Spring 2015

cover image, Spring 2015 issue
Magnolia Blossoms, Bristol, England
by Helen Tann

Guest Poet: Richard Gilbert

Approximately, once in each decade the English-language haiku world is gifted with a significant new critic. The gift involves a fresh and unfailingly liberating  vision of what the genre can accomplish. Richard Gilbert, Ph.D. is the latest embodiment of this blessing.  Dr. Gilbert is an Associate Professor in the Department of British and American Language and Literature, Faculty of Letters, Kumamoto University. Among his influential books of haiku criticism are Poems of Consciousness (Red Moon Press, 2008) and The Disjunctive Dragonfly (Red Moon Press, 2008). Inviting Richard Gilbert to be our guest poet, we hoped for something we hadn’t seen before. We were not disappointed.

Dr. Gilbert states, “These are mostly `annotated haiku’: call it a sub-genre, the style follows a frequent necessity in the Japanese tradition, of the reader-driven research of contextual information necessary in order to `grasp’ a given haiku.”

This is the last issue of “Upstate Dim Sum” to appear prior to the Haiku North America Conference, which will be held at Union College in Schenectady, NY from October 14 through 18. Actually, the conference will be held in two locations. Union College will be our “school” location and the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center will be our “home” location. Significant portions of the conference activities will take place in each. We have been working to make this a stimulating and memorable experience and would dearly love to see all of you there. The conference theme is “autumn term,” which carries two main ideas – the state of haiku within the context of academic institutions of all levels, and a celebration of the autumn season, which can be extraordinarily beautiful in our mid-October. Featured guests include Red Pine (Bill Porter) and our own Ion Codrescu, with a major exhibit of his haiga.


Sample Poems   

lovers cocoon:
asking their future butterfly
a question
    Richard Gilbert

church nave
the solemnity
of hand-hewn beams

young river—
the cataracts
and minor falls

dusting the mantle—
some sand
from the sand dollar

baby steps
drops her carrot