HSA logo

Frogpond 38.3 • 2015

Museum of Haiku
Literature Award

Haiku & Senryu

Essay 1 - Two-Line Haiku

Essay 2 - Interview


Haiku Sequence


Book Reviews

From the Editors


Piercing the Mountain: An Interview with Ruth Yarrow

by Michael Dylan Welch, Sammamish, WA

Piercing the Mountain: An Interview with Ruth Yarrow
(complete PDF version)

Here is a sample excerpt from the opening page of this interview:

Imagine hearing a haiku about a water ouzel or a loon, followed by whistling or whooping in imitation of that bird’s sound. Imagine the poet’s pursed lips, trilling tongue, or occasionally flapping arms. Imagine poem after poem recited this way, each one dramatized with precisely imitated birdsong. Poets in the Seattle area have had the privilege of witnessing this performance numerous times. They have heard a haiku poet who knows her birds, and knows her nature: Ruth Yarrow. Her poems about plants and animals or hiking in the old-growth forest of the Pacific Northwest—which Margaret Craven called “the greatest forest in the world”—demonstrate not just a deep knowledge of the earth and its flora and fauna, but an irrepressible love and respect for it, too.

Ruth Yarrow’s passion for haiku and the natural world has unfolded for more than forty years. This passion extends to activism, working for peace, justice, and environmental causes. She has written remarkable essays focusing on the intersection of haiku and senryu with socially significant subjects, such as labor, war, and nuclear disarmament. She’s lived in Ghana and Costa Rica, and in places closer to home such as New Jersey, upstate New York, and Seattle, where she has influenced count- less others on two coasts—and worldwide through her haiku publications—with her quiet dedication to careful seeing in her natural world. That seeing has included her family and personal relationships, too, and she’s written some of the best motherhood haiku yet written in English.

Ruth and I knew each other before we both moved to the Seattle area, and for decades I read her poetry in the leading journals. I recall a memorable day in San Francisco when I played tour guide for her and her two children when they were visiting from New York. I vividly remember more recent nature walks she led at the Seabeck Haiku Getaway

[essay continues for several more pages] . . .

. . .

Welch, Michael Dylan. "Piercing the Mountain: An Interview with Ruth Yarrow." Frogpond 38.3, Autumn, 2015, 82-95.

This excerpt inclues the first page of the interview: page 82. The complete essay includes pages 82-99. To read the complete essay, click on the link to the PDF version:

Piercing the Mountain: An Interview with Ruth Yarrow
(complete PDF version)


Michael Dylan Welch lives in Sammamish, Washington, with his wife and two children. He has served as an HSA officer for many years, and just completed a second term as poet laureate for the city of Redmond, Washington, where he also curates two poetry reading series. He started National Haiku Writing Month (www.nahaiwrimo. com) in 2010, and his personal website (www.graceguts.com) in 2009. He has edited Woodnotes, Tundra, and Cascade poetry journals, and continues to edit and publish occasional haiku and tanka books with his press, Press Here. His haiku have won numerous awards and have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies in twenty languages. Recent books include True Colour, Becoming a Haiku Poet, and Fire in the Treetops: Celebrating Twenty-Five Years of Haiku North America.