Haiku and Human Flourishing

By Scott Mason

Well, then … since we all of us desire to live well, how can we do so?


Haiku is the final flower of all Eastern culture; it is also a way of living.

R. H. Blyth2

Although haiku poetry was known to and even tried by a number of individuals outside its native Japan in the half century prior to World War 2, it only gained any real traction in the West during the years just afterward — in large part because of the landmark volumes on haiku written by the British scholar R. H. Blyth.3 In the seven decades since, English-language haiku has become, arguably, “the primary ‘people’s poetry’ worldwide” (Lyles 10). The purpose of this article is to examine the practice, and to understand the global appeal, of English-language haiku in light of the relatively new field of Positive Psychology. It also seeks to supplement that understanding with insights gleaned from the even more recent field of the Positive Humanities.

Although this article examines the practice of haiku from the standpoint of its contributions to “positive” states (well-being, overall human flourishing), it should also be noted that the practice of haiku has often served a therapeutic role in helping individuals to reflect on, share, and come to terms with a range of “negative” life events (e.g., loss of a loved one, wartime experiences) and circumstances (e.g., chronic disease, incarceration).

Positive Psychology

When he became president of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1998, Dr Martin Seligman, a clinical practitioner and chairman of the psychology department at the University of Pennsylvania, proposed in his presidential address a new field of “Positive Psychology”. While acknowledging the accomplishments of traditional psychology in understanding and treating a range of mental disorders, he argued that attention to optimal human functioning — what makes individuals flourish and communities thrive — might not only increase well-being but also decrease pathology, with both outcomes serving the greater interest of improving people’s lives. This challenge called for separate study and practice; as Seligman noted elsewhere, “[t]he goal of understanding well-being and building the enabling conditions of life is by no means identical with the goal of understanding misery and undoing the disabling conditions of life” (Seligman 2). 

Others had already been exploring related questions, and in 2000 Seligman was joined by Dr Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi of the University of Chicago in co-editing a special edition of APA’s journal American Psychologist on the subject of Positive Psychology. In his 2011 book Flourish (Ibid 13-26), Seligman crystallised key learnings from the new field of Positive Psychology into a unified theory of well-being which identified five principal elements contributing to that state. Using the mnemonic PERMA, those elements comprise:

  • Positive emotion. Happiness and life satisfaction, as subjectively perceived and reported.
  • Engagement. Involvement with an important activity at the level of total absorption in which one loses the sense of time and even self, as (in retrospect) subjectively perceived and reported. This element is grounded in Csikszentmihalyi’s pioneering research into what he labeled a state of “flow”.
  • Positive Relationships. Connections with others that foster well-being.
  • Meaning. The sense of belonging to and serving something believed to be bigger than one’s self.
  • Accomplishment. Success, winning, achievement and/or mastery.

One might envision these elements as situated along a continuum between what Aristotle, in his Nicomachean Ethics, called the hedonic, related to basic pleasures (most closely reflected here in Positive emotion), and the eudaimonic, related to higher-order types of fulfillment (most especially Meaning in this construct).

Although usually experienced in some combination, these elements can each be pursued for their own sake. Seligman emphasises that no single element defines well-being; for instance, well-being consists of more than positive emotions alone. He does assert, however, that “[t]he way we choose our course in life is to maximise all five of these elements” (Seligman 25).

The Positive Humanities

In the early 2000s Dr Seligman established the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania where he and his colleagues developed the first Masters degree programme in Positive Psychology. Heading that programme was (and is) Dr James O. Pawelski, who also envisioned a multi-disciplinary field of study and practice, the Positive Humanities, to explore and promote the particular ways in which the arts and humanities support well-being — very much in keeping with their original purpose (McMahon 45-50). In 2014 Pawelski founded the Humanities and Human Flourishing Project4 to advance that work, inviting dozens of scholars, arts and humanities practitioners, and assorted other thought leaders to act as advisors and participants. He also enlisted Dr. Louis Tay of Purdue University to serve as the project’s director of research. In 2021, Tay and Pawelski co-edited The Oxford Handbook of the Positive Humanities (Tay i-547), a 547-page volume featuring 38 scholarly essay-chapters documenting the current state of research and learning in the field. That work informs much of what appears here.

