Frogpond 35.3 • 2012

Museum of Haiku
Literature Award

Haiku & Senryu

Essay on Meaning in Haiku


Haiku Sequence


Book Review

From the Editors



From the Editors

I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon, I put it back in again. ~Oscar Wilde

This droll expression of wit from a master wordsmith brings up much of what we’d like to convey to the poets, writers, and readers we serve. The quote is especially applicable to haiku and senryu in which every word, every mark of punctuation carries weight.

With these “little” haiku and senryu often comes the misconception that they can be finished off easily and quickly without all the careful attention to detail that writing longer pieces requires. But even more so, for this briefest of written forms, exact attention to detail is what sets fine and excellent pieces above the rest. As editors, we’d like to pay homage to that process and urge all of us to push harder, deeper.

Some of the questions we ask ourselves as we pore over the thousands of haiku and senryu submitted for each issue are these: Does the poet go with a standard kigo, a well-worn opening line? Or does he reach for a novel articulation of the season or strange, possibly arcane description of time of day or experience? What if the cliché is exactly the right image? Does the poet overburden the lines and images with too many words? Or does she deliver only two-thirds of a poem in three lines? Does the poet experiment with juxtaposition and write for surprise? Or does he fall prey to complacency? There are no easy answers to these and other questions. What we do know is this: Words chosen by the poet matter. The punctuation a poet takes out or puts back in also matters. Indeed, the fine attention to the smallest details invariably makes the difference between haiku selected for publication in Frogpond and haiku regrettably turned down.

There is, in addition, the great care that we have tried to take as editors, not only in our selection of haiku, haibun, linked forms, and essays, but also in their presentation. Our job is simple yet complex—to facilitate the transfer of images and ideas from the page to the reader’s mind. In an essay, for instance, a misplaced comma can render that passage opaque. Conversely, a felicitous pause can suggest just the right tone and lighten the way to immeasurable nuance of thought.

With that said, we are grateful for every submission we received as well as for the poets and authors who are published in the autumn issue. Our appreciation to Charlie Trumbull and Bill Pauly for assistance in the final proofing and editing stages and to Joan Iversen Goswell, whose “Bullfrog” adds a touch of whimsy to the pages. We are especially indebted to Chris Patchel, whose artistic and design expertise adds a touch of class beyond our inaugural issue, with the excellence he brings to the masthead, cover art, and title page for Frogpond 35:3.

We look forward to receiving, reading, and publishing your work and leave you with the same challenge we bring to our own writing practice: read, study, write, edit, consider, edit, consider again, and again, edit, then publish!

Francine Banwarth, Editor
Michele Root-Bernstein, Assistant Editor

Francine Banwarth, Editor
985 So Grandview
Dubuque, Iowa 52003