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Haiku Journal of the Irish Haiku Society

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IHS International Haiku Competition 2013 announced!

The Irish Haiku Society International Haiku Competition 2013 offers prizes of Euro 150, Euro 50 and Euro 30 for unpublished haiku/senryu in English.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.

Details and previous winners here:

All the entries shall be postmarked by 30th November 2013. No e-mail submissions, please!

Good luck to all!

We are six 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

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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


Haiku & Senryu 

my rumpled duvet –
and under the late spring snow
dead lambs

spring thaw –
the twisted splutter
of the outside tap

tangle of tadpoles –
the slime of old spawn

such prejudice,
me taking sides against the rat
under the bird feeder

work mate’s funeral –
square fold-lines on men’s shirts
straight from the packet

-- Graham High (England)

another year...
the rewetting scars
of peat trenches

shifting sands...
the golden marram's
new year seeds

rippled ice
the quivering tips
of dead cotton grass

peat-stained pool
sunlight fractures
beneath thin ice

above the contour
of ebbing snow
two red kites

-- Thomas Powell (Northern Ireland)

boarded up windows –
the house engulfed in
nasturtium flame

August eve by Lough shore –
green algae gather
at wader’s feet

steeple high above
an oak grove –
boat circles the island

bulrush feathered
with yellow pollen –
a caterpillar

red harvester ambles
over wheat crop –
a field mouse scurries

-- Kara Craig (Ireland)

spiderlings at play
unripe blueberries
on the way to ruins

purplish orange leaves ballooning under skim ice

our first complete snowman
the dog scampers off
with an arm

a few trumpet notes
softly played

-- William Cooper (USA)

spring snow…
through the broken windows
of her childhood

caught in a sunbeam
hands exchanging notes

             a feather
        an empty branch...
winter rain

-- Terry O’Connor (Ireland)

salt air
my footprints
also disappearing

cold snap –
a sparrow flicks its tail
of snowflakes

first rays
buds and mist

-- Marion Clarke (Northern Ireland)

the gardener opens, closes
his secateurs

night fishing
the moon surfaces
among sedges

town beach
sandpipers step
over paw prints

-- Quendryth Young (Australia)

south coast sunset –
with each wave retreating
the sand sheens pink

after floods
wheatfields flattened
by locusts

grazing freehold –
amid a flock of sheep
three kangaroos

-- Rodney Williams (Australia)

small town
the only traffic light
flashing amber

starling eggs
in an old robin’s nest
south wind

-- Ignatius Fay (Canada)

the long curve
of ploughed driveway
two white dogs

sun dazzle
on snow-bound hills
a lone skier

-- Joanna M. Weston (Canada)

waves of wheat
a farmer's fear
of the ocean

dusty road
an indigo bunting
changes everything

-- Alan Bridges (USA)

blue moon
an empty bottle
sings with the wind

storm clouds
rolling in, rolling out
of my slumber

-- Ben Moeller-Gaa (USA)

dry creek
the owl goes

monkey’s wedding
trying to remember where
we first met

-- Bob Lucky (USA)

first day of summer
in the garden umbrella
a baby bat

bread baking–
I soften butter
for the first slice

-- Adelaide Shaw (USA)

my song
the quiet between cracks
in the campfire

the intensity
of her grip...
thunder moon

-- S.M. Abeles (USA)

to the attic wall
red sailboat

green spider
lands on my sunglasses
outdoor art show

-- Nan Dozier (USA)

autumn mist –
somewhere beyond the familiar
one hundred pine trees

almost spring
under a cold grey sky
white snow drops

-- William Seltzer (USA)

attic window –
a moth settles
into the Milky Way

winter stars
in the iced tea
my pale face

-- Vuong Pham (Australia)

sagging gateposts –
in hard-baked mud
the memory of hooves

-- Nathalie Buckland (Australia)

ironing –
all those wrinkles
on my hand

-- Duncan Richardson (Australia)

summer heat
overripe plums spill
into a bowl

-- Anne Curran (New Zealand)

winter fog
the driver ahead
on his iPhone

-- Thomas Chockley (USA)

split loam
well after
the tearing sound

-- Mike Dillon (USA)

purple sky –
slicing the wind,
a boomerang of geese

-- Anna Cates (USA)

winter night...
the dog buries his bone
in the couch

-- Marshall Bood (Canada)

pale seedlings curl
beneath the oak's spread –
mother and child play

-- Ann Egan (Ireland)