In 2018, Tay, Pawelski and a third colleague proposed a conceptual model (Tay 6-9) comprised of five psychological mechanisms by which the arts and humanities facilitate flourishing outcomes. This model uses the acronym RAISE, representing the psychological mechanisms of Reflection, Acquisition, Immersion, Socialization and Expression. PERMA maps onto RAISE, although imperfectly. The best match is observed with Meaning / Reflection and with Engagement / Immersion; there’s a moderate connection with Positive Relationships / Socialisation; and the least (but some) similarity is seen with Accomplishment / Acquisition and with Positive Emotion / Expression.

Haiku possesses qualities of both a practice or “way” (think yoga or meditation) and an art form (think narrative fiction), with the perceived balance between the two differing from individual to individual. Accordingly, our examination will proceed here using the PERMA construct from Positive Psychology instead of the RAISE model, with its more focused orientation to the arts and humanities, from the Positive Humanities; however, a RAISE-informed assessment of haiku in its purely literary aspects might be worthy of future consideration.

Haiku and Positive Emotion

Haiku in the West is the province of amateurs.

The statement above stands as fact. Virtually no one outside of Japan writes, reads or otherwise deals with haiku for either financial gain or career advancement. Those who do would most likely not fill a small conference room.

But the statement above is no put-down — perhaps just the opposite. Taking the etymology of amateur as our guide, those who routinely write, read or otherwise concern themselves with haiku do so out of love for the exercise, or at least for some personal enjoyment. Haiku poets tend to write about whatever they please and what pleases them. Haiku readers — mostly the same people — read haiku because they find the practice pleasurable, even (dare one say it) fun.

Pleasurable experiences engender positive emotions.

To be sure, “mainstream” (i.e., non-haiku) poetry is likewise anything but commercially lucrative for its practitioners — or at least for all but a handful of notable exceptions like a Billy Collins or the late Mary Oliver. But career advancement is another matter altogether.

Much of the poetry published in the United States and elsewhere is the production of MFA candidates and academics affiliated with creative writing programmes or sister disciplines in institutions of higher learning. While it would go too far to suggest that none of this work is produced for the writer’s and reader’s pleasure (unquestionably much of it is), additional or alternative objectives certainly apply. To earn acceptances from the editors of prestigious journals and the favorable regard of fellow academics, these poets may incline, for instance, towards particular modes of writing (e.g., challenging rather than “accessible”) or subjects (e.g., topical concerns or causes like social justice, rather than “traditional” sources of poetic inspiration like the natural world) in which the writer’s and reader’s pleasure or edification is secondary if not entirely beside the point.

The aforementioned Mary Oliver enjoyed both popular acclaim and critical recognition (Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, coveted fellowships) for her poetry. Yet “the scholarly world never fully embraced these inspiring works that transformed the everyday world into the sacred” (Wilkinson 110). This reception accords with the general skepticism and “hermeneutics of suspicion” (Pawelski 24) that have characterised American and perhaps other Western institutions of higher learning for the last half century or more — institutions that have produced a range of “critical” theories which entail, for instance, “reading texts against the grain to discover hidden meanings, latent psychopathologies, and corrosive ideologies” (Pawelski 24). Simple pleasures fare poorly in such a climate.

So, with certain exceptions, haiku and non-haiku poetry tend to march to the beats of very different drummers.

The study of haiku might be characterised as the return to a “hermeneutics of affirmation” (Pawelski 24). The haiku editor and poet Martin Lucas had this to say: “A good haiku does not draw attention to its own processes, it directs attention at things, in a way which is outward-looking and, in a sense, celebratory” (Lucas 8). But those ‘things’ also return the favour; here’s Blyth: “Haiku are an expression of the joy of our reunion with things from which we have been parted by self-consciousness” (Blyth 232). The aforementioned Billy Collins — a mainstream poet who happens to be well-informed about haiku — declares: “Almost every haiku says the same thing: It’s amazing to be alive here” (Plimpton).

