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Haiku Journal of the Irish Haiku Society

                 Haiku from Ireland and the rest of the world       



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The Irish Haiku Society International Haiku Competition 2013 offers prizes of Euro 150, Euro 50 and Euro 30 for unpublished haiku/senryu in English.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

Shamrock Haiku Journal Readers' Choice Awards 

We invite all the readers of Shamrock Haiku Journal to vote for the best haiku/senryu poem published in 2013, i.e. in the issues TWENTY-FOUR to TWENTY-SIX (you cannot vote for your own poem, though). To vote, send an e-mail to irishhaikusociety[at] with "Best haiku of 2013" or "Best senryu of 2013" in the subject line. Please insert the full text of the poem you vote for (only ONE poem in each category) plus the name of its author in the body of your e-mail. The deadline for vote is 31th January, 2014. The best poems will be named in the next issue of Shamrock Haiku Journal.

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

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


Haiku & Senryu 

peach moon
also pausing to stare
the ghost crab

old grasshopper
testing the sway
of a take-off leaf

into sandstone
into sand

-- Bill Cooper (USA)

dustbathing crow
flying deeper
into the drought

beachfront underpass –
the concrete tunnel
winged with mayflies

moist mouse nest
upturned with the plow
pink moon

-- Brent Goodman (USA)

shades of autumn –
a phone call for someone
I used to be

egg moon
the comings and goings
of rabbits 

no regrets
about rushing into it –
blossom wind

-- Lorin Ford (Australia)

a flower bank
of magenta and cream…
swish of long skirts

cubist lesson…
I look at my cat

-- Dawn Bruce (Australia)

first snow falling
through old leaves

sunlight breaking –
a worm struggling free
of its trampled half

-- Paul Chambers (Wales)

lightning flashes
trees and mountains
in black and white

winter fireplace
the sound
of popping pine

-- Mel Goldberg (Mexico – USA)

our butcher Frank
gossip punctuated with
his bloody cleaver

great-grandfather’s journal
on the last page a curl from
great-grandmother's hair

-- Ayaz Daryl Nielsen (USA)

knee-deep weeds
wave after wave of
autumn sun

sudden shower
the sun a pale halo
behind clouds

-- John Zheng (USA)

summer breeze –
just the way
she shakes her hair

moonlit beach –
a bird flies
into midnight

-- Elizabeth Moura (USA)

old diner
closed down…
“For Sale” sign rusty too

pink-dressed, blue-eyed,
young girl stares at rows
of flowers for sale

-- Edward J. Rielly (USA)

circling gulls
a line of cars snakes
onto the ferry

scattered showers
a leopard tortoise
spotted with leaves

-- Robert Lucky (USA – Ethiopia)

gull dispute –
sun rises
in an office window

dawn –
moon rests on the outstretched
arm of the crane
-- Hugh O’Donnell (Ireland)

derelict convent –
black and white little bird
on the windowsill

discarded Barbie
water seeping
through her limbs

-- Noel King (Ireland)

night border crossing --
the elephant calf holds
his mother's tail

passing breeze –
the unexpected gift
of a banyan leaf

-- Sonam Chhoki (Bhutan)

same size as mine,
handprints on cave walls…
the colors of twilight

-- Steven Carter (USA)

early spring morning –
in the drainage ditch,
a lost fish

-- Joseph M. Kusmiss (USA)       

weekend getaway
nothing but our breathing
in the morning light

-- Ben Moeller-Gaa (USA)

night beneath the trees –
cicadas wind down
what katydids began

-- Scott Owens (USA)

yellow cottonwoods
the sunsets lingering
less and less

-- Lolly Williams (USA)

her perfume
following her
down the bicycle path

-- Richard St. Clair (USA)

cutting down
the sunflowers
dusk settles in

-- Erik Linzbach (USA)

autumn rain
the sun-dried leaf
bleeds red

-- David Kavanaugh (USA)

spring planting     
I fill the scarecrow
with fresh hay

-- Robert Henry Poulin (USA)

blue moon
waxing and waning
a frog leaps out

-- Doug Norris (USA)

