Photograph by Cindy Zackowitz
IN MEMORIAM: It is with the deepest sadness that we let fellow poets know that Cindy Zackowitz, one of the finest haiku poets and co-founder of the Alaska Haiku Society, passed away unexpectedly in her home in Anchorage, Alaska, on September 23, 2012. Her outstanding poetry and amazing photography, known worldwide, will continue to be gifts for all of us. More of her work will be added to this website in the months ahead as a continuing tribute to a dear haiku friend.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Exciting things happen daily at The Haiku Foundation - especially in the recently-added Forum!
→For poets who have published English-language haiku in an edited journal (print or online), see the announcement regarding how to join the worldwide Haiku Registry
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Welcome to our Website!
While there are currently very few members of the Alaska Haiku Society (AHS), we warmly invite any poet from Alaska to join us. We also represent the Alaska Region of the Haiku Society of America (the HSA has many members all over the world, and would also welcome more from Alaska).
Since our members are scattered across such a vast space, we have never met. We envy those haiku poets who are able to meet frequently with other poets. We share our work here and our thoughts about haiku. And every so often we'll feature a guest poet, whose work will be showcased here.
We plan to regularly add new haiku (click on the Recent Work button) and haiku ruminations, so please return now and then to see what's new.
We hope this site - and the links to other haiku information -- will help encourage more Alaskans to take an interest in haiku. We should include a warning though: taking an interest in haiku often leads to haiku addiction.
We'd appreciate your signing our guestbook, and letting us know what you think about our site. We hope to hear from our haiku friends around the world -- and from other Alaska poets who have just learned that there is an Alaska Haiku Society or a Haiku Society of America. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us, and we'll get back to you.
Photograph by Scott Perkins (Billie's son)
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO 5/7/5?
After reading the haiku posted on this website, some readers who havenít followed the international haiku scene for the past few decades might be asking, "Whatever happened to 5/7/5?" Some might even be saying, "That's not haiku!"
Let us explain.
Most of us were taught that an English-language haiku always consists of 17 syllables, written in three lines--five syllables in the first, seven in the second, and five in the last. Most of us began writing in that style, and some still do.
Though this approach was originally thought to follow the form of Japanese haiku, modern scholars have concluded that the definition is not really appropriate for English-language haiku. This is because a so-called "syllable" in Japanese is quite different from a syllable in English (for example, a two-syllable word in English might be four "syllables" in Japanese). All English-language haiku poets remain, of course, deeply indebted to the Japanese haiku mastersBillie writes, "I began writing haiku in the late 1960s. Six of my early haiku were selected by Harold G. Henderson (co-founder of the Haiku Society of America) to appear in Haiku Drops from the Great Dipper, published by the Poetry Society of Alaska in 1973. Looking at those six haiku now (and every haiku I wrote for the next 20 years), I see that most of them would not be published today. They are "haiku-shaped," but what Peggy Lyles, our first guest poet, said of her own early work, "uninformed."
While the 17-syllable issue has been debated for decades, few English-language haiku editors publish 5/7/5 haiku, unless the poem is so strong that the 17 syllables are not obvious - the poem sings on its own without any sense that it has been "padded" to meet a set syllable count.