Saturday, June 8, 2013

Carpe Diem Preview #9, Jane Reichhold

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's a while ago that I posted a Carpe Diem Preview so this is a challenge for me. As I have told you already our Specials for July 2013 are all haiku written by Jane Reichhold. Several of you, my dear friends, have asked me to choose Jane Reichhold for the Specials and I am excited to tell you all that Jane has given me permission to use her haiku. And she has written more than 5000 haiku, so I can search in her data-base and read all her wonderful haiku. I have read almost all her haiku which she shares on AHA Poetry, her own website and belief me ... that's a lot of time. (All the Haiku in this Preview are (c) by Jane Reichhold).

without lights
the brightness of a blue sky
full of stars


This for example is in my opinion a masterpiece ... she caught the essence of a night without modern lights, only the stars to brighten her path ... awesome. I love to tell you a little bit more about Jane Reichhold and how I discovered her work.

Credits: Jane Reichhold

Jane was born in 1937 in Lima Ohio (US), studied arts and journalism and has three children. In 1963 she started to write free-lance articles and poetry and published all over the world. In 1979 she starts publishing haiku books (and she wrote a lot of haiku (and tanka) books) and founded AHA Books, Publishing Company in 1987.
In 1995 she brought her AHA Books Publishing Company on the worldwide web.
Jane has written a lot of Haiku (and Tanka) books and is a honored member of several haiku Societies. In 1998 she was honored by the Emperor and Empress of Japan by invitation to attend the Imperial New Year's Poetry Party at the Palace in Tokyo.
How did I discover Jane Reichhold? As I started haiku writing back in the late eighties I became a big fan of the Haiku written by Matsuo Basho and I decided to read all of his haiku. That brought me to Jane Reichhold, she has written a booklet with all the Haiku written by Basho, and Basho wasn't that productive. He wrote about 1250 haiku and there are several known haiku written by Basho for which it isn't sure that they have been written by him.
In the beginning of this century I was preparing a series of lessons for children in writing haiku and again I needed Jane Reichhold. Jane has worked with children and has prepared a series of lessons in which children learn to write haiku.
So I think Jane and I are walking almost together on the path of Haiku. And that's why I am so excited that I (finally) can honor her for all her work for us haiku poets by making her the haiku poetess for the Specials of Carpe Diem in July.

balanced at dawn
a full moon slides into the sea
without ripples

I will share here the little interview with Jane Reichhold which I had in my first e-mail contact with her. I asked her a few questions about haiku and e.g. when she started with writing haiku. (In light blue written my reaction on her answers).

1.) When did you start writing haiku and was there a reason for that you decided to start with composing haiku?

JR: I first discovered haiku in 1967 by reading a Peter Pauper book, Haiku Harvest, translated by Peter Beilenson and Harry Behn in 1962. I was leery about the shortness of the poems, because I had been writing much longer free-verse, but the transfiguring moment came to me when I realized I could experience something like the Old Masters of Japan were describing in their haiku. I was a potter at the time and to try out a newly-made kick wheel I was throwing pots outdoors. Just at the moment when my thumb and fingers began to draw the clay upwards, a mockingbird sang a trill. I felt as if it was the bird’s sound that made the clay rise up into a vessel. I instinctively felt this was the kind of experience should be preserved in a haiku. At that time, following the example in the book, I wrote my haiku using 5, 7, 5 syllables. And I thought I was the only non-Japanese writing in the form. I firmly believed that only the Japanese could write a haiku.I few years later I moved to Germany and I continued to write what I called ‘haiku’ and shared them with my daughter. One day, while at the village dentist, I met Sabine Sommerkamp who was interning as an assistant to earn money to travel to the USA to meet haiku writers. From her I learned that there were several groups in the States as well as such well-known poets as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg who were writing haiku in English. Sabine and I discovered we lived only blocks apart and I began to learn from her while she wrote her doctorate on the subject and she later headed the feature for haiku in the magazine Apropos. Within a year Werner and I had begun living back in the States part-time and it was easier to meet with other haiku writers, to find the books they were reading and writing, and to subscribe to magazines here. (KP. In The Netherlands we have the 'Haiku Kring Nederland' (Tr.: Haiku Circle The Netherlands)

2.) Which classical haiku-master or haiku-poet do you like the most? My role-model is Matsuo Basho.