my shadow
pushing the bicycle
winter gusts

-- Chen-ou Liu (Canada)

jazz festival –
a man loses his newspaper
to the wind

-- Marshall Bood (Canada)

snow geese
swirling earthward
more snow

-- Louisa Howerow (Canada)

turning tide
boats at their moorings
point the other way

-- Simon Hanson (Australia)

elderly neighbour
walks round plane tree leaves
her grandson crunches through

-- Peter Macrow (Australia)

chopping wood
a cold wind
across the field

-- Ashley Capes (Australia)

purple clematis...
changing her wardrobe
into summer

-- Anne Curran (New Zealand)

night aeroplane
in and out of silence
then silence

-- Gillena Cox (Trinidad and Tobago)

autumn dusk...
a poodle somersaults
on a pile of leaves

-- Keith Simmonds (Trinidad and Tobago)

green grass –
getting used
to patching things up

-- Ernesto P. Santiago (Philippines – Greece)


windows washed –
road tarmac
sky blue

clinking of a spoon
against the tea cup

the tolling bells 

bronze Buddha
atop the antique buffet –
forever young

-- Ella Krylova (Russia; translated from the Russian by Anatoly Kudryavitsky)

Double Vision at Ricks by Eleonor L. Bennett

"Double Vision at Ricks" by Eleonor Leonne Bennett (England)




Big Sky


by Steven Carter (USA)



They called it the funny farm.
   Half-barren, white gumbo-patches showing through the wheat-stubble, it was a sucker’s dream. Even voracious descendants of German settlers from the early 20th century wouldn’t touch it with a 57-foot pole.
   And a sucker bought it. And made it work! Most ranchers in northwest Montana – the funny farm is midway between the Browning Indian reservation and the tiny town of Hadley – said it couldn’t happen.
   Rains helped. Cold comforters of winter snow helped. Prayer – Ho! That’s where imagination kicks in for yours truly. My uneducated guess (this is what I would’ve done) is that the owners prayed to the Greek gods. Why not? How do we know they don’t exist unless we pray to them, or at least invite them for happy (ah, funny) hour?
   –  Or Polynesian gods; or Norse; or Mayan, etc.
   The Blackfeet of Browning, whose gods are – according to the locals – safely interred beneath the gray earth and twisted wheat-stalks of their own farmlands, may be seen standing beside their junky cars just off Highway 89, checking out the lush fields of the funny farm.
   The Blackfeet: far-gazing and expressionless, as always.

          singing harmony
          a lone coyote



Fish Debate


by John Zheng (USA)

Zhuang Zi and Hui Si, two ancient Chinese philosophers, stood on a wooden bridge watching fish in the placid pond. When the fish swam toward them, Zhuang Zi clapped his hands, uttering, “Here come the fish. They look so happy!” Hui Si shook his head with a smirk, “You are not a fish; how do you know the fish are happy?” Zhuang Zi gave his friend a meaningful smile and asked with a drawl, “You are not me; how do you know I don’t know the fish are happy?” Stumped by the question, Hui Si looked tongue-tied for a good while. Then he shook his head with an unbelievable look. To him, man was not fish at all; they were two different species, but to Zhuang Zi, man and fish were one, for the whole universe was oneness.

          which came first,
          the hen or the egg? —
          endless rain


Just  Looking


by John Zheng (USA)

Joo-joo-joo…a cicada drops onto the driveway when the sun’s last radiance gleamed out behind the dense pecan trees. Lying upside down, it struggles to turn itself over with its well-veined wings as supporters, but each try just makes it more difficult for the cicada to stand on its legs. It gives a buzz now and then, a short, desperate sound for the passing of its life. Minutes later, one of its wings is broken. It becomes quiet, and its legs stop moving. Then another brief, weak buzz, like uttering goodbye to the chorus of cicadas on the pecan tree. 

          August evening
          cicadas' trill louder
          than the train whistle

Slander Boldly, or What the Watkins?

