An Interview with THF President Jim Kacian

Jim Kacian, founder and president of The Haiku Foundation, was recently interviewed by Reva Goldberg of The Cold Lands blog on the occasion of celebrating International Haiku Poetry Day 2015. (The Cold Lands is a film produced and directed by Tom Gilroy, one of a collaborative of poets who published The Haiku Year (Softskull Publishing, 1998). The film was shot in upstate New York, and the setting inspired a lavish book of haiku (which includes a cd of the film).) In the interview Kacian addresses, among other things, why he created the Foundation, and his aspirations for it in the future. Visit the blog to view the entire interview.

International Haiku Poetry Day 2015 — Wow!

Our inaugural International Haiku Poetry Day was a huge success, exceeding by a wide margin our wildest expectations. We are excited by the activity in each of our venues. The first HaikuLife Haiku Film Festival established a standard by which future such events will be measured, and the films will continue to be available for screening in the HaikuLife Archive. Dozens of people attended haiku celebrations across the country and around the world, and we will offer stories and images from these as they are made available to us over the following days and weeks. And our inaugural EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration was a surprise hit, garnering more than 400 responses and thousands of views. It too will remain permanently available as part of our EarthRise Archive.

We want to thank everyone who has made International Haiku Poetry Day 2015 a success. This would include filmmakers

  • Ed Bremson
  • Marion Clarke
  • Sean Dougherty
  • The Haiku North American 2015 Executive Committee
  • Jim Kacian
  • Michael Henry Lee
  • Ron C. Moss and Ferris Gilli
  • Genie Nagano
  • Victor Ortiz
  • Stella Pierides
  • Gabriel Rosenstock
  • Melissa Starr
  • The Towpath Haiku Society
  • Jessica Tremblay
  • The Yuki Teikei Haiku Society

local organizers

  • Fay Aoyagi
  • Gayle Bull
  • Terry Ann Carter
  • Carlos Colón
  • Terri Hale French
  • Jeff Hoagland
  • Debbie Kolodji
  • Patricia Machmiller
  • Naia
  • Kathabela Wilson

the hundreds of poets who read and contributed to EarthRise, and the officers and board of The Haiku Foundation

  • Thomas R. Borkowski
  • Stella Pierides
  • Dave Russo
  • Billie Wilson

You have all helped make our day a truly special one. Thanks!

Jim Kacian
The Haiku Foundation

Happy International Haiku Poetry Day 2015!

Hi, All:

We hope you are enjoying International Haiku Poetry Day. We have a host of haiku-themed activities for you, including participating in the inaugural EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaborative, nearly an hour and a half of haiku video in our inaugural HaikuLife Haiku Film Festival, and the announcement of our 2014 Touchstone Awards winners. Thanks for your participation, and we hope you enjoy our special day!

Bookstories 21: Joseph Kirschner’s Edges

libraryofbabelEvery book tells its story, but what of the other story, the story behind the book? Bookstories offers an opportunity to tell that story. If you have a story about a book or poem you would like to share, contact us and we’ll help you make it happen. Thanks for letting us know the rest of the story!


I came to this book of haiku as a recently retired academic. Publishing was where I got my strokes. So, why not with haiku? My inspiration for this book came about due to an accidental encounter. I knew next to nothing about haiku, though I had been trying my hand at short verses I called ‘haiku’ for some half-dozen years. One day I saw an ad for the 1993 Haiku North America Conference being held in Chicago.

I drove down to the city with my companion. Knowing no one there we sat at the back of a large auditorium. On the way out after all was over I overheard a guy talking about looking for the best way to get to Evanston. Since we were going there we offered him a ride. This chance encounter evolved into a lasting friendship. He was Charlie Trumbull, an editor at Britannica. He also happened to run a small press that published books on haiku. He wound up publishing mine.

As I look over these early haiku I find myself tempted to revise. Shades of the academic! Most of my haiku were short poems containing two images, a la the ‘rules’ of haiku. Of course I counted syllables when I drafted these early haiku. This was before I had ever read the haiku of others, much less any essays on the subject. The process seemed simple enough. All I needed was seventeen syllables and two images, along with a season word. This made a verse haiku. Now all I needed was to give the book a theme by finding related haiku and voila! a book. I also knew the images pairs had to differ enough to generate some tension. I wound up choosing two—image haiku that had an edgy quality.

—Joseph Kirschner