Such declarations would be all but unthinkable for much of the non-haiku poetry published in this century, or the last, where some of the most prominent titles — The Waste Land, The Age of Anxiety, Howl — speak volumes.

The pleasures of haiku are many. What follows here are just a handful of contributing factors:

  • Haiku is a poetry of the senses. It engages, affirms and rewards our most basic modes of connection with the world and each other.
  • Haiku is a poetry of discovery, and the sharing of those discoveries — including (and most especially) the small everyday wonders which so often go unnoticed and unsung.
  • Haiku is a poetry of the seasons and the natural world. Research has shown that “[s]imply the viewing of natural settings or images can have a positive impact on individuals’ psychological well-being” (Darewych 118). Perhaps a related benefit attends repeated exposure to haiku.
  • Haiku is a poetry of (usually pleasant) surprise. This is the “aha” effect that comes with an unexpected yet somehow satisfying second element following the “cut” in many fine haiku.
  • Haiku is a poetry of gratitude and praise — per all the above.

As a practical matter, our current assessment of haiku must consider each of the five PERMA elements on an individual basis (and in one instance non-sequentially, as will be seen). But worth acknowledging is the fact that those elements can and often do interact. So before proceeding to Engagement, let us note that the pleasurable aspects of haiku as just described, and the Positive emotion which results, can produce a type of Meaning as well: “When a poem brings us joy, that poem is conferring a sense that life matters, has purpose, and makes sense. It is a life worth living” (Wilkinson 103).

Haiku and Engagement

A uniquely reciprocal brand of engagement is “baked into” the haiku form and, hence, its practice.

The very brevity of haiku means that a great deal must be left to implication on the poet’s part and to inference on the reader’s. Such suggestiveness can take many forms in haiku. One of the principal ones occurs within the “cut” or gap — what the Japanese call ma — separating the two parts that comprise almost every haiku. The poet will try to suggest a particular relationship between those two parts, if only through their very juxtaposition; and the reader, for his or her part, must attempt to intuit one.

While all forms of art and literature place demands on both the “producer” (artist, composer, writer) and the “consumer” (viewer, listener, reader), the balance is seldom even; in nearly all cases the “consumer” can safely assume the more passive role. For all its “accessibility” (clear images, simple diction), haiku requires the reader’s active participation in, among other tasks, reconciling each poem’s two parts. For just this reason it has become a commonplace in haiku circles for the reader to be referred to as a “co-creator”. As Cor van den Heuvel puts it in The Haiku Anthology, “[t]o see what is suggested by a haiku, the reader must share in the creative process, being willing to associate and pick up on the echoes implicit in the words” (van den Heuvel xv-xvi).5 He even exhorts that reader to take on the role of “an equal partner” (van den Heuvel lxiv). Described similarly by Blyth, “haiku demand the free poetic life of the reader in parallel with that of the poet” (Blyth 11)6.

In the PERMA construct, Engagement is built upon the research of Dr Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi into the “optimal experience” of the “flow” state. “Flow experiences are often described by qualities such as a feeling of oneness with the activity, becoming unaware of one’s surroundings, losing track of time, and feeling that the activity is worth doing for its own sake” (Vrooman 211). The pleasurable experience of flow relies in large part upon both a level of challenge in performing the activity in question and a commensurate level of skill on the performer’s part. In the arts and humanities, “the challenge-skill balance seems to have especially important implications for well-being outcomes” (Vrooman 211-212).

In writing haiku, the main challenge and principal pleasure comes from trying to convey faithfully the experience of a vivid sensation and/or a deeply-felt moment in just a few words. To meet that challenge and reap the consequent pleasure, a haiku poet does well to first get out of his or her own way. “A poet sees things as they are in proportion as he is selfless.” (Blyth 245)7

In reading haiku, the main challenge and principal pleasure comes from the attempt to discern and partake in a personally meaningful simulacrum of the poet’s original experience. This might be akin to — but a highly concentrated form of — the “narrative transportation” (Fitzgerald 223) undertaken by readers who lose themselves, and thereby experience a pleasurable state of “flow”, in the imaginary worlds of longer fictional works.

