Spring 2005

cover image, Spring 2005 issue

Guest Poet: Peggy Willis Lyles

We have recently noticed that working together in the Route 9 Haiku Group has come to mean something slightly different to us. Tom was first to articulate it. He noted that, when joining, he appreciated the group primarily as a very well attuned workshop, in which he could get useful feedback on his poems and practice his critical skills on the poems of others. Over a period of time this value, while quite as strong as ever, became secondary to the friendships he developed within the group. His poems then had the added benefit of communicating this friendship and providing a uniquely effective means of expressing something about his life to the rest of us. When he said that, Hilary, Yu, and I agreed that this had also happened for each of us. There is the moment, at each of our monthly meetings, when the first poem of the day is about to be offered. This represents the height of a month’s anticipation and hopes, not just that we have written good poems, but that we have written poems that express ourselves to each other. This could cut both ways for readers of Upstate Dim Sum. While we hope that our feelings for each other suffuse these poems with a certain warmth, we have taken pains to be sure that what we include in the journal is not so specifically meaningful to ourselves that we lose sight of how it reads to others. Our goal is to include you, so far as possible, in this sense of the poems as being “among friends.”

Peggy Willis Lyles occupies a place of honor in our hearts. Her work has been the best of its kind for many years; presenting a fusion of what is close at hand in daily life with a sense of how remarkable, beautiful, articulate, and profound these ordinary things can be. As an editor of the Heron’s Nest, she has contributed to the success of one of the most focused and effective haiku journals currently in publication. It is a special pleasure for us to present her to you as our guest poet in this spring issue.


Sample Poems

three turns
of the pepper mill—
autumn nightfall
Peggy Willis Lyles

of the old church
oak, rhododendron
and yew

before there is any
tune in my head

sweet corn on the cob
thinking of my old

new immigrant
counting the stars
in Urdu