We look to the UK for our guest poet this time. Sheila Windsor began by writing mainstream poetry, with some publication and award success, before meeting and falling in love with haiku. She’s subsequently focused almost exclusively on haikai—the collective term for haiku, renku, haibun, tanka and haiga: the Japanese forms. She is a working artist with group and solo exhibitions and publication credits to her name. A founding co-editor of Bones Journal and moongarlic, she is currently a co-editor of The Living Haiku Anthology. Sheila says, “After all this time experimenting with, playing with and generally bothering the Japanese literary forms, still they hold my hand. They are like family: I can’t begin to imagine life without them.”
Many of our readers will already know that we lost a prolific, innovative, and fearlessly intense pioneer of English-language haiku on March 15 of this year. Marlene Mountain was the guest poet in our Spring 2013 issue and we felt honored to collaborate with her. Most of us have aspired to be half the poet she was.
Feeling the shock of this loss, I looked back over our list of prior guest poets. While it is a source of great joy to know that the majority of them are still writing haiku, and remarkable haiku at that, it is also sobering to remember who we have lost from this listing of our favorites, in addition to Marlene Mountain. James W. Hackett was our guest in the Spring 2008 issue. It was
Bill Higginson in Spring 2006 and Peggy Willis Lyles in Spring Our interactions with each of these artists inspired our admiration and even our love. But for my money, no one has ever set the bar for English-language haiku higher than Marlene. When comes such another?
one fly everywhere the heat in her old voice the mountains
grandmother’s blotter the ghost of a poem
the art of speaking
just loudly enough
among bending firs
of the fire tower
between the lines
I take off my glasses
without a breeze
of leaves falling