Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Gems Anthology, Bamboo Hut Press, 2014

Originally published (in text form only) through Bamboo Hut Press, Gems: An anthology of haiku, senryu, and sedoka, 2014.

If you enjoy my haiku, you can read more on my home page, by checking the haiku label here on my blog, my haiku board on Pinterest, or by visiting my Instagram or Twitter accounts. 

You can also sign-up for my newsletter/mailing list here

Thanks for dropping by!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Easy Steps to Better Haiku

by Jane Reichhold
for ages 11+

Haiku are little and seem easy to write. Because they are so small, even tiny errors can seem huge. You, as the writer, have only seconds in which to impress the reader, so you want to make the experience as specific and pleasurable as possible.

One of the most important actions a reader takes is picturing the haiku images in his or her mind. When your eyes read “old pond,” you, as a reader, are expected to do more than think about seeing two little words on the page. You are being asked to think of some old pond you have known or seen. Maybe it was a pond in a zoo, or out on a farm, or a secret one in the woods. But to read a haiku successfully, you have to go to the trouble of finding the best “old pond” image that is stored in your memory bank.

This action is vital to haiku and is the actual making of the haiku.

By using one image per line, as most poets do when writing haiku, it gives the reader an opportunity to pause and picture each mind image. This is because the reader's mind is forced to slow down before it swoops over to the beginning of the following line; however, if this is done too often, the haiku risks sounding choppy.

But long ago, the Japanese, who created haiku, discovered that poets could build haiku lines in a way that would encourage the reader to quickly shift his or her eyes to the following line to reach the next image.

Let us say I have written:

the sea
a child throws a stone 

breaking waves

When you read that out loud, you can feel the drop in your voice at the end of each line. We often say the poem feels “choppy” – like waves in stormy weather. However, if I can connect two of those lines so they flow together, I can get rid of one of the choppy places. Just that small trick greatly improves and smoothes out the sound and feeling of the haiku. 

When I look at the poem, I feel the best two lines to connect would be “the sea” and “a child throws a stone,” so I try:

a child throws a stone 
at the sea

Do you see how simply adding ‘at‘ smoothes out the sound of the haiku? Sometimes we call this section of the haiku the “phrase” because it sounds just like a phrase should in English.

But now I have one more image I need to add “breaking waves.” This is called the “fragment” because it is only a fragment of a sentence. 

I could write my haiku as:

the child throws a stone 
at the sea
breaking waves

Now I have too much flow between the images so that it sounds and feels like a sentence. We do not want this in haiku. We are out for more excitement.

If I move the fragment to the top of the poem it will stand alone and feel like a good fragment.

breaking waves
a child throws a stone 

at the sea

Can you feel how differently you read this version of the haiku? Can you see which line is the fragment? Which two lines form the phrase? Do you see what makes this haiku unexpected and funny?

It is unexpected because the first line gives the image and idea of waves breaking on the shore. When the reader reads this, I hope that he or she will imagine tall waves tumbling over each other. Then the reader is asked to see a child throwing a stone. When that image combines with the sense of the first line, one could wonder, “Is the child throwing stones to break waves?” However, when the last line is read, the reader understands that it is the sea breaking its own waves, and a child has become part of the sea by having a good time throwing stones.

And I hope you have a good time finding the haiku in your life!


Jane Reichhold
Author and translator, with a special interest in haiku, tanka, and renga, Jane Reichhold is a three- time winner of the Haiku Society of America Merit Book Award. She has been a member of the Haiku Society of America, Haiku Poets of Northern California, Haiku Canada, Haiku International (Tokyo, Japan), German Haiku Society, and Poetry Society of Japan. She runs the web site Aha! Poetry (

**This article was previously published in the digital magazine Berry Blue Haiku.

**Download a pdf version of this article here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Hundred Gourds, March 2014

Originally published (in text form only) in A Hundred Gourds, March 2014.

If you enjoy my haiku, you can read more on my home page, by checking the haiku label here on my blog, my haiku board on Pinterest, or by visiting my Instagram or Twitter accounts. 

You can also sign-up for my newsletter/mailing list here

Thanks for dropping by!

