethink other defining relationships: twenty-three years of being a son to my father, sixty-two years of being a son to my mother (though the final ten were clouded by Alzheimer’s), thirty-three years and counting of being a father to my son. I mention all of this here because seventeen years of being a member of The Route 9 Haiku Group is just such a powerfully defining relationship, for which I am grateful beyond words. And it is wonderful to know that this feeling is shared by all of us. In June Hilary, Tom, Yu, and I attended Haiku Circle. Although Tom has been a regular attendee and frequent presenter at this annual gathering, it was the first time the four of us attended together. During the open mic we were the only readers working as a unit. And, of course, we read from a recent issue of Upstate Dim Sum!

Sample Poems

fishing with my wife . . .
a little play
in the line
Chad Lee Robinson

sitting outside
in the dark
to hear the crickets

cracked pavement
I always knew
you could grow tall

making room
in my calendar
for summer

I call my dog
in my mother tongue