Unscrupulous Reviewers and Negligent Editors, Part 2

Not too many things under the moon can surprise me these days but I admit to being quite baffled having read the review of Bamboo Dreams, the anthology of haiku poetry from Ireland that I edited for Doghouse Books. This so-called “review” somehow found its way onto the pages of Kokako 19. As I said before, normally I wouldn’t comment on a review of any of my publications. But the article in question is, yet again, not quite a review, it is something completely different.

The reviewer this time is a certain R. W. Watkins, a native of Canada. The omnipotent Mr. Watkins starts off with insulting no less than the whole Irish nation. St. Patrick’s Day and dung-yard “could not be mistaken as having originated anywhere else [but in Ireland]”? And Kokako publishes this? The editors surely have got some nerve.

Next comes Mr. Watkins’s fatuous comment on the phrase from the Introduction, in which I mentioned that “a few of the Irish haiku poets have chosen to join the British Haiku Society.” Mr. Watkins deems appropriate to say: “I cannot help but wonder if such haijins (sic!) have been labeled ‘traitor’ and subsequently tarred and feathered and tied to utility pole.” I feel obliged to reassure Mr. Watkins that we spare such treatment only for those who compare Ireland to a dung-yard. As for the Irish members of the British Haiku Society, there’s ample representation of them in both Bamboo Dreams and Shamrock. It is enough to name such poets as Gabriel Rosenstock, Leo Lavery, Clare McCotter, Beth McFarland and Thomas Powell.

So who is this R. W. Watkins who openly displays anti-Irish sentiment but was still chosen by the editors of Kokako to review an Irish anthology? Not much is known about him in the haiku world. None of the recognised haiku periodicals display his works on their pages or websites.
The only two haiku that he has ever published online are available for viewing on the site that he edits himself ( Here’s one of them (this piece was later submitted to Shamrock, which is why we can reproduce it here):

          along the cow path,
          where the barn and fog once stood,
          all the ghosts have died

Mmm, a 5-7-5 piece about ghosts? Dear reader, does it look convincing to you? Questions, questions...

Mr. Watkins's excursion into the plentiful pastures of haiku theory shows him as an outspoken advocate of 5-7-5 haiku writing in English, which is nowadays considered obsolete. It has been stated zillions of times that English syllables are much longer than Japanese onji (e.g. the word “haibun” has two syllables in it, whereas in Japanese it has four on). It has long been agreed upon that, quoting the late great Keiko Imaoka, “something in the vicinity of 11 English syllables is a suitable approximation of 17 Japanese syllables, in order to convey about the same amount of information as well as the brevity and the fragmented quality found in Japanese haiku” (

However Mr. Watkins clearly believes that the 5-7-5 structure is the equivalent of the similar Japanese one, and must be enforced.
And the editors of Kokako gave him a platform for expressing such views. In his article, he slams Bamboo Dreams saying that the included haiku are “brief and truncated”, and “the truncated form (consisting of roughly twelve syllables or less) [i.e. free-form English-language haiku] is not conductive to detail and clarity.” He doesn't seem to be very much in step with the times.

Next comes my turn. “Irish haiku scene is synonymous with the standards and visions of one Anatoly Kudryavitsky.” Well, if Mr. Watkins seriously believes that I am solely responsible for free-form haiku being widespread in Ireland, he must have completely lost his grip on reality. The further, the better: “Kudryavitsky is the semi-official filter which virtually all aspects of contemporary Irish haiku must pass.” I thought I only edited a magazine filtering good haiku from husk like Mr. Watkins’s oeuvres.

Which brings to mind that in May 2013 Mr. Watkins submitted a few “haiku” of a kind (the ghost piece among them) to Shamrock, mentioning in the cover letter that he was “currently putting together a review of Bamboo Dreams for one of the North American haiku journals” (if it’s the same review, it had obviously been turned down by that magazine due to its offensive nature before it crash landed in Kokako). This is a nice little detail. Why would Mr. Watkins mention that he was going to review Bamboo Dreams if he wasn't expecting favours from me because of that? Unfortunately for him, I am not prepared to compromise on the quality of haiku I publish, so he didn’t manage to force his way onto the pages of Shamrock. Of course, a more ethical person would refrain from mentioning to an editor he was submitting poems to that he was going to review the editor’s book. But Mr. Watkins doesn’t seem to be particularly concerned with ethics.

