Ukiah Backwards


Ukiah is a small town nestled in a beautiful valley in Mendocino County, California. It is surrounded by oak-covered hills and rolling vineyards that turn gold and scarlet in the fall. I lived in nearby Redwood Valley during high school and have been visiting family there for three decades. I learned to drive on those back roads, lurching along in our red 1971 VW bus with the “Go Solar, It’s Hot” and “Up Yurts” bumper stickers. I edited my high school newspaper; on deadline nights, we diehard journalists would work all night to loud rock music, and then go out to breakfast at Denny’s before dawn. On weekends my friends and I might go roller skating under the rotating disco ball of the unfortunately named Dinky Rink. (More in Haiku for a High School Reunion)

I vaguely knew that Ukiah takes its name from the Pomo Indian word for “south valley.” Yet somehow I only recently realized that Ukiah is also “haiku” spelled backwards!

Eleven years ago, alert Ukiah residents grasped the potential in the name, and the ukiaHaiku Festival was born. This annual celebration, guided in part by renowned haiku poet Jane Reichhold, who lives on the Mendocino coast, promotes the writing of haiku by adults and children alike. I am happy to share that at this year’s ukiaHaiku Festival, held on April 28, two of my haiku won first prize in their categories, from more than 1000 poems submitted.

willow buds
the skipping stone

(First prize, adults)

golden hills
turkey vultures circle the remains
of summer

(First prize, Dori Anderson award for haiku about Ukiah)

Though this is a relatively small haiku contest, with most categories limited to poets from four counties, my deep ties to the area make the ukiaHaiku awards very special to me. As I am quoted saying in this April 30 story in the Ukiah Daily Journal, “I was very excited to win; I am originally from here and am happy to see my old home encouraging haiku poets of all ages.”

My senior year at Ukiah High School, I was voted “Most Creative.” It took thirty years, but in my current life as an artist and haiku poet, I am grateful to finally embrace the promise in my Ukiah roots.

“Sun at last”, shown above, is 5" x 7", painted in 2012 with sumi ink and Japanese gansai paint on paper and stamped with my personal seal. It was first published on DailyHaiga. The original has sold, but it is available as a greeting card or signed print.

Makino Studios News

Happy Mother’s Day! For all of you mothers, thank you for the love and care you bring to this most important role. Here is a piece called An Authentic Life that I wrote about my very special mother, Erika Makino, last year.

Art About Aging: On April 26, the Eureka Times-Standard ran an extended feature article on an aspect of my work: When wrinkles inspire: Arcata artist and haiku poet creates work about aging.

North Coast Open Studios: Five women artists will be showing work and demoing our tools and techniques at the Samoa Women’s Club between Arcata and Eureka, California on the first weekend of North Coast Open Studios, June 1-2. We’ll be there from 11 to 5 both days. The other artists are silk painter Tina Gleave, beeswax collage artist Gigi Floyd, silkscreen artist Cindy Shaw, and potter and printer Marty Flora. Four of us currently have art on view in a group show for participating artists at the Ink People’s Brenda Tuxford gallery in Eureka.

SoHum Summer Art Show: I will join forces with Southern Humboldt ceramic artist Nan Penner for a show at the  Persimmons Garden Gallery in Redway, California during July and August (note date change from June and July).

Framed Art Prints: Through my new presence on Fine Art America, I can now offer all of my pieces as high-quality prints in a variety of sizes. They can be matted and framed to customer specifications or printed on stretched canvas. Although I have only posted a few designs so far, I can list any of the images in my Makino Studios gallery for you to order through FAA; just let me know what you’d like.

Connecting: Thank you to all who responded to my last email newsletter on National Haiku Poetry Day. I really appreciate hearing from you. You can “like” the Makino Studios Facebook page and follow @Ant99 on Twitter for fresh haiku, art and news.