Monday, February 1, 2016

January Roundup

Wow, the year is off to a zooming start! Here we are -- February 1st already. Crazy! Valentine's Day is just around the corner!

January was a blur. Part of that probably due to the fact that we have put our house up for sale and I've been busy cleaning, organizing, and decluttering. We've been thinking of downsizing for a while and started visiting other houses/condos/townhouses to get an idea of what's out there, and of course, the bug got us and we decided to go for it.

My husband and I are both in a place in our lives where we want less stuff, more simplicity, so this quote right now really resonates with me. :)

The For Sale sign has been up since Tuesday and we had our first open house yesterday. We got lots of positive feedback, so fingers crossed. And, my office has never looked so good! lol 

Writing-wise, I have't been as productive as I'd like, but I managed to get new words down for a total of three days a week (a few hundred words each time so it all adds up). Right now I'm working on a writing course offered through one of Holly Lisle's websites:

The one I'm taking is a free three-week class called How To Write Flash Fiction That Doesn't Suck. I'm really enjoying it so far. Since I struggle with finishing stories, I'm hoping it will help. The class is also geared toward the idea of having 5 completed flash fictions stories that you can either submit to markets or combine in one collection and self-publish. 

I learned about the class when I heard an interview Holly did a while back on the Rocking Self-Publishing podcast (which is an awesome podcast, by the way!). I have been mulling over the idea of trying the Indie route for a while and hearing Holly talk about why she's moved from traditional to indie publishing really helped me realize that there are so many valid reasons to do so.

The self-publishing world has evolved so much over the last few years and no longer hold the stigma it used to. If an author is willing to work hard and not simply view it as a short-cut (because to do it well it does take a lot of hard work) I think it's a very valid option.

I've decided to start by putting together a haiku collection of my work. I know it won't sell a million copies, lol, but I think it will be a great project to learn the self-publishing ropes with. I've also started an email list for any of you that would like to keep up with my progress. You can sign-up for it here.


My mailings will be short and sweet and I know it takes a while to build one up, so I figured I might as well start it now. I'll probably be sending out special offers to my email list subscribers when the haiku collection is ready, too.

Other than that, I had a short story for kids appear in the January 2016 issue of Spaceports & Spidersilk (available through Smashwords). It's a fantasy story called Doggone Dust and the first short story for kids I've had out in a while, so I was pleased with that.

And, before I wrap this one up, I figured I'd share a picture of my dog, Haley, which I posted on Instagram that past month. It's gotten the most likes I've ever had over there -- yes, I think it's safe to say Instagramers love their pets! 

That's it for now folks. Happy February!!!! :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Ebb and Flow of Creativity

This post was originally posted (without the gifs) as a guest entry over at Laura Sassi Tales, a wonderful blog also about writing, reading, and life.

I’ve never been a very prolific writer and struggle with longer works–and I’ve come to accept that I probably always will. It is one of the reasons that I love writing haiku and short poetry so much. They allow me to easily finish a project and experience a sense of accomplishment.

When it comes to longer projects, I tend to get lost in the brainstorming part of it. The story and the characters draw me in but somewhere along the way the passion ebbs. And, for the longest time, I thought it meant there was something wrong with me.

Was I just not cut out to be a writer?

So I’ve cycled through many writing forms such as novels, different poetry forms, short stories, and picture books, hoping that I would find something that would take hold of me and not let go. But no matter what I try, somewhere down the line, I always end up losing focus and passion.

Of course, that could be a lack of discipline on my part, or self-doubt (which I’m working on); yet, I believe a huge part of it is simply the way my brain and creativity works.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that when my focus wanes it is my spirit letting me know that it and my creativity–I believe both are intrinsically intertwined–need a change of pace and scenery. Different senses need to be engaged so that the well can be replenished.

For me, there are many different things I turn to during these times such as knitting, birdwatching, reading oracle cards, spending time with family and friends, watching documentaries, reading books and magazines, doing yoga, and even just taking a stroll in nature.

Writing haiku has also become a wonderful way of centering myself because it forces me to slow down and notice what’s going on around me. It takes me out of my head and helps me connect to my spirit.

