Per Diem: Daily Haiku from Around the World—September 2015








We’ve featured a new Per Diem on our home page every day since 2012. In 2015, we’re pleased to continue this popular feature in a new layout and a new context.

Each day a new Per Diem poem will appear in the header on every page. And Per Diem is now linked directly to World of Haiku, a new project featuring poems from a different country each month. We’ll start this January and continue until we’ve exhausted the haiku cultures of the world. We hope you’ll enjoy seeing the variety and breadth of haiku as it is practiced around the world, and coming to know poets who share the same love of haiku as you do.

Greece is the featured country in September 2015. For more information about haiku in this part of the world, see A History of Greek Haiku.


Book of the Week: pilgrim stone

miller_pilgrimstonecoverpaul m. is the nom de plume of Modern Haiku editor Paul Miller (sorry to out you, Paul . . .). As an author he has produced, among other things, a series of chapbooks such as this one (self-published, 2008), often unified by a theme. There emerges from such work his unique, understated and resonant voice, and a special way into his subject one isn’t likely to forget.

You can read the entire book in the THF Digital Library.

Do you have a chapbook published 2009 or earlier you would like featured as a Book of the Week? Contact us for details.

Haiku featured in the Book of the Week Archive are selected by Jim Kacian, following a concept first explored by Tom Clausen, and are used with permission.

middle-aged a sun-warmed stone fits perfectly in my hand
spot where I proposed— footpath gravel from different quarries
we pass humming different tunes winter moon
explaining again our two homes snow drift
icicles— the graves of our enemies
December beach the last bit of flesh from a plum blossom

Bookstories 40: An Even Dozen

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!


Twelve Haiku

Both personally and professionally, I have always been involved in and fascinated by the blues. Its regular structure represents the perimeter within which there is infinite freedom. I do not necessarily subscribe to any rules of structure when it comes to haiku, but I felt such freedom when choosing to limit my compositions to a given number of syllables, and the number of poems themselves to twelve. Twelve is the magical point where the imperfect yet infinite three is able to meet the more balanced and logical four. It is a place where the self makes sense, and I did choose to include a sense of self, again feeling free to break with tradition. In my compositions a blues theme is always a journey, and this book spans continents and seasons outward looking in yet never experiencing any pain or loss. The photography is possibly too detailed to represent, yet hopefully enough to evoke. As with every product of the soul, it ceases to live once it is outside of us, hence I see the limitations of what I have written. It nevertheless represents a trace and as such, in the spirit of haiku, it is a small thing but one of inestimable value in the present.

— Martin Esposito

The Renku Sessions: Triparshva—Call for verse 11


Welcome to the third Renku Session. I’m Linda Papanicolaou, and I’ll be leading this journey in collaborative poetry. Triparshva is a 22-verse form developed by Norman Darlington in 2005. It’s a good form for composing online because it moves more quickly than the 36-verse kasen, while also following the jo-ha-kyu (beginning-development-rapid closure) pattern of traditional renku. So whether you’re new to renku, or simply want to keep your skills honed, you’re especially encouraged to join us.

Selection of Verse 10:

Right through today (Wednesday), on the comments thread of the Call for Verse 10 we have had a lot of interesting discussion about person/non-person verses and about topic repetition and regression. If you haven’t checked in there lately, do check in there.  Partly as a consequence I’ll be brief here and simply announce the selection of verse 10.

Once again,  the approaches to treating winter love were varied and interesting.  There was some uncertainty about the problem of writing a  verse that was both love and non-person, so at one point I went through the comments  and attempted to give everyone feedback (a smiley face to note that the offer met the requirements) but I discovered that some seem to have been posted as sub-comments to other offers and there was no way to respond.  So apologies if yours was passed by.  I would like to commend two of Maureen’s  verses: the flannel sheet charged with static electricity and her  lace handkerchief dropped on the snow. Both sit very nicely with the maeku with its roofing iron mailbox. Each colors the maeku a little differently as I envision the people involved.  Oh, yes, non-person verses all, but objects can tell us so much about the people who created or last touched them. Both would be lovely choices were we writing a kasen with 24 verses to develop the ha in full range and depth. The problem with a triparshva, though,  is that we have 10 ha verses and are nearly halfway through the side so I feel a need to up the intensity with something that breaks  form and comes at us strongly with the unexpected. So we’ll go with a very different approach: Chris’s hashtag verse.  Here it is with maeku and uchikoshi:

who left the doors open
to Valhalla?
~Polona Oblak/ ns

rusty roofing iron
as a letterbox
~Sandra Simpson

#smitten #diamond #yes
~Christopher Patchel

See how it takes the letterbox, a time-honored way for lovers to communicate, subverts and upends it.  Even “smitten” and  “yes”—which in another construction would imply a person to feel the emotion and utter the acceptance—become impersonal when tweeted.   Yet there is a story behind it, and a sweet one.  Love in  the social media age when even the most personal is public. Nicely, inventiveky done!  It’s a good strong start for what will surely be a unique love run.

Specifications for Verse 11: 

This will be another love verse, three lines and non-seasonal this time.  And, a person verse.  (Whew!) Do note, though, we’ve leaped right past the earlier love topics, “catching a glimpse of the beloved”, “flirtation”, “seduction” and  “assignation”, where have we to go now?  Waiting or pining for an absent lover is a likely candidate. Maybe a marital tiff?   I won’t prescribe.  Let’s see what you can come up with. In short, here again are the requirements:

  • Three lines
  • Non-seasonal love
  • A person verse
  • Link to the maeku (Chris’s hashtag verse)
  • Shift away from the uchikoshi (Sandra’s roofing iron letterbox)
  • Pay attention to sequence and progression in crafting your love topic
  • Things to avoid include metal, writing, and while it’s a stretch to call Valhalla a house, it is architecture and we have a three-verse intermission for dwellings.
  • The season reference in the hashtag verse specifies “winter” so any season reference that names the season is off-limits for the rest of the renku.


How to Submit:

All verse positions in this renku will be degachi. Please post your offers in the Comments section below. Let’s have an upper limit of 3 per participant.

The call for verse 4 will remain open until Monday, August  31, 2015 at midnight (EDT).  At that time I’ll collect everyone’s ideas, consider each, choose the one that best serves the renku, and post a call for the next verse on Thursday.

Useful links and resources:  

  • If you’re just joining us, please take a moment to review my Introduction to Triparshva post.
  • NEW:  A full copy of the schema for the renku may be found at the bottom of the introductory page. I am filling in the verses as they are placed.
  • For the archive of previous calls and submissions, click here.

The Renku so far:

Side 1: jo

a bowl of cherries
sitting on each white plate
someone’s name
~Lynne Rees /su

under a canvas tent
the snap of a breeze
~Barbara Kaufmann /su

passersby stop
to applaud a subway
saxophone player
~Karen Cesar / ns

sweet reminiscences
of our bygone days
~Barbara A. Taylor / ns

yet again
the moon lights the loggerhead
as she digs
~Paul MacNeil / sp mn

with the twittering
morning mist clears away
~Maria Tomczak

Side 2: Ha

from the mountain top
Puyallup natives trace
their lands below
~Carmen Sterba / ns

who left the doors open
to Valhalla?
~Polona Oblak/ ns

rusty roofing iron
as a letterbox
~Sandra Simpson

#smitten #diamond #yes
~Christopher Patchel