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Frogpond 39.1 • 2016

Museum of Haiku
Literature Award

Haiku & Senryu

Essay 1 - Teaching Haiku
in American Higher Education, Part 1

Essay 2 - Raising Haiku Literacy


Haiku Sequence


Book Reviews

From the Editor


Understanding the Larger Pond: Raising Awareness and Spreading Haiku Literacy

by Deborah P. Kolodji

Understanding the Larger Pond: Raising Awareness
and Spreading Haiku Literacy

(complete PDF version)

The following essay is based upon the author’s presentation
at Haiku North America 2015 at Union College.

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

Haiku has been appearing more frequently in the mainstream, from President Obama’s haiku to the Japanese forms issue of Rattle. Haiku is also the perfect size for tweeting, and can be
widely found across all social platforms. Is this a crack in the wall that has historically existed between the mainstream poetry community and the English-language haiku community? Many well-known and extensively-published mainstream poets still think haiku is defined by syllables, and if they realize that haiku is more than this, they are often quoted about the discipline of 5-7-5, saying something like Billy Collins said in his contributor note in the Spring 2015 issue of Rattle, “I follow the seventeen- syllable limit because it provides me with a pleasurable feeling of push-back,”1 or take the position that haiku cannot be written in English, as Jim Natal implies in his afterward for his book of haibun, “My haiku are also not traditionally exact and probably never could be. Even Gary Snyder does not consider his haiku to be true haiku.”2

So, how is haiku currently perceived outside of the English-language haiku community? What can we do to change this perception? In preparation for a presentation given at Haiku North America 2015 at Union College, I sent out questionnaires about haiku to the poetry editors of the top mainstream literary journals with the following questions:

  1. Are you open to submissions of haiku or haibun or other related forms?
  2. What would you expect a haiku to be, and would you con- sider a haiku that isn’t 5-7-5 syllables?
  3. How often do you receive haiku submissions, and how would you rank them as far as quality? (i.e., 1 is very bad, 10 is very good).
  4. Have you ever published haiku?
  5. Do you ever receive haibun submissions and have you ever published them?
  6. What percentage of your submissions come from slush?

The first person to respond was the editor of Poetry, Don Share. Poetry has the distinction of being one of the earliest publishers of English-language haiku, having published Ezra Pound’s famous poem in the April, 1914 issue.

[essay continues for several more pages] . . .

. . .

Kolodji, Deborah P. "Understanding the Larger Pond: Raising Awareness and Spreading Haiku Literacy." Frogpond 39.1, Winter, 2016, 65-75.

This excerpt inclues the first page of the interview: page 75. The complete essay includes pages 65-75. To read the complete essay, click on the link to the PDF version:

Understanding the Larger Pond: Raising Awareness
and Spreading Haiku Literacy

(complete PDF version)


Deborah P. Kolodji moderates the Southern California Haiku Study Group and serves as California Regional Coordinator. She has published over 900 haiku, including some in non-haiku journals like Rattle, Star*Line, and Off the Coast. Her full-length book of haiku, highway of sleeping towns, is upcoming from Shabda Press.