As short as a human breath, haiku can still be as absorbing as those longer works, both in the process of their creation by the poet and that of their co-creation by the reader. Any haiku aficionado can vouch for that.

Haiku and Meaning

Many if not most of those aficionados perceive and experience haiku as a meaningful practice or “way” (one of keen attentiveness and deep appreciation)8 as much as a captivating art form. Of all the PERMA elements, Meaning is the one most central to haiku, hence its discussion here.

The corpus of English-language haiku commentary — including the second epigraph to this article — is replete with direct and indirect references to the significance (Blyth 110), ontological immediacy (van den Heuvel lxiii) and other life-affirming qualities in haiku. Commentators aside, some of the greatest practitioners of English-language haiku have spoken thoughtfully and sometimes movingly on the subject as well; a small sampling:

In essence I regard haiku as fundamentally existential and experiential, rather than literary.

James Hackett10

Haiku can be accessible and deep, immediate and enduring. They are about life, and my life is richer
because of them.

Peggy Lyles10

[I write haiku] to get in touch with the real.

Nick Virgilio11

How can such diminutive poems take on such momentous significance and profound meaning? Consider just two contributing factors:

  • Haiku trades in everyday things and experiences, often recognising and celebrating the extraordinary in the ordinary. Two preliminary conclusions from current scholarly research in the Positive Humanities suggest the meaning-making importance of just this orientation: “Some art makes the familiar unfamiliar, and the unfamiliar familiar; such shifts in perspective may be key to enriching our daily experiences” (Westgate 88). “Given its commonplace nature, it makes sense that meaning in life is linked to common experiences — experiences that are widely available to us as human beings. Indeed, research has revealed that meaning may spring from unexpectedly mundane places” (Wilkinson 101).
  • Haiku is likewise grounded in the sharing of one’s own personal everyday experiences (by the haiku poet) or the sharing in those of others (by the haiku reader). From the poets’ perspective, “[w]hen people perceive that their existence matters to others, they feel their lives are meaningful” (Wilkinson 107).12 Further, “[o]ne aspect of existential mattering is the sense that one has made a mark on others enough to be remembered” (Wilkinson 107). From the reader’s standpoint, “[w]hen a person finds their experience reflected in art and literature, the person may feel powerfully attached to culture that will outlive the self” (Wilkinson 107).

Connection may be at the very core of meaning in haiku. It certainly operates within most haiku, where “juxtaposed images suggest internal comparisons and allow for layers of meaning” (Lyles 10). In their more general operation, haiku enable writers and readers alike to connect with the world around them and to feel as though they belong — that is to say, as a part of that world rather than apart from it. And of course haiku allow people to connect with one another, not just on the page as discussed above but also in the more interactive “real” and virtual worlds discussed next.

Haiku and Positive Relationships

Social interaction and exchange is built into the genetic code of haiku which evolved, after all, from a party game.

In the centuries before the time of Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694) and for some period afterwards, members of the Japanese court or the samurai and merchant classes would gather at their leisure to produce renga, linked-verse poems whose constituent verses were supplied by different participants in a pre-determined sequence. One of the principal challenges and pleasures of renga derived from its “link and shift” imperative: each verse would have to relate (or “link”) to the immediately preceding verse in some fashion; but it would also need to completely dissociate (or “shift” away) from the content or sense of any other prior verse. As a result, each renga would take its participants on an ever-surprising and wonder-filled romp across the seasons, varied settings, and myriad aspects of the human condition.

The first verse of the renga was called the hokku, antecedent to the standalone haiku. Composed by the attending renga master — an expert poet as well as the judge/editor of others’ verses — the hokku would be the sole renga verse to feature two internal parts, just like the later haiku. It also served two social functions, at least by the time of Bashō, a recognised renga master: To subtly praise the host of the party and to mark the season in which that party was taking place.