Valentine's Day
two collared doves
mating on a bird table

-- Mary Gunn (Ireland)

a fish takes refuge
under my foot

-- Anne Carly Abad (Philippines)

full moon –
the scarecrow watches
its own shadow

-- Adjei Agyei Baah (Ghana)

warm summer sky
mulberry leaves lost
in dreamy slumber

-- Padmini Krishnan (Singapore)

night meditation
the calmness of receding

-- Ramesh Anand (Malaysia)


seasann faoileáin
ar bharr an tséipéil fholamh
ag breathnú ar an lá

a gull
atop the empty church
watching the day go by

idir an moncaí
agus an duine
a scáil uisce

between the monkey
and the spectator,
their reflections

is a pháirc
níos glaise ag cuimhní

old man’s field
in his memory

thíos anseo
canaid don doircheacht
na míolta móra

down below
singing to the darkness,
great whales

-- Buachallán Buí (Ireland; translated from the Irish by the author and Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

ancient warriors’ faces
on the mountain side –
no way back

-- Elena Shuvaeva-Petrosian (Armenia; translated from the Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

Rose Bush by Elena Bavilskaya

"Rose Bush" by Elena Bavilskaya (Israel)




The Edge


by Ignatius Fay (Canada)



My first folding knife… jackknife, as we call them. He decides that, at age 10, I am mature enough to have my own. We go to the hardware store downtown; it is important to choose your own knife. He explains the different types of steel, emphasizing those that will hold an edge longest. ‘Hold an edge’ means ‘stay sharp.’ He shows me examples of ones to avoid, then we move to the good ones. I choose a knife with a dark gray handle and a 4-inch tempered steel blade. We also have to buy a whetstone, he says. You don’t use a file to sharpen good steel; you use a whetstone.
     Back home, he shows me how to sharpen my new knife. He spits on the stone and rubs it along the edge of the blade in a circular motion. Watching him spit on the stone, I think I understand why they call it a ‘wet’ stone. Much later, I will find out that ‘whet’ means ‘to sharpen.’
     He shows me how to use my thumbnail to test the blade’s sharpness. Finally, he hands it to me and tells me this is not a toy. Take care of it. And I do for many years. At forty, I am damned if I know what happened to it.

shaving twigs
for the marshmallows
his suede jacket




by Elizabeth Crocket (Canada)

I sit in the chemo suite and try not to wince as the nurse inserts the needle into the port in my chest. An elegant looking first timer walks past us, regally dressed in black satin and a mauve hat. I wonder why they usher her to a private room, but when we all hear her gentle sobs, we know why. A few of us exchange pitiful smiles, as we remember the grip that fear held on us too, as we entered this world of unknown, uncertain futures. My eyes dart to my watch, so I'll know exactly what time the bag will drip its last drop and I will be free again. Meanwhile, my daughter remains steadfast beside me, and we have no choice but to settle in with magazines and each other for the rest of the afternoon.

squirrel in the branches
bread too large
for its mouth

The Pleasures and Perils of Banana Throwing

Unscrupulous Reviewers and Negligent Editors, Part 1

The journal Frogpond has published a review of Bamboo Dreams, the anthology of haiku poetry from Ireland that I edited for Doghouse Books. The review written by the American Roberta Beary is available here.

Normally, I wouldn’t comment on a review of any of my publications. But the article in question is not quite a review, it is something completely different. Let’s examine it thoroughly.

In the very first lines, the reviewer expresses regrets that the first national anthology of haiku from Ireland was not "edited by someone with an Irish name." As they say in Germany, "Dr. Goebbels would have loved this." Apparently, a man with a non-Irish surname, no matter how much he has done for the development of haiku in Ireland, shouldn't even think of editing a national Irish anthology and should be confined within an intellectual ghetto, while such non-English names as Nabokov, Joseph Conrad (Korzeniowski) and, say, Aleksandar Hemon should be erased altogether from English literature textbooks.

