Everyday poetry

“cowlick” is 5×7, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper and digitally manipulated.

“cowlick” is 5×7, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper and digitally manipulated.

Four years ago, if you had told me I would become a haiku poet, I would have mentally rolled my eyes. Back then I never read poetry, much less wrote it. The long, obscure poems I came across in the pages of the New Yorker seemed like far too much work to decipher, so I would skip them (to be honest, I still do). As for haiku, I was vaguely familiar with the form, but had not written one since elementary school (something about a deer in the woods, or was that my cinquain?).

Well, life is a series of unexpected events. For my birthday in July of 2010, my artist friend Amy Uyeki gave me a book of senryu (haiku’s wry, funny cousin) written by her Japanese grandmother, accompanied by Amy’s art. This lovely book set me on my current path. Now, no one is more amazed than I am to find my poems and art published in the leading journals and anthologies of haiku in English. Besides the recognition within the haiku community, I love the fact that my work seems to resonate with regular people who don’t normally read poetry.

April is National Poetry Month, so I’m celebrating by sharing some of the haiku and senryu that I’ve had published this past year. My thanks to the tireless editors and dedicated readers who enable us poets to share our words with the world, so we’re not just mumbling to ourselves. (OK, there is still some mumbling involved.)

some part of me
still wild

tinywords 13.2 (September 17, 2013); republished in fear of dancing: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2013, Ed. Jim Kacian (Red Moon Press, 2014)

(I was delighted to hear last week that the above poem has been shortlisted for the Haiku Foundation’s annual Touchstone Awards for best individual poems of the year, out of more than 500 poems nominated. And to whomever nominated my poem, thank you!)

Air and Space Museum
the crowds leave little
of either

Prune Juice, Issue 10 (July 2013)

breadcrumbs gone
Hansel and Gretel
consult their iPhones

Prune Juice, Issue 10 (July 2013)

worn elastic
even my underwear
is tired

Prune Juice, Issue 10 (July 2013)

email menu option
“Remove all attachments” —
Zen tip from Apple

Prune Juice, Issue 10 (July 2013) as a haiga (art with haiku)

dishes washed
the farthest hill
still rimmed with gold

A Hundred Gourds 2:3 (June 2013)

beyond the prow the long green river unwinds me

A Hundred Gourds 2:4 (September 2013)

adoption papers pregnant with hope

Now This: Contemporary Poems of Beginnings, Renewals, and Firsts, Ed. Robert Epstein (Wasteland Press, 2013)

mother’s milk
the ache
of this world

Modern Haiku 44.2 (Summer 2013)

apple blossoms
she asks me to scatter
her ashes

Acorn, Issue 30 (Spring 2013)

river current I practice letting go

tinywords 13.2 (July 19, 2013)

white linen
the easy sunlight
in his smile

Frogpond 36:2 (Spring/Summer 2013)

New Year’s morning
in the mirror
last year’s face

A Hundred Gourds 2.4 (September 2013)

hermit crab
my collection of
empty boxes

A Hundred Gourds 2.4 (September 2013)

deep winter
the cherry trees

A Hundred Gourds 2.4 (September 2013)

from the hot tub
wearing only his belt
Orion rises

Prune Juice, Issue 11 (November 2013)

summer bonfire
the Christmas tree lights up
one last time

Prune Juice, Issue 11 (November 2013)

father and son
in matching caps—

Prune Juice, Issue 11 (November 2013) as a haiga

“country road” is 5×7, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on textured paper.

“country road” is 5×7, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on textured paper.

country road
a flock of ducks
holds up traffic

Haigaonline (December 2013) as a haiga

thrift store puzzle
the holes
you can never fill

Modern Haiku 44.3 (Winter 2013)

windswept dunes
the difference between
wants and needs

tinywords 13:3 (Dec. 4, 2013)

hanging in my closet the person I used to be

tinywords 13:3 (Jan. 1, 2014)

his loose tooth
back and forth all day
ants in the grass

Frogpond 37:1 (Winter 2014)

for better or for worse
our lights and darks
tumbling together

The Heron’s Nest XVI:1 (March 2014)

Here’s to the poetry we find in every day!

Makino Studios News

Hungry Ghosts: I will have several pieces in a group show by artists with Asian and Pacific Islander backgrounds. The show is opening this Saturday, April 5 from 6-9 p.m. during Arts Alive at the Ink People's Brenda Tuxford Gallery, upstairs at 325 2nd Street in Eureka, California. Besides myself, participating artists include my sister Yoshi Makino and my friend Amy Uyeki. I’ll also have cards and prints for sale.

Open Studios: Join silk painter Tina Gleave and me for the first weekend of North Coast Open Studios on May 31 and June 1 at the Samoa Women’s Club in Samoa, California. We will be demonstrating our techniques and serving refreshments, and we look forward to sharing our work with you at this fun, free event.

Traveling: I will be traveling and on a painting retreat for most of the rest of this month. My Makino Studios Etsy shop will be closed April 5-29. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Connecting: Thank you for the many heartfelt responses to my last post, “Lights out.” You can also get news, fresh art and haiku on my Makino Studios Facebook page and my Twitter feed.