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Haiku Journal of the Irish Haiku Society

                 Haiku from Ireland and the rest of the world       



IHS International Haiku Competition 2012 announced!

The Irish Haiku Society International Haiku Competition 2012 offers prizes of Euro 150, Euro 50 and Euro 30 for unpublished haiku/senryu in English. In addition there will be up to seven Highly Commended haiku/senryu. Entrants may win more than one prize.

Details here:

All the entries shall be postmarked by 30th November 2012. No e-mail submissions, please!

Good luck to all!

We are five years old! Founded in January 2007, Shamrock Haiku Journal has since been published quarterly. On this occasion, we have prepared SHAMROCK HAIKU JOURNAL: 2007 – 2011, a print edition of the twenty issues of Shamrock, the Journal of the Irish Haiku Society, as they appeared on the Shamrock website. This paper-based collection comprises works by 248 authors representing 38 countries. It covers the full range of English-language haiku, from classic to experimental styles, as well as haibun and selected essays on haiku.

The translated haiku that appeared regularly in Shamrock over the last five years are not included in this book, as we hope to arrange a separate publication for them.

Shamrock Anthology Cover

Add to your basket

Shamrock Haiku Journal: 2007 – 2011
Edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky.

Copyright © 2007 – 2011 by Shamrock Haiku Journal.

All rights reserved.

Published in Dublin, Ireland.

Printed in the United Kingdom.

Price €15.98
ISBN 978-1-4709-3830-7

Trade paperback. 240 pp.
6"x9", perfect binding.

Preview available here

From now on Shamrock Haiku Journal  will publish three issues per year instead of four. This is due to the editor starting a new webzine, Emerald Bolts, an Irish and international platform for flash fiction. The editor has already started reading submissions of flash fiction of no more than 500 words for the new webzine.

   Haiku & Senryu 

descending snowflakes
the battlefield
white again

the ascent
of the orange moon –
a dinghy bobs near shore

an old spade
washed to the shore
picked up again

June sunset
ochre cliffs slide
into the ocean

All Souls Day –
night sky alive with
white flares

-- Kara Craig (Ireland)

on one side
of the music school's fence –
trumpet vines

botanical garden...
the zigzag path
of spring

Neighbourhood Watch
a full moon peeks
through each window

-- Vuong Pham (Australia)

sudden storm
a red deck umbrella
lifts in the wind

evening calm
picking cockleburs
from the dog

-- Ben Moeller-Gaa (USA)

first dip
of the tilt-a-wheel

she asks why parsley
is biennial

-- Bill Cooper (USA)

Normandy beach
an armada of geese
turn toward shore

the bad part of town –
through pavement cracks,
wild flowers

-- Jay Friedenberg (USA)

the rescued wasp
dries its wings

my garden path
an assortment
of droppings

-- Quendryth Young (Australia)

monkey house
my daughter clambers
out of her buggy

hand in hand
we walk in the shadows . . .
split-open chestnuts

-- John McManus (England)

light frost
a flock of starlings across
the gibbous moon

all the things
I meant to do –
falling leaves

-- Juliet Wilson (Scotland)

war museum
children skip stones
across the pond

winter stars –
the mailbox

-- Bouwe Brouwer (the Netherlands)

dipping sun
daylilies begin
to wrap up

-- John Zheng (USA)

lost memory found –
the smell of wood smoke
on the autumn breeze

-- Joseph M. Kusmiss (USA)

dusk… the homeless
gather on the porch
of an abandoned house

-- Scott Owens (USA)

early morning light
across the backwaters –
beavers working

-- Ayaz Daryl Nielsen (USA)

black and white photo
my father
younger than my son

-- Mel Goldberg (Mexico – USA)

first day of spring
running shoes laced
with cobwebs

-- Jim Davis (USA)

full moon night
a leaf spins
under the waterfall

-- Kath Abela Wilson (USA)

skipping stones
across Great Slave Lake
my shadow and I

-- Chen-ou Liu (Canada)

the day lilies blare
red and orange arias –
still, no butterflies

-- Richard Stevenson (Canada)

autumn gust
all the coloured pegs
grip the clothes line

-- Jan Dobb (Australia)

city forest
birds mimic
a car alarm

-- Tiggy Johnson (Australia)

between the photos,
what didn't happen

-- Beth McFarland (Northern Ireland)