So now, when the tides ebb, instead of fighting it, I welcome it and happily let myself drift along, knowing that I will always be brought back to the shore, and knowing that there is an endless number of treasures and ideas to be discovered along the way!

What about you? Does your creativity ebb and flow? And if it does, what activities help you recharge and reconnect? I’d love to hear all about it!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Brand New Shiny Year!

Wow, can't believe 2016 is actually upon us! Time seems to rush by faster and faster every year. Being an introvert that also suffers from social anxiety, I struggle with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but the prospect of a new year always excites me. So many possible opportunities just waiting to be discovered.

I also love to reflect on the past year and set-up intentions for the coming year. You'll notice I said "intentions" and not "resolutions."

I've always found the idea of resolutions and goals paralyzing. As soon as I set them, it's like something inside me seizes up and everything seems to come down to a grinding halt. Then, when I don't meet those said goals, I end up feeling like a total failure. Not fun. That's why I now use the term "intentions" instead.

With intentions, even if I falter, I stay motivated to keep trying. I'm not setting myself up for such a concrete hit or miss. Which is one of the reasons I believe so many people struggle with their own New Year resolutions.

My Year In Review and Looking Forward


2015 was a slow year for haiku, which is not surprising since different types of writing for me have always come in cycles. This past year, I only wrote 11 haiku and had 9 published; however, throughout the year, I shared my haiku on Twitter and I've gained a lot of followers because of it. I've met so many wonderful haiku/poetry writers -- the poetry community over there is absolutely fantastic and I've loved every minute I've spent sharing my poems and reading the work of others.

I'm hoping to be more productive on the haiku writing in 2016. One project I'd like to focus on is to put together a haiku collection for kids.

Novel Writing: 

I am still working on two novel projects, a YA Urban Fantasy, which now stands at almost 62k words ,and a YA Contemporary which is at 41k. I didn't keep track of exactly how many words I put in during the year, but I am a slow writer, so as long as I keep making forward progress, that's all that matters. The YA Urban Fantasy is also the most words I've ever gotten a novel project, so that is also cause for celebration. Yay! ;)

I'm still working with my fabulous writing coach, Lauren Sapala, and continue to gain confidence. It's been a process, and I know it's something I'll probably always have to work on, but that's okay. In 2016 though, I do intend to keep focusing on self-discipline. I know I'll never be the type of writer that can write new words on novel projects every day, but there are other things I can work on, like haiku, nonfiction articles, short stories, or maybe just take a few days and brainstorm new ideas. I'd love to be able to get to a place where I focus on some aspect of writing 5 days a week for at least an hour a day. I think that's doable.

And, since I am so far in on my YA Urban Fantasy, I'm really hoping I'll have a finished manuscript at the end of the year! Fingers crossed! :)

Meditation and Affirmations:

On this front, I have totally fallen off the wagon, but over the last week or so I have started back up on it. And, I kid you not, I always notice a difference in Universal energy when I focus on this. For example, the comments and RTs and Likes on Twitter always peak when I do my meditation and affirmation stuff. I can also FEEL the shift in energy.

So, for 2016, I want to implement a weekly meditation/visualization/affirmation practice (at least 3 days a week, hoping to do 5). I also want to try to get through The Artist's Way again. I started a while back, but didn't keep up with it.

Random Stuff I Also Want to Focus On:
  • exercise at least 3 days a week (walking, elliptical)
  • yoga at least 5 days a week
  • cut back on sugar
  • eat more fruits and vegetables
  • eat out less
  • drink more water (although this I am already doing pretty well)
  • stay away from gossip/keep my words positive
  • read more

And, I think that pretty much sums it up!

Happy New Year everyone, and I wish you all the brightest of blessings for 2016! Sending love and light!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Gems Anthology, Bamboo Hut Press, 2014

Gems Anthology, Bamboo Hut Press, 2014.

If you enjoy my haiku, you can read more on my home page, by checking the haiku label here on my blog, or by visiting my Instagram or Twitter accounts. Thanks for dropping by!