While continuing to practice renga, Bashō initiated the development, appreciation and evolution of an independent hokku — a movement which two centuries later culminated in its designation, by Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), as “haiku”.

Most of today’s haiku, like other standalone poems, are composed by individuals in the tranquility of their private moments. Yet a palpable sense of community persists for this humble descendant of renga. Peggy Lyles observed, “[f]or years, I have thought of English-language haiku as literature poets are creating together” (Lyles 10). Esteemed haiku practitioner Chuck Brickley characterises that worldwide assemblage of poets as “a fellowship of kindred spirits” (Brickley). From what does this sense of collegiality and collective purpose arise?

The most likely answer has already surfaced. Haiku in the West is the province of amateurs.

Haiku writers and readers partake in the practice of their own volition and for the pure delights it brings them. As mentioned, the pleasures of haiku include those of discovery and the sharing of those discoveries — a desire not always sated on the page. So haiku practitioners freely and frequently put in the effort to revel in their passion collectively and in person. The world of English-language haiku abounds with local group meetings and ginko (haiku-generating outdoor ambles); regional get-togethers such as the annual Haiku Circle day event in New England or the Seabeck Haiku Getaway in the Northwest; and more formal national or international gatherings staged by organisations like the Haiku Society of America or Haiku North America. In the virtual realm, the website of The Haiku Foundation serves, in part, as a “watering hole” (or water cooler) where English-language haiku poets the world over informally meet and commune.

The relational aspect of haiku is perhaps best illustrated by one of the leading English-language haiku poets in the Author’s Introduction to his recently-published volume of selected work:

Once involved with haiku . . . I discovered that the social component – the haiku community – was the key. During thirty-five years of writing and sometimes publishing other poetry, I made perhaps a dozen friends. In a little more than half that time I’ve made hundreds of friends through haiku and most of my closest friendships, to this day, have come through either theatre or haiku poetry. What I like about haiku (and to some degree, theatre) is that everybody is good, at least some of the time.

John Stevenson13

Amateurs of the world (love to) unite!

Haiku and Accomplishment

While most non-Japanese haiku poets would not abide the absolute authority routinely exercised by Japanese haiku masters — group leaders who will not hesitate to rewrite their members’ poems — the aspiration for personal mastery and recognition can be seen wherever haiku is practiced.

Accomplishment in English-language haiku is recognised in many of the same ways that apply in the non-haiku poetry realm, most notably through publication in respected journals and awards in various contests. (In the latter category, quite a number of English-language haiku competitions attract hundreds or thousands — and occasionally even tens of thousands — of entries.) In both realms, journal editors and contest judges will generally come from the upper ranks of practicing poets.

But haiku affords an additional kind of recognition: The opportunity for affirmation from a poet’s peers instead of just the “experts”. While workshops with peers are common in both the haiku and non-haiku realms, only the haiku world provides regular, systematic and quantitative forums where a poet can give and receive peer feedback and potential recognition. One such forum is the kukai, a friendly in-person or online gathering of poets, each of whose haiku are submitted in advance to a co-ordinator or host who in turn recirculates the submitted poems in anonymous form to all the participants for voting. Participating poets vote for their favorite poems submitted by others (they cannot vote for their own work) — poems they find most emotionally resonant or they simply consider the “best”. In smaller, more interactive kukai sessions, participants will often explain why they voted for a particular poem, before its author is revealed. In the process, most attendees will receive affirmation, elucidation, or both. The Haiku Foundation conducts an online kukai with a specific subject prompt every month. Open to all, it regularly attracts scores of participants from dozens of countries on five or six continents.

Many haiku journals feature “best of issue” selections by their respective editors, but a number of them also invite readers to weigh in with their own preferences, through some formal, quantitative process. Perhaps the best known and most prestigious of these are the annual Readers’ Choices Awards conducted by the online journal The Heron’s Nest. Towards the end of each year, readers are invited to submit their 10 favorite haiku (rank-ordered) from the approximately 500 poems published in the journal’s four previous quarterly issues. The votes are then tallied to determine a grand prize Poem of the Year (along with other high vote-getters) as well as a Poet of the Year (also with other high finishers).