July deluge
lawn spinkler
joins in

-- Mark Lonergan (Ireland)

gathering the mid-day sun
on its wet feathers

-- Jim Burke (Ireland)

city twilight
the peregrines' nest
chimes the hour

-- Claire Everett (England)

daffodil buds
her pregnancy
now shows

-- Rachel Sutcliffe (England)

crows on a bare branch –

-- Marie Coveney (Ireland)

in my teacup,
a somersault
of the full moon

-- Keith Simmonds (Trinidad and Tobago)

waiting for a friend –
a pigeon struts up and down
the wet pavement

-- Sonam Chhoki (Bhutan)

old wall
ants in and out
of the cavities

-- Stella Pierides (Greece)


windy morning –
my granny’s red scarf

singing the sorrowful songs
of our forefathers,
the waterfall

this endless valley…
ants crossing
the track of a fox

winter night –
the gloomy sky
lit by snowflakes

at long last
there it is,
sky between the skyscrapers

-- Amýl Engin (Turkey; transl. from the Turkish by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

clinging to the window pane,
two dried leaves,
dead butterfly’s wings
-- Melisa Gürpınar (Turkey; transl. from the Turkish by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

desolate wet shore –
waves coming and going
moss remaining

-- Evin Okçuoğlu (Turkey; transl. from the Turkish by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

a street beggar –
snowflakes not melting
on his palm

-- Turgay Uçeren (Turkey; transl. from the Turkish by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)



A.Markaryan. Children of Indigo

"Children of Indigo" by Armanush Markaryan (Uzbekistan)




Incarnation on a Train


by Steven Carter (USA)



The girls of Poland are unusually pretty as a rule, but this one, sitting next to me on the night express up to Warsaw, is remarkable even by Polish standards. She reminds me of a young Liz Taylor.

We try to communicate, but it’s useless; I know less than a dozen words in Polish, and like most Poles she speaks no English at all. The odd thing is that we do talk a lot, even though the conversation goes nowhere.

As the train parallels the Vistula River glittering in the moonlight, I bring out a small silver flask filled with top-shelf “bison grass” vodka, the best in Poland and therefore the world. I offer her a hit and to my surprise she accepts. Then I hold the flask up to the other American sitting across from us in our compartment, but he politely declines.

The girl and I pass the flask back and forth until it’s empty. Each time our eyes meet, and they do so many times, I melt, and wonder if she feels the same; of course I’ll never know.

When we arrive at the Warsaw train station, I help her with her bag.

“Dziekuje, pan, dziekuje,” she murmurs, touching my cheek.

“Prosze,” I say softly to myself as she disappears into the crowd of Poles, Russians, and Estonians. She looks back once at me.

“She must be in the movies,” my fellow American remarks as three blue-uniformed Polish cops – Smurfs we called them then – walk past shoulder to shoulder. “I wonder who she is.”

“If we were in an allegory, I’d say ‘Love’ with a capital ‘L,’” I shrug, slinging my knapsack on my back.

“But neither of you understood a word the other was saying!”


choir of  stars
400 miles away


Book Review

James Norton. “The Fragrance of Dust”
Haiku, Stories, Poems
Alba Publishing, UK, 2012

ISBN 978-0-955-12548-5
102 pp.

Available from Alba Publishing for €15 at or write to PO Box 266, Uxbridge, UB9 5NX, UK

James Norton was the founding editor of the first haiku magazine on the island of Ireland, Haiku Spirit. It was a paper-based journal of haiku and related forms that published Irish and international haiku poets. All in all, twenty issues of Haiku Spirit appeared between 1995 and 2000. James Norton was also one of the first poets in this country to write haiku as we know them, and he set a high standard for the newer generations of Irish haijin. This is the reason why a representative collection of his haiku has been eagerly anticipated.

This collection gathers together the poet’s haiku, haibun and mainstream poems written, as the author’s introduction prompts, over a twenty year span. Following the Introduction, Ken Jones’s Foreword offers the Welsh poet’s insight into Jim Norton’s work.

The body of the book is split into nine sections. Each one has a mixture of haiku, longer poems and haibun. I can’t resist the temptation to quote some of James Norton’s haiku gems that I have admired long since their publication in magazines. E.g. these ones:

dinner over
in the bowl
one grain

dare I tell him?
from my neighbour’s dungheap
a double rainbow

august hear
faint click of pine cones
opening as we part

James Norton is a Buddhist practitioner, and the following piece gives away his leanings:

garden Buddha
hail rain or shine
same smile

If we simplify Zen to the utmost degree, we can say that a Zen Buddhist, rather than adoring and worshipping Buddha, strives to become a Buddha himself. As the Zen master Ying-An put it, "in order to achieve a Zen enlightenment, you don't have to leave your family or give up your job, nor is it necessary to become a vegetarian or a hermit; you can attain Zen right where you are." The following poem by James Norton reminds me a Zen koan that can give some kind of elusive answer to the question what Zen is:

sound of a spoon
striking an empty bowl:
that’s it!

