Spring 2004

cover image, Spring 2004 issue
Stockport, NY by Yu Chang

Guest Poet: A. C. Missias

We’re all together again, around our table at Tai Pan. Hilary came home in December from her university term in Japan. Tom has semiretired his 1967 Chevy Carryall (forerunner of the Suburban) and replaced it with a more contemporary vehicle, one with a working hearter, thus rendering his attendance during the past winter less of a traveling ordeal. Yu and I put our kayaks into winter storage in early December, though they should be back in the water by the time you receive this issue, or shortly afterward. Things have been good. Most importantly, we continue to marvel at our great fortune in having this way of sharing our poems and each other’s company.

The Tanka Anthology was published by Red Moon Press in January, with contributions from Tom and me. During this past year at least three of us have had some enthusiastic discussions of tanka and there might come a day when that form is a regular part of what we offer in Upstate Dim Sum. For now we will confine ourselves to a modest celebration of tanka in the form of the two examples that open this issue.

A. C. Missias, of Philadelphia, is our guest poet this time. I confess here to a bit of prejudice. I felt a few years ago that the internet was a haiku wasteland. It still seems to me that a vast amount of material that is not really haiku is presented as such on the internet and in the popular media. But Missias, and our own Yu Chang, who both entered the haiku community via the internet, have proven beyond a doubt that some of the best haiku can also be found there, provided one knows what to look for and has the patience to sift through the chaff in finding it. Those of us more oriented to print media will immediately recognize Missias as founder and editor of Acorn, one of the best printed haiku journals.


Sample Poems

the pavement much cooler
than he makes it look—
hopping sparrow
A. C. Missias

a paper crane unfolds
on the play ground

Buddist temple
I imagine coming back
as a friend

potluck luncheon—
a yellow jacket cleans
its antennae

rough landing
the warmth
of your hand