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.”
deep in the forest the hole of a mossy stone shelters and empty shell Ion Codrescu approaching solstice a shaft of light finds summer ht golden spike— the life span of dreams tc budding lilac how quietly a poem writes itself yc throw away the painting frame the paint rag js