Nor is he committed to the truth. He implies that his “submitting to Shamrock drew a barrage of suggested edits and omissions”. Really? Like any magazine editor, I may occasionally offer my suggestion for a particular piece. This is editor’s prerogative. It is entirely up to the poet to take it or leave it. In this particular case, I e-mailed back to Mr. Watkins three of his submitted 5-7-5-ers in shortened versions – just to show him that an overblown and wordy haiku can sometimes benefit from trimming. Would a person of sound mind call a single e-mail a barrage? By the way, I keep my correspondence with our wannabe contributors – just in case one of them decides to go public with blatant disinformation.

The following is from Mr. Watkins’s modest statement that came with his haiku: “I was increasingly devoting my talents to those of a 5/7/5 structure. […] What fills publications like Modern Haiku and Frogpond nowadays is mostly bland, artless hack jobs that lack alliteration and consonance, pivot, epiphany.” The editors of these publications have obviously rejected his 5-7-5-ers about ghosts. Shall I give a word of warning to my colleagues? Watch out, Mr. Watkins will soon be after you!

By the way, Mr. Watkins in his article repeatedly calls Shamrock a website. I believe, it is a common knowledge that an online magazine, unlike a website, publishes work that appears in a new edition on a regular schedule, and therefore is called a periodical. It seems like Mr Watkins didn’t bother to familiarize himself with the publication he was quick to submit his pieces to.

The next figment of Mr. Watkins’s imagination is the claim that “the majority of haiku in Bamboo Dreams were selected from Shamrock.” It seems like something prevented Mr. Watkins from viewing the Acknowledgements page, where he could have found the list of the magazines, in which the poems selected for Bamboo Dreams first appeared. All in all, twenty haiku periodicals are listed, including Acorn, A Hundred Gourds, Ambrosia, Blithe Spirit, Frogpond, Haiku Presence, The Heron’s Nest, Haiku Spirit, The Lace Curtain, Lishanu, Modern Haiku, Notes from the Gean, Paper Wasp, Poetry Ireland Review, Roadrunner, Shamrock, Simply Haiku, Time Haiku, Tinywords, World Haiku Review, as well as twenty-seven anthologies and individual collections by the contributors. I wonder if Mr. Watkins’s statement is anything but yet another attempt to mislead the public.

I’ve seen too many reviews of haiku collections where the reviewer offers no critique of the book and the haiku included in it. This is the trouble with Mr. Watkins’s article. For him, all free-form haiku are “brief and truncated”. Furthermore, he is unable to define accurately what constitutes perfect and imperfect haiku. The reviewer quotes a few pieces that he liked, one that he didn’t like, and yet another one (arguably one of the best in the book) that he didn’t know what to think of because of “cultural differences” (!) He goes on about “the lack of indentation [in Bamboo Dreams] that can make many of these little poems difficult to comprehend.” I wasn’t sure what kind of indentation he was talking about until I stumbled upon his own piece submitted to Shamrock:

          extorted fluid
                amidst the thorns, morning dew
                on wild rose petals

I don’t think that the indentation Mr. Watkins employs here makes this piece easier to read and comprehend. I wonder if he is aware of the fact that classical Japanese haiku were not presented as three-liners but were written in a single vertical line; that's why a cutting word (kireji) was used
to separate one part of a haiku from the other.

The further you read this “review”, the more amusing it gets. The next Mr Watkins’s statement will surely raise quite a few eyebrows: “75% of the poetry featured on the [Shamrock] site has undergone rewriting or abridging at the hands of Anatoly Kudryavitsky.” What the dickens, or rather, what the Watkins? As Francis Bacon once put it, "Slander boldly, something always sticks." A statement like this cannot be an honest error; it is the result of data fabrication, i.e. the reviewer’s gross misconduct. How the editors of Kokako, Patricia Prime and Margaret Beverland, who take full responsibility for what they print, approved such drivel for publication is beyond me.

