I’m popping in today to share some fabulous news. This anthology! By the Portland Haiku Group which I’m a member. It’s available on Amazon.
I asked Jacob Salzer, our wonderful editor if I could interview him and agreed.
- What was the process of editing like? What surprised you? What would you do differently?
The process was somewhat challenging in that New Bridges took many changes and turns along the way. Group email communication was especially helpful, as I shared several drafts with all the contributors, and ideas/suggestions/feedback could be shared quickly and easily. I am also indebted to Margaret Chula and Michael Dylan Welch for providing expert guidance on editing the anthology. Michael also led me to use: The Chicago Manual of Style. The main thing that really helped was a collaborative approach. I am also indebted to Clayton Beach for designing the cover of the anthology and to Shelley Baker-Gard for organizing the index. Additionally, I’m grateful for the artists and photographers for adding another important dimension.
I’m surprised that the cover design is very particular on CreateSpace. For our first cover submission, the text was too close to the borders in certain areas and CreateSpace actually denied it. But, Clayton revised this for us and the cover was accepted without any problems.
I don’t think I would do anything differently.
- I arrived late to the party and submitted at the very end. Where did the seeds of the book begin?
I suggested creating a group anthology after attending several meetings. I was impressed by the quality of our work. With my past experience editing an international anthology: Yanty’s Butterfly (2016), I volunteered to serve as the managing editor.
- Could you tell the readers a bit about Johnny and Lorraine whom the anthology is dedicated?
Johnny Baranski (1948–2018) was an excellent haiku poet and mentor. He wrote haiku and its related forms for over 40 years and is published widely. While I didn’t know Johnny well personally, he was very sharp, and I enjoyed his sense of humor. He was the kind of guy who would always keep you on your toes. We will always remember his kindness, his deep Catholic faith, and his non-violent protests against the Vietnam War, and nuclear proliferation that led him to imprisonment.
To read some of Johnny’s haiku, please visit:
Lorraine Ellis Harr (Tombo) was a mentor to Johnny and to several haiku poets. She is an important figure in the history of haiku in America. In 1972, she founded the Western World Haiku Society. She is also the author of several haiku books and articles. She lived in Portland, Oregon for over 4 decades. She was the editor of the haiku journal: Dragonfly, and this is why some Japanese poets called her Tombo, which translates to dragonfly in Japanese.
For more information on Lorraine Ellis Harr, including a sample of her haiku, please visit:
- What’s next for the Portland Haiku Group?
We are going to do some live-readings of New Bridges in Portland, and spread the word. I think our anthology has a particularly strong message.
- How did you get started writing haiku
I was originally introduced to haiku in college. I took a haiku course: The Way of Haiku and Haibun taught by Kate Crow at The Evergreen State College. I was drawn towards zen and had a daily meditation practice. I was drawn towards its seeming simplicity, and the beauty of capturing moments using very few words. I think one of the best things about haiku is its ability to connect people. I also value haiku for its ability to see the beauty of ordinary things that are far too often unnoticed. Years later, a good friend of mine Nicholas Klacsanzky invited me to join an private online Google+ group: Haiku Nook, and this provided lots of additional resources, examples, and conversations about haiku, including expert guidance from Alan Summers, and Brendon Kent, among many others. Thanks to Haiku Nook, I started writing 2-line haiku, 1-line haiku, and tanka.
Here’s an essay by Jacob about the anthology.
By Jacob Salzer
July 16, 2018
Corrupt egos appear to be prisoners of their own minds. They seem to be trapped within narrow, limited viewpoints, unwilling to embrace the unknown. They seem to be unable to truly listen and seem to believe they have all the answers. This “my way or the highway” mentality seems to do nothing but strengthen the sense of ego and results in the loss of any real sense of community.
In my view, true communities work to alleviate problems and challenges. They do not ignore, repress, or shy away from problems or challenges, but rather faces them with courage and compassion. The principles of courage and compassion are available for all us, and are more powerful than any mental concepts.
It seems corrupt egos do not know how to build true bridges. Even the connections they do have appear to be hollow and empty, devoid of any true values; they are like ghosts or layers of fog temporarily covering bridges, obscuring the view. Even as a group, it seems they do not truly know each other. They appear to only know their common corruption.
While some walls are necessary to protect us from danger, just as firewall and security programs help protect our computers, or just as our roofs protect us from the snow and the rain, this does not replace the necessity for new bridges to be created.
As we navigate, I encourage us to use our intuition as a guide day by day, to connect with people who have open hearts and open minds. These are the people who can truly build new bridges. This is where a real sense of community takes precedence and automatically alleviates feelings of isolation and fragmentation.
This is especially important for those struggling with a myriad of mental diagnoses such as schizophrenia, bipolar, and depression, and for those struggling with past trauma, including PTSD. Traumatic events and mental conditions can take precedence within certain individuals and significantly impacts their lives. But, when we build new bridges, we can help alleviate their struggles, and discover a real sense of community, founded on the values of respect, understanding, and compassion. All it takes is one caring individual. No matter what hardships you face, they remind you that you are not alone.
As creators of our anthology, I think we have both an opportunity and the responsibility to keep building new bridges for now and our future generations. Building relationships seems to be a foundation of the global haiku community at large, and this collaborative spirit is evident in the linked-verse forms of renga, rengay, tan renga, and renku. Our Portland Haiku Group was founded on the basic principle of respect. Each bridge between us is unique from person to person, though every bridge appears to arise from the same principles. While some bridges are firmly established, other bridges are still in construction, and may extend to unseen horizons. In a world that far too often appears violent and fragmented, our anthology has a strong message to connect people and build new friendships.
All this being said, I would like to thank all the contributors for participating in the creation of this important anthology.
I’m pretty excited to not only have haiku included but a bridge photo. Not just any bridge photo but the one I took at the Women’s March in January 2017.
I have one copy of NEW BRIDGES, a haiku anthology to send off to some lucky person. Just comment below. Spread the word. In our current world, we need more bridges and this books provides that.