an evergreen air freshener
on the rearview mirror
top of the space Needle
how it feels
to spot a whale
Quintessentially Pacific Northwest, Tanya McDonald was born and raised in Oregon, and earned a creative writing degree at Linfield College. She was one of the few children spared the 5-7-5 introduction to haiku in grade school, and first got introduced to senryu by her high school English teacher.
But it was later, during the three years she spent in England from 1999 to 2002 that she started investigating haiku, first reading the Japanese masters, who she didn’t find uniformly engaging, and then discovering the websites of Jane Reichhold and Michael Dylan Welch, which, showed her a different side of haiku. Moving to Corvallis in 2002, she continued exploring haiku, composing poems on her walks to and from work as an inventory assistant at a shoe store.
In 2007 Tanya and her husband Russ moved to the Seattle area, and she started getting involved in the local literary scene. She met Michael Dylan Welch at an open mic night at SoulFood Books and subsequently took a haiku course from him at Richard Hugo House in Seattle. Tanya started attending Haiku Northwest meetings in 2008 and became Washington State Regional Coordinator in 2010, a position she held for 3 years. She also was co-coordinator for the 2011 Haiku North America meeting held in Seattle, and was a co-editor of the Haiku Northwest 25th anniversary anthology No Longer Strangers.
Tanya’s work has been widely published in print and online journals. She was included in A New Resonance 7 in 2011, and three years later, was one of four featured readers in the 25th annual Haiku Poets of Northern California Two Autumns reading in San Francisco.
Her personality shows through in all her work. While she understands the importance of knowing the history and ingredients of literary haiku, she also believes that being open to new and different styles of haiku stretches her mind and her fiction writing.
freewriting the red mite’s path
But Tanya’s life doesn’t solely revolve around haiku. She is currently busy revising her young adult novel Pawn and working on its sequel with the help of her cat Belle and many cups of tea a day. She is also an avid birder, loves walking in any sort of weather (which is good if you live in Western Washington), and searches out bookstores and libraries wherever she and Russ travel.
A voice for the future, look forward to reading more of Tanya’s work as she expands her horizons and stretches her reach.
• • •
“log truck” Bottle Rockets, #24 (12:2) 2011
“top of the Space Needle” Per Diem, May 2012, The Haiku Foundation
“freewriting” Modern Haiku 43:2, 2012
“skylight” Frogpond 37:2, 2014