I would agree with you there. I read and studied every translation of his work I could find. By working with Hatsue Kawamura on our own translations of Japanese tanka, I was finally able to do my own translations of all of Basho’s haikai which was published by Kodansha as Basho The Complete Haiku. Anyone reading the book, and especially the notes, would understand how and why I admire Basho so much. (KP. I have read her essay 'The Old Pond', Matsuo Basho's almost One Thousand Haiku. That was a revelation and my first contact with her work).

3.) I have read wonderful haiku written by you, but do you have a particular haiku written by you, which is your special favorite?
JR: That is like asking a mother who is her favorite child. (KP. Yes, I agree. I however have some favorite haiku written by myself e.g. (my first English haiku) [...] lonely flower my companion for one night [...] )

4.) A last question: I write in Kanshicho-style. Are you familiar with that style which was used several years by Basho? Do you like that style?

 JR: I never heard of Basho’s Kanshicho-style unless this name has been given to the poems he wrote in the Chinese style. Can you point me to some works mentioning this. A Google search only brings up your name. (KP. Henri Kerlen, a Dutch researcher, has written a anthology of haiku by Basho (in Dutch: Geluid van Water; Tr.: Sound of Water) and in his preface to that anthology he mentioned the Kanshicho-style. He described it as 'In the Way of Chinese Poetry', so I think Jane is right. I love that nice name Kanshicho ... so I prefer to call the haiku 'In the Way of Chinese Poetry', Kanshicho)

Blessings on all your endeavors!

\o/ Jane

Well ... friends that was my little interview with Jane Reichhold I have already send her my thanks for the permission to use her haiku for our next month Specials and I hope she will visit our weblog and maybe leaves a haiku ... (keep on dreaming Kris). For closure I love to share another few haiku by Jane Reichhold.

raising his foot
a crane scatters stars
sunk in the pond

mountain stream
sparkling waterfalls
washed by snow

dusk lake
sinking into darkness
fishermen's voices

watercolor class
the painted blue sky
becomes a kite

All wonderful examples of Jane Reichholds more then 5000 haiku. All are little gems, little crystals and little diamonds. It's like I have found my Pirate Treasure ... the haiku by Jane.
I am looking forward to July in which I will share more nice haiku written by Jane Reichhold in our Specials of that month and I hope you all, my dear Haijin, visitors and travelers, will enjoy it with me.

A last word: Dear Jane Reichhold, thank you for all those wonderful haiku you have written. And thank you that I may use them for my weblog's month July Specials.



  1. How utterly delightful. Thank you to you Kristjaan and, of course, Jane.

  2. Wonderful! Thank you and I look forward to seeing more. This is also a happy coincidence. My library just happened to have a book she wrote about haiku out on the table a few weeks ago and I borrowed it and just finished reading it--although not yet finished studying it. I just realized now that she was our haiku poet this month. I loved the book and think it has great info--it's called "Writing and Enjoying Haiku: A Hands-on Guide."

    1. Hi Cathy, this month the Specials are of Kikashu-Ni, but in our next month, July, Jane Reichhold will be our haiku poet for the Specials. By the way I know her "hands-on quide", it's a nice way to learn more about the ART of COMPOSING HAIKU.
      Because she (Jane) is a well known haiku poetess all around the globe I will prepare a few more Previews about her. She's a very creative Spirit.

  3. Thank-you for sharing her wonderful haiku. How beautifully she paints with words!

  4. aloha Kris - thank you. this is a treat. I too appreciate Jane's work—both her haiku and writing on haiku (and other poetry forms).

    thank you Jane for your generosity—and the words you leave on paper and the web.

    aloha Rick.

  5. your every post takes me further.....

  6. This is wonderful! I'm looking forward to July!

  7. Her haiku flows so rough edges or stops in thoughts. But what you have shared so far, leaves me in awe. I've been reading Issa and also what you have shared on Carpe Diem by the masters. I actually like her style best. Thank you for sharing her with us!

  8. I am so happy to read this interview... thank you so much. By the way, tomorrow is my first haiku recital. Yaayy

    1. Awesome that you have your first haiku recital ... enjoy it ... cool ....

  9. JUST WONDERFUL KRISTJAAN! July is going to be great!Here's a post I did about Jane Reichhold earlier -