Thursday, October 16, 2008

Basho Haiku Challenge Winner

Cover art by Wayne Hogan

It is with great pleasure that I announce that Roberta Beary is the winner of the 1st annual Basho Haiku Challenge for her poem:


on the church steps
a mourning dove
with mother's eyes


I'd like to thank Roberta and everyone for their enthusiastic participation in the challenge. The level and quality of work in the nearly 200 poems I received was so outstanding that I will be publishing a chapbook of the best 24 poems received sometime after the 1st of the year. 19 poets will be featured. As mentioned in my last post on the challenge, all poets included will receive two copies of the chapbook plus a six issue subscription to Lilliput Review (or a six issue extension of their current subscription). Roberta will receive Basho: The Complete Haiku, translated and edited by Jane Reichhold, contributor copies of the anthology, and a 15 issue subscription to Lillie. I will be informing the other 18 poets included sometime over the next week via email.

In addition, did you notice I said 1st annual?

I've decided that this was so successful, that the 2nd Basho Haiku Challenge will be taking place the same time, next year.

Finally for the poets who participated but did not have their work included, I will be thanking them with free copies of the two current issues of Lillie (or a two issue extension etc.).

My most sincere thanks to one and all for making what could have been a formidable task a real pleasure.


There was an interesting article in the New York Times this week on how an Amercian poet has never won the Nobel Prize. It's worth a look-see.

Curtis Dunlap, over at Blogging Along Tobacco Road, has sent along a notice that the Australian Haiku Society has created a webpage for tributes to William J. Higginson. If you have been moved by his work and legacy, you may want to contribute. The deadline is October 27th.

Last night, I gave a talk at the local library school on things librarianish (ok, collection development, if you're curious). I decided things needed to be put in the proper perspective and so opened up with a poem by Gerald Stern:

Stepping Out of Poetry

What would you give for one of the old yellow streetcars
rocking toward you again through the thick snow?

What would give for the feeling of joy as you climbed

up the three iron steps and took your place by the cold window?

Oh, what would you give to pick up your stack of books

and walk down the icy path in front of the library?

What would you give for your dream

to be as clear and simple as it was then

in the dark afternoons, at the old scarred tables?

It just so happens that Stern grew up in Pittsburgh and chances are that he is speaking of the Main Library where I work and many of the students come. Though the fact resonates it isn't necessary to remain relevant. I suggested to them this wasn't so much of a geographic shout-out to the Burg, nor a poem about nostalgia per se, but a poem about what happens to dreams. And that I wanted them to not think about their dreams but those of the people who have come and continue to come to the library through all these many years.

I can report, despite many a renovation and reinvention (& for the sake of a little resonance), that those old scarred tables remain, as do those occasionally recaptured dreams.

On the way out in the elevator, a student from the class asked me if I was the publisher of Lilliput Review. When I said yes, she told me a delightful story of the poet Peggy Garrison coming to the bookstore where she worked in Manhattan and telling her proudly of her publication in the mag.

As we rode down in that tiny moving room, the small world of the small press expanded very briefly for a moment.

Featured this week from the Lillie archive is issue #72, from August 1995. Enjoy.


Multiple Choice: Erotica
As condom
is to skin

so poetry
is to:

a) the act
b) the art
c) the ought
Ken Waldman


A Study

One thousand views of Backbone Mountain.
One hundred black-hair brushes.
Seven stylistic changes.
One or two regrets.
Two hundred details.
Ten thousand things forgotten.
Leslie Carroll



In a Renaissance painting
whose title I've forgotten
completely as a stronger man
would have forgotten you,
Lucifer holds a seat
in the heavenly councils back benches,

the way you might think of me
when I call,
untangling the telephone cord
from my horns.
J. D. Smith


Apple Blossom

My first bar in Dixie--
all the usual beers but
Brueghel would've loved it
painting freightyard
royalty displaced
by urban renewal, bean soup,
like ambrosia, 50¢ a bowl
Walt Franklin



every word they write
another earring melted down
into the golden calf
of American poetry.


¶ i will not drown
--rather i will raise the level of the ocean


best till next time,


Charles Gramlich said...

Congrats to Roberta. I'm glad you had so many great poems to read. Wonderful.

Ed Baker said...

ter-rific poem

Roberta is always "solid"

can't wait to share in the phun that you had doing this...

and see the others' pieces...

Jim H. said...

Congratulations, Roberta! Excellent poem.

And thanks, Don, for making this thing go.

Jim Haas

Unknown said...

great job Roberta--well deserved!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Roberta for her wonderful poem! I look forward to the entire collection.

Best Regards from Iowa!


snowbird said...

Those eyes! Yes! Roberta, I loved
your "Revelations:Unedited" in
Frogpond..."The Usual Suspects"
Thanks. Merrill Ann Gonzales

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Thanks for the note. I've been trying to get in touch with you as I lost your email.

I would like to publish one of your poems in Basho Haiku challenge chapbook. I don't have the title as I'm at work, but if you could email I'd appreciate it.

lilliputreview at gmail dot com


Greg said...

congrats to Roberta! i'm sure the chapbook will be a great collection.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Charles, Greg and all ... thanks much, Roberta is happy, Terri got in touch, and I'm looking forward to putting the chapbook together after the new year. ... Don

Roberta Beary said...

Thanks to all for your congrats and comments. Due to my mom's move to a community near me, this is the first chance I have had to read this posting. A big thank you to Don and Lilliput Review for hosting the 1st annual Basho Haiku Challenge and for the wonderful prizes.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Roberta (& all),

Thanks for your enthusiastic participation - it has been a delightful experience with connections made to folks and their work which would not have been possible otherwise.

Plus the starting of a new tradition. I'll open up reading for the 2nd Annual Basho Haiku Challenge sometime in August '09 with results posted in early October. Only ten months away!

Roberta, hope your mom is comfortably settled in.


Area 17 said...

Congratulations Roberta! ;-)

all my very best to you and your mom,

With Words