In the United States, foreignness seems to be a very subjective thing. Many Americans believe that if you want to become an American, all you have to do is say "I am an American." Maybe they are being overly optimistic but I still find it strange to see such an obsession with the name in an American reviewer. Even more mysterious is that she is trying to protect – what? Irishness? Whatever self-appointed guardians of Irishness deem it to be. Where would we all be if the Japanese, in a similar way, obtained a patent for haiku writing, thus disallowing foreigners to practice this genre? I am an Irish descendant, who returned to the country of his forefathers at the beginning of this century, but the question is, does one really have to have some blood relation with the Irish to understand them, or live among them, or become a poetic voice from the country?

Those who, like me, grew up in Russia not having a single drop of Russian blood in their veins are pretty familiar with bigotry. What one doesn't expect is to see such winds blowing from "the land of tolerance, equality and justice for all": the article in question appeared in an official serial publication of the Haiku Society of America. Banana throwing at a football match (soccer match, if you’re Irish or American) is now punishable by law. Of course, haiku writing hasn't yet reached the same glowing intellectual and moral heights as football but still Roberta Beary and Frogpond could spare themselves the embarrassment.

This is not the only problem with the article. The reviewer offers no critique of the book and the haiku included in it. Furthermore, she is unable to define accurately what constitutes perfect and imperfect haiku. She is too obsessed with the editor’s origins and biography, and so she feels she must narrate his biography – and does so. Her source was the Wikipedia article. Now, we expect the reviewer at least to tell it in her own words. Nothing of the kind! Instead, she inserted a lengthy copy-paste from Wikipedia. It's hardly surprising that only at the very end of the article she suddenly recollected that it was supposed to be a book review and got to quote a few haiku, mostly by a couple of fellow Haiku Ireland members known to her from tea-drinking sessions in Dublin's Chester Beatty Library, failing to mention any of the fine poets, members of the Irish Haiku Society, whose works have won many prestigious haiku awards and accolades throughout the world. Having read Roberta Beary’s article, one can’t help thinking that her knowledge of the situation in Irish haiku is lopsided.

There was even a bigger controversy with one of her further statements. Incredibly, she accuses me of rewriting a poem by Seamus Heaney! She asserts the following: "A poem by Seamus Heaney, arguably the most famous haiku by a Nobel Prize winner, appears on the same page, with Kudryavitsky’s own variations in line 2".

If punctuality is the politeness of kings, then preciseness shall be the politeness of critics. Otherwise their writings are destined (if not meant) to create a controversy and sow discord. I sadly note that this very thing happened with Roberta Beary’s review.

Needless to say, her accusations are totally ridiculous. The new, untitled and revised, version of the well-known haiku by Seamus Heaney was written by no one else but himself. This piece, in Nobel Prize winner’s own handwriting, has been available for viewing on the Irish Haiku
Society website since the very day the site was launched at Poetry Ireland in February 2007. And the image is clickable, which leads the reader to the full-scale image of this document:

A haiku by Seamus Heaney

I drew the attention of Francine Banwarth, the Frogpond editor, to that fact, and she replied with the following: "After conferring with Roberta Beary, I understand that she searched extensively for a publication credit for the version of the Seamus Heaney haiku published in Bamboo Dreams."

With all due respect, I find this hard to believe. I didn't do any kind of extensive research; I just entered the whole poem in the Google engine. In a split second, I got to the following pageOne of the first links there is to one of the pages of our Irish Haiku Society (IHS) website that displays this haiku in Heaney’s own handwriting.

Ok, let’s suppose Roberta Beary tried hard to find that version but didn’t succeed, which corresponds with a certain paragraph from her review: "How this version of Heaney’s haiku changed into the version included in Bamboo Dreams is a question for another day."

A genuine reviewer would stop right here. Now, this is the moment of truth: will she or won’t she? As we already know, Roberta Beary went on to say: "A poem by Seamus Heaney, arguably the most famous haiku by a Nobel Prize winner, appears on the same page, with Kudryavitsky’s own variations in line 2." Having written this, she has crossed the line. Now we can only guess what her motives were. A statement like this is not an honest error; it is the result of an unfounded assumption, i.e. the reviewer’s misconduct. If the Frogpond editor is in the state of happy oblivion about the difference between the two, as her e-mail suggests, she really must educate herself in these matters. And I believe this publication owes me an apology for what they've printed.

