Autumn 2020: 20th Anniversary Issue

cover of Autumn 2020 20th anniversary issue
Norfolk, England by Helen Tann

Here we are.

To have arrived at the point of celebrating twenty years of publication is remarkable for an English-language haiku journal, most of which do not last more than three years. Even more remarkable is twenty years of consistently deepening friendship.

Any long-lasting friendship is precious but when it is based upon the soul sharing that is poetry, such a friendship is life defining. Each of us was well along on our way when our paths converged.

Hilary was already a composer whose music had a world-wide audience. Ion was already welcome around the world as both a poet and painter. Yu was a tenured professor at Union College (as was Hilary), Tom was in the midst of a long career as a Cornell University librarian and I was serving as president of the Haiku Society of America.

What began as an ongoing haiku workshop has evolved into a warm spot in the lives of all concerned. In celebrating our incredibly good fortune, we are doing something a little different with this issue. It will consist, as usual, of a selection of poems culled from our past six months of dim sum sessions. But this will be integrated with four-page sections, featuring work by each one of us that might not ordinarily appear here.

We describe our respective pages as follows:

Hilary’s pages (5–8): “My sister, Helen, and I have always been close. Helen has already contributed several cover pages to our issues (including this one), so she’s not really a stranger to Upstate Dim Sum. My leanings are towards music and poetry. Helen is a published photographer. Perhaps I’m bending the rules a little, but I simply decided to pair some of my ‘sister’ poems with her sisterly images.”

John’s pages (13–16): “I have opted to present four watercolor haiga (a combination of visual image and haiku), created expressly for this issue.”

Ion’s pages (21–24): “As a poet-painter, I chose two haiga works I made in different periods of time and two ink paintings: one that expresses my passion for music (Chopin’s Nocturne in C sharp minor), and the second one is a landscape with a waterfall, because when I am in the mountains I feel the spirit of the place like fluid energy.”

Tom’s pages (29–32): “I have selected four of my photographs, one for each season, and a few of my poems that I hope fit with them.”

Yu’s pages (37–40): “The four photo-haiku came from wandering, in a circle of radius 2.5 miles, around our house.”


Sample Poems

                                              deep in the forest
                                              the hole of a mossy stone
                                              shelters and empty shell
                                              Ion Codrescu

                                                                                                approaching solstice
                                                                                                a shaft of light
                                                                                                finds summer

                   golden spike—
                   the life span
                   of dreams

                                                                                          budding lilac
                                                                                          how quietly a poem
                                                                                          writes itself

                                 throw away the painting
                                 the paint rag