The book also offers an ample selection of James Norton’s haibun (a short piece of prose with incorporated haiku). He is arguably the most accomplished writer of haibun among the Irish haijin. Many of his haibun are travel sketches but there’s no place for plain and banal prose there. “I felt free to experiment,” the poet confesses in the Introduction, and his haiku prose is a must-read for anyone interested in the development of English-language haibun.

I will leave the reader of these lines with a couple of James Norton’s excellent senryu:

single now
I throw away
the avocado stones

and the stranger upstairs
coughs too

In short, if you want to read Irish short-form poetry at its best, order this book!

Anatoly Kudryavitsky


William E. Cooper. "The Dance of her Napkin" 
Published by Cyberwit, Allahabad, India, 2012

105 pp.; ISBN 978-8-182-53316-5

Available from Cyberwit via

Priced at USD 15

The India-based publish-as-you-pay (or, if you prefer, pay-as-you-publish) Cyberwit have come up with a collection of haiku from William E. Cooper, the American academic and poet who, according to his biographical note placed on the back cover, has started writing haiku in 2009 and whose publication credits include the best haiku periodicals.

This collection includes 100 haiku and senryu, one on a page. The title refers to one of the poet’s better known pieces, which can’t be described as anything but excellent, due to its subtle humour:

old ballerina
the dance
of her napkin

Strangely enough, the cover photograph (not a very high quality one) depicts nothing connected with the title, or with the title haiku, but a lake (a river?) with a kayak in the distance.

Like many American haijin, William E. Copper is primarily a minimalist, and one can only admire the economy of haiku like these:

the sway
of Orion


zoo bend


everywhere I look

Of course, if you strip a haiku to the bare bones, there still have to be bones, and the minimalist approach doesn’t always help, especially if you haven't got sufficient imagery:

sea oats…
leaning over
the long pier

In the majority of cases William E. Cooper uses a shasei technique, and his thorough sketching of nature results in such excellent haiku as these:

bulging acorn
the grey squirrel
adjusts his grip

daily walk
the welcome jig
of an emerald beetle

Equally convincing are the poet’s senryu:

baby’s hand
the long tunnel through
a pajama sleeve

working overlong
the slack mouth
of a trout on ice

The poet doesn’t always maintain the desired level of perfection, and a few so-what pieces found their way onto the pages of this collection:

Mayan ruins
slowly down
uneven steps

Grand Canal
a soccer ball
floats to my daughter

while daughter’s (should have been “daughters”, really) negotiate,
the banana split

Unfortunately, notes from a poet’s diary, even if they have a sentimental value to the poet, don’t always make good haiku/senryu.

Still, there’s a lot to admire in this collection, and the readers will surely bear
in their memory some of the best pieces, like this:

green tea
tasting a mountain
I will never climb

This book is a worthy addition to anyone’s haiku library, and comes highly recommended.


Anatoly Kudryavitsky



Doghouse Books

DOGHOUSE Books have just published the first ever national anthology of haiku poetry from Ireland, Bamboo Dreams, edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky and featuring 77 Irish haijin. It is available to order via the Doghouse Books website.

Bamboo Dreams

Also, we have a limited number of copies left of three collections of haiku poems by two Irish haijin:

John W. Sexton. Shadows Bloom. DOGHOUSE Books, 2005. Reviewed here

Anatoly Kudryavitsky. Morning at Mount Ring. DOGHOUSE Books, 2007. Reviewed here

Anatoly Kudryavitsky. Capering Moons. DOGHOUSE Books, 2011

One can get them postage free for the price of €12 to anywhere in the world.

Also, check out here the range of poetry books and anthologies we've published.

PO Box 312
Co. Kerry

Tel: +353 (0)66 7137547
Fax: +353 (0)66 7137547


"Dream. After Dream" by Anatoly Kudryavitsky, a collection of his novellas, stories and prose poems in English translation, has been published by and is available to order via Honeycomb Press (

Copyright © by Shamrock Haiku Journal. All rights reserved. All the Shamrock Haiku Journal contents are copyright by the indicated poets/artists. All the rights revert to the authors and artists upon publication in Shamrock. Any unauthorised copying of the contents of Shamrock Haiku Journal is strictly forbidden. The Shamrock logo image is copyright © by Christine Zeytounian-Belous (Paris, France). 
Copyright 2012 Shamrock Haiku Journal