To some in the non-haiku poetry world, the idea of granting amateurs, including newcomers, an official platform to recognise and celebrate their “favourite” poems might seem quaint or naïve if not hopelessly wrongheaded. Where are the standard bearers?! But haiku poets want the experiences that touched them to touch others — not only editors and judges but also their fellow enthusiasts. For most, haiku is not just a poem and practice — it’s also a community.


If one were to design the perfect practice for human flourishing based on the principles of Positive Psychology, the result just might be haiku.

Haiku poetry offers a universally accessible way to cultivate and spread positive emotion; to experience deep engagement; to find real meaning in one’s everyday life; to commune with kindred spirits; and to develop some level of mastery. Little wonder its practice has burgeoned in the West — fuelled almost entirely by individual passion rather than institutional support. Haiku thrives outside the walls of the academy and beyond the currents of mainstream poetry.

Perhaps none of this should surprise. As Blyth notes at the beginning, haiku is the product — the “final flower” — of Eastern culture, a product which includes as a prime influence one of the important wisdom traditions of that culture: Buddhism, especially Zen Buddhism.14 Key elements of Buddhist practice share the well-being focus of Positive Psychology15 — arguably more so than do those of most wisdom traditions in the West.

In an interview (Cheever) just before the pandemic, this writer likened each individual haiku to a “gratitude capsule”. In the following year, a Gratitude in the Time of COVID-19 anthology initiative (Mason) received the enthusiastic support and active participation of haiku poets around the globe. As it happens, gratitude is the basis of one of the most powerful and effective well-being exercises16 so far identified in the practice of Positive Psychology.

The foregoing all suggests that English-language haiku could serve as a worthy subject and capacious resource for new research in the understanding and realisation of human flourishing. For those so interested, the haiku community stands ready to help — and to share the joy.


1. Plato (Euthydemus, 278 E, 279 A) quoting Socrates, see McMahon 47.

2. see Blyth 5.

3. Especially the four-volume Haiku from The Hokuseido Press, first published from 1949 to 1952.

4. https://www.humanitiesandhumanflourishing.org/

5. Likewise, Henderson staunchly advocated that “haiku reading is in itself an art” – see Henderson 4.

6. The word “free” is italicized in the original text.

7. This accords with Bashō’s famous dictum: “To learn about pinetrees, go to the pine tree; to learn of the bamboo, study bamboo.”

8. “Once on a hospital form, under the category of religious affiliation, I ticked ‘other’ and wrote “haiku’. Haiku to me is a way of life, a choice of focus and a form of spiritual appreciation requiring us – reminding us – to see beyond self, or as Bashō said, ‘Haiku is simply what is happening in this place at this moment.’” – Clausen, Tom, “A Haiku Way of Life,” The Haiku Foundation Digital Library. https://thehaikufoundation.org/omeka/items/show/742  Accessed September 2022.

9. see van den Heuvel lxv.

10. see Lyles 10.

11. see van den Heuvel xi.

12. Compare this with the following from The Haiku Handbook: “Sharing is one of the things we want most in life, to give something of ourselves to others, so that they might accept us and our experiences and perceptions as important.” – see Higginson 47.

13. see Stevenson 9.

14. All but equating the two, Blyth asserted: “Haiku are to be understood from the Zen point of view.” – see Blyth 5. While few other scholars might go quite that far, most would not deny the imprint of Buddhism on haiku.

15. “Positive psychology, which focuses on human flourishing rather than mental illness, is also learning a lot from Buddhism, particularly how mindfulness and compassion can enhance wellbeing. This has been the domain of Buddhism for the past two millennia and we’re just adding a scientific perspective.” [underscoring added] – Germer, Christopher K. “Mindfulness in Buddhism & Psychology,” Insight Journal, Barre Center for Buddhist Studies,2012.  https://www.buddhistinquiry.org/article/mindfulness-in-buddhism-psychology/  Accessed September 2022.