Why two different versions of this haiku? Here’s what Irene De Angelis, who had lengthy conversations with the Nobel prize winner while researching for her book, writes about it: "Heaney was dissatisfied with the original version and revised it" (The Japanese Effect in Contemporary Irish Poetry by Irene De Angelis, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, p. 30).

Perhaps if Roberta Beary, who often declared her love for Irish haiku, could find time to visit the IHS website over the seven long years that have passed since its foundation, or read the monograph by Irene De Angelis, she would refrain from making ridiculous accusations. Instead, she now puts enormous pressure on Seamus Heaney trying to force him to disown his latest revision of his haiku that I published in Bamboo Dreams. Not being able to contact the Nobel Prize winner herself, Roberta Beary enlisted two clerks from the Copyright Department of Faber & Faber to do the job for her. These two confided to me that they are now bombarding the Nobel laureate with e-mails. Seamus Heaney is still holding on and ignoring them.

Questions also remain over Haiku Ireland’s role in this disheartening story. In her review, Roberta Beary, who doesn’t know me personally, says the following: "I am an overseas member of Haiku Ireland. During my most recent visit to Ireland in October 2012 I was welcomed in Dublin by members of Haiku Ireland, who presented me with a signed copy of Bamboo Dreams: An Anthology of Haiku Poetry from Ireland, edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky." Haiku Ireland, in their much belated statement, denied their involvement. However after these revelations they may have difficulties trying to persuade people that they had nothing to do with that unprovoked personal attack against me in the guise of a book review. As for me, I would give them the benefit of the doubt. Some may argue that Roberta Beary has inadvertently done more damage to the reputation of Haiku Ireland than to anybody else's – excluding her own, of course.

I found one of the paragraphs of the Haiku Ireland statement particularly amusing. "This issue must be solved privately between the parties involved," i.e. between Roberta Beary and myself. A bright idea! So if an offense is committed, it must be solved privately between the perpetrator and the victim, between the banana thrower and his/her target; as for the community, the people, they shouldn't get involved. Indeed, why do we need law enforcement? Just imagine the amount of taxpayers' money we'll save if we introduce the law of the jungle!

To their credit, many haiku poets, mostly Irish and American, expressed their disgust with the Frogpond article. The question is, if a writer sets out to destroy another’s reputation, should a respectable magazine give him a platform for that kind of activities? Because this is exactly the situation we all have been trying hard to avoid.

On 24th April Francine Banwarth, the Frogpond editor, wrote to me the following: "We will run a correction in the next issue of Frogpond (36:2, spring/summer) and amend the text in the review on the HSA website." On the same day I heard exactly the same from David Lanoue, the current President of the HSA: "The correction will be made immediately on the online journal along with a notice of the correction. Since the paper journal has already been mailed, we will print a correction in the next issue." As of these early days of June, no correction has been made in the Frogpond article, which still accuses me of illegally rewriting the poem by Seamus Heaney. Surprise, surprise!

So what is going on with Frogpond? I sincerely hope that it is not turning gradually into the part of the landscape described in the classical American poem:

    A Bog – affronts my shoe –
     What else have Bogs – to do –
     The only Trade they know –
     The splashing Men!
     Ah, pity – then!

     (Emily Dickinson, 229)

Anatoly Kudryavitsky

A few weeks after the publication of this essay Frogpond has made the original PDF version of Roberta Beary’s article unavailable replacing it on the quiet with the corrected one, which no longer has the phrase about me "publishing the haiku by Seamus Heaney with my own variations". Just in case, we keep the original PDF of that article in our files (should any haiku historians express interest in it, it is available upon demand).
No such correction could be made in the subscribers' paper-based copies of Frogpond 36:1, which had already went out to the subscribers. That's why Francine Banwarth, Frogpond editor, wrote to me: "We will run a correction in the next issue of Frogpond (36:2, spring/summer). This issue is out now; the editor didn't run a correction. David Lanoue, HSA President, said the same: "We will print a correction in the next issue." They didn't. They also failed to apologise to me for the reviewer’s misconduct that could only tarnish my reputation as a writer and an editor. Well, now we know what kind of people they are. Trust them if you dare.


Doghouse Books

DOGHOUSE Books have published the first ever national anthology of haiku poetry from Ireland, Bamboo Dreams, edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky and featuring 77 Irish haijin. Reviewed here. 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. Reviewed here

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

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 2013 Shamrock Haiku Journal