Saturday, August 6, 2016

Carpe Diem Extra August 6th 2016 first tribute Theme Week Jane Reichhold,

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I am still in shock ... the haiku world has lost its Queen. Jane Reichhold passed away on July 28th 2016. She will be missed dearly.

I love to create a tribute to her. This week I will create an extra Theme Week to honor her, but that's not all I want to do. Jane was part of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai and was enthusiastic about our website. She was not only a dear friend, but also one of our co-hosts, especially through our special feature "Ask Jane". She was always so kind to answer all your and my questions about haiku, tanka, haibun and renga.

Jane will be forever in my heart and I just have to tribute her.

This week I will create several pots about her and her work as a haiku poetess whom was renown and loved all over the globe.

My thoughts and prayers are with Werner, her husband, and her family and all those who have warm memories of her (including myself).

Dear Jane ... Rest In Peace ... this Carpe Diem Haiku Kai Theme Week is for you.


without lights
the brightness of a blue sky
full of stars

© Jane Reichhold

My first contact with Jane was back in 2013. I created a month of CDHK in which she was the featured haiku poetess in our CD Specials and before that I had a small interview with her. I love to reproduce that interview here again:
[ JR means Jane Reichhold; KP means me, your host ]

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.

JR: 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


© photo Chèvrefeuille
As I wrote in one of my earlier posts about Jane I am grateful that I had the honor that she was my friend and mentor. It feels like I have lost a part of myself.

For this first episode of this special Theme Week I love to ask you to share your thoughts and favorite haiku by Jane Reichhold with us all. This Theme Week is the first part of CDHK's tribute. Next month, September, I will create a full month with prompts based on Jane's "A Dictionary Of Haiku".

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until August 11th at noon (CET).


  1. .
    above the river

    just one of my favorite haiku by Jane