16. This is “The Gratitude Visit” – see Seligman 30-31. Another is the “What-Went-Well Exercise (Also Called ‘Three Blessings’)” – see Seligman 33-35.

Works Cited

Blyth, R. H. Haiku, Volume One: Eastern Culture, The Hokuseido Press, 1981.

Brickley, Chuck. “Haiku Fellowship (Or How I Found What I Didn’t Know I Was Looking For)” [Zoom presentation], Haiku Poets of Northern California, March 20, 2022.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HC6RqfgLwhI   Accessed September 2022.

Cheever, Ben, host. “The Wonder Code,” About Writing , Pleasantville Community Television, July 29, 2019. https://www.pctv76.org/video/2504/ Accessed September 2022.

Darewych, Olena Helen. “Cultivating Psychological Well-Being through Arts-Based Interventions,” The Oxford Handbook of the Positive Humanities, Oxford University Press, 2021.

Fitzgerald, Kaitlin and Melanie C. Green. “Stories for Good: Transportation into Narrative Worlds,” Oxford Handbook of the Positive Humanities, Oxford University Press, 2021.

Henderson, Harold G. An Introduction to Haiku: An Anthology of Poems and Poets from Bashō to Shiki, Doubleday & Company, 1958, 1-14.

Higginson, William J. with Penny Harter. The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku, Kodansha International, 1985, 3-47.

Lucas, Martin. Stepping Stones: A Way into Haiku, British Haiku Society, 2007, 5-10.

Lyles, Peggy. To Hear the Rain, Brooks Books, 2002, 9-11.

Mason, Scott, editor. Gratitude in the Time of COVID-19: The Haiku Hecameron, Girasole Press, 2020.

McMahon, Darrin M. “The History of the Humanities and Human Flourishing,” The Oxford Handbook of the Positive Humanities, Oxford University Press, 2021.

Pawelski, James O. “The Positive Humanities: Culture and Human Flourishing,” The Oxford Handbook of the Positive Humanities, Oxford University Press, 2021.

Plimpton, George, interviewer. “Billy Collins, The Art of Poetry No. 83,” The Paris Review, Issue 159, Fall 2001. https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/482/the-art-of-poetry-no-83-billy-collins  Accessed September 2022.

Seligman, Martin E. P. Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, Astra Paperback, 2011.

Stevenson, John. My Red: The Selected Haiku of John Stevenson, Brooks Books, 2021, 8-9.

Tay, Louis, and James O. Pawelski, editors. The Oxford Handbook of the Positive Humanities, Oxford University Press, 2021.

Tay, Louis, and James O. Pawelski. “Introduction: The Role of the Arts and Humanities in Human Flourishing,” The Oxford Handbook of the Positive Humanities, Oxford University Press, 2021.

van den Heuvel, Cor, editor. The Haiku Anthology, W. W. Norton & Company, 1999, xi-lxviii.

Vrooman, Katherine, Kelsey Procter Finley, Jeanne Nakamura, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. “Flow in the Arts and Humanities: On Cultivating Human Complexity,” The Oxford Handbook of the Positive Humanities, Oxford University Press, 2021.

Westgate, Erin C. and Shigehiro Oishi. “Art, Music, and Literature: Do the Humanities Make Our Lives Richer, Happier, and More Meaningful?”, Oxford Handbook of the Positive Humanities, Oxford University Press, 2021.

Wilkinson, Alexis N. and Laura A. King. “Lessons for Positive Arts and Humanities from the Science of Meaning in Life,” The Oxford Handbook of the Positive Humanities, Oxford University Press, 2021.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Juxtapositions 8 (The Haiku Foundation, 2022) and appears here with the author’s permission.

Scott Mason is the author of The Wonder Code: Discover the Way of Haiku and See the World with New Eyes (thewondercode.com). A former editor with The Heron’s Nest (2011-2021), he is a current member of the board of The Haiku Foundation. Scott’s haiku have finished first in more than two dozen competitions. He lives in New York state.