So now the readers of these pages can take a guess what the aim of Mr. Watkins’s “review” was, if not to settle accounts with me. Isn't it a shame that the editors of Kokako failed to make sure that the underlying feelings were more appropriate? They are now saying that an apology to me “will be published in the next issue of Kokako (April, 2014).” We'll have to wait and see...

I also wonder if Kokako is now going to raise the Jolly Roger of 5-7-5. Because if you have said “A”, you will also have to say “B”, otherwise you’ll be accused of bias, and rightly so. Of course, a scientific periodical can get one of the books on the origin of the species reviewed by a creationist and the other ones by evolutionists but after that who is going to take this magazine seriously? Now I am curious to see how the editors of Kokako are going to pull through.

In Part 1 of our “Unscrupulous Reviewers and Negligent Editors” series (see Shamrock No 25) I wrote the following: “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.” I sadly note that my lamentations didn’t stop the rot and it has now reached yet another haiku publication. The bitter personal bile poured out by some individuals and readily printed by some negligent or sensation seeking editors leaves me quite speechless. Of course, it tells its own story, an old story of incompetence and jealousy.

As for Mr. Watkins, his very inspired look can be viewed here. Just so you know who I am talking about. I sincerely believe that Mr. Watkins deserves a place in encyclopedias – alongside a certain person from Porlock. His innovative approach to getting published is clear as a crisp spring morning. I do realise that, having received from somebody a “publish me, or else!” ultimatum, most editors will simply tell this person to go to hell, but I can suggest a better place to send him to. Just tell him, “Go to Kokako!

Anatoly Kudryavitsky

As our readers will notice, I do not comment on Roberta Beary’s graceless reply to my essay in Shamrock 25, which sullied the pages of Frogpond 36.2. Instead of an admission of presumption and carelessness, accompanied by an apology, readers are treated to Ms. Beary’s self-excusing reference to sources she (unthinkingly) relied upon. If she had any experience in publishing, she would have known that there are attributable sources of material that an editor of a book can name on the Acknowledgements page, e.g. other books and periodicals, including online magazines, and not attributable ones (other websites, blogs, personal pages, promotional leaflets, etc.). The website of the Irish Haiku Society is not an attributable source, so I couldn't possibly name it. In such a case an editor names the closest attributable source, which I did. Now that the revised version of the poem by Seamus Heaney has appeared in Bamboo Dreams, this book becomes an attributable source for it and can be referred to as such. The fact that no information regarding a revised version of a poem is made within a publication is no grounds for a reviewer to account for a discrepancy by jumping to the conclusion that, therefore, the editor must have taken liberties with the text. This reply only confirms what the readers of my essay already know: that the reviewer who has been caught out in what amounts to slander (intentional or otherwise) is guilty as charged.

Books Recieved

Glenn G. Coats. Snow on the Lake. Haibun and Haiku

Pineola Publihing, Virginia, USA, 2013

90 pp.; ISBN 978-0-6157-9911-7

Available from Pineola Publishing, 467 North Hardtimes Drive, Prospect,

Virginia 23960, USA

Glenn G. Coats is one of the poets widely represented in Shamrock, where some of his haiku and haibun found a home for the first time. Having started writing haiku in the 1990s, he is now one of the most exciting voices in English-language short-form poetry. He has an eye for everyday wonders of nature:

          evening snow
          a scent of rabbit
          in all the air

Glenn G. Coats is also one of the top haibun writers of today. His book will be a worthwhile addition to any haiku library.


Klaus-Dieter Wirth. Im Sog der Stille / In the Wake of Silence

208 Haiku. German/English/French/Spanish

Hamburger Haiku Verlag, Hamburg, 2013

240 pp.; ISBN 978-3-937257-72-3

Available from

The previous collection by Klaus-Dieter Wirth, Zugvögel / Migratory Birds, has been reviewed in Shamrock 19. This ones brings together 208 of the poet's more recent haiku and senryu from various haiku periodicals where they first appeared. It represents German and, wider, European haiku at its best. Just one example:

          button mushrooms
          breaking through the asphalt
          Hiroshima Day

This book comes highly recommended.


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). 
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