Magic–Mystery–Music: The Persistence of 5–7–5 in Haiku

By Charles Trumbull

As I was working on this essay I had National Public Radio on in the background. They ran a feature about someone gathering haiku to send to Mars. “Just as a reminder,” the announcer said, “haikus are written in five syllables, seven syllables, then five.” Mirabile dictu, she did the whole text of her story in “haikus”. I winced, of course, and couldn’t bear to listen to the contest-winning haiku that she read out. Sending haikus to Mars. Interplanetary bursts of 5–7–5. What could be more typical of the status of haiku today?

Ask anyone: the 5–7–5–syllable form is a must for haiku. Having seen my car license plate “HAIKU”, a woman pulled over one day and asked me, “What are the rules for haiku again? Seven … five …?” The 5–7–5 form defines haiku. This belief is pandemic among that unenlightened 99.4% of the population that has not devoted its life to haiku. The belief in the magic, mystery, and music of a 5–7–5 syllable count is derived from a faulty understanding of Japanese haiku form. This evolved through the early translations of Japanese haiku into English, has been perpetuated by grade-school teachers, glorified by early practitioners and journals, utilised by weekend poets and pseudo-literary wits, and sanctified by composers of music. How can we explain the entrenched dedication to the 5–7–5 syllabic structure? We’ll discuss how 5–7–5 came to English-language haiku and look at this question from several angles and see if we can explain what’s going on and suggest what, if anything, we can do about it.

Haiku Form in Japanese

As Westerners came into contact with Japanese poetry, most attention was paid to the ancient waka, or tanka, and to British gentlemen-scholars such as W.G. Aston and Basil Hall Chamberlain, while the tiny hokku had a certain fascination as well. What we now call Japanese haiku were typically each written in a single vertical line, top to bottom. They were composed in a combination of kanji — Chinese characters — and kana. Kana are characters from one of the two Japanese syllabic alphabets representing a single vowel sound (a, o, etc.), a consonant + a vowel (ka, he, etc.), the nasal n, or a doubling of a consonant (as in hokku for example). Such a Japanese “syllable” is properly called a mora (plural, morae or moras) by linguists; in Japanese they are called on (音), or more usually, at least in English-language haiku studies, onji (音字), where ji means “character” or “symbol.” So if Japanese haiku were written in kana only they would typically number 17 on — sound-symbols or characters that would correspond to 17 morae.

English scholars noticed that Japanese verses fall naturally into phrases of five and seven on — in fact, these patterns are very natural for Japanese speech in general, much as iambic pentameter is considered a standard pattern for English speech.

Thus, the 5–7–5 on pattern can be called typical for classical Japanese haiku — say, haiku written before the 20th century — though it was not by any means an ironclad rule and even the masters not infrequently wrote haiku that were hypersyllabic (too many on) or hyposyllabic (too few). In 1965 Harold Henderson estimated that one in 25 of Japanese haiku did not use the 5–7–5–syllable structure. [1] Certainly the preponderance of haiku written in Japanese today are 5–7–5.

You will have noticed that the Japanese on is quite different from the English syllable. Observing monosyllabic English words such as “through” or “hedge”, Japanese haikuist Uchida Sonō wryly remarked that English words contain too few syllables. “Christmas” — two syllables in English — is transliterated into five on in Japanese: ku-ri-shi-ma-su. This means that syllable-for-syllable English packs in more meaning than Japanese, so a 17-syllable English translation of a Japanese haiku seems wordy to a Japanese.

Translation of the Haiku Form From Japanese

When I began researching this essay I assumed that the roots of 5–7–5–syllable structure in English haiku would be found in the early translators of Japanese haiku into English. I was very wrong. As they groped to define haiku in relation to Western poetry, these scholars tried about everything but 5–7–5. Aston is most responsible for dividing haiku in English into three lines. [2] His 1899 history of Japanese literature contained haiku examples that used the three-phrase, three-line form, and, though he did not always attempt to follow the 5–7–5 pattern, he did use it sometimes. [3]

Why present Japanese haiku in English in three lines? Some have suggested that the three-line format fits better than a single long line on the page of a Western book. More likely, though, the translator is dividing the Japanese text into its three Japanese phrases, and usually that is the case. At the same time, however, this probably rules out the possibility of breaking the haiku neatly into lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables in English. In fact, few translators have tried to capture exactly the Japanese syllable count in English. R.H. Blyth, for example, was frequently one or two syllables off in his translations, often even more.

Some early translators apparently decided that since haiku were poems, albeit exotic ones, they should be dressed up to look like poems that Europeans would understand. Verses in 5–7–5 syllables may be common and comfortable to Japanese, but not to Westerners. These translators sought to bring to these strange Japanese verses poetics and aesthetics, starting with format that would be familiar to non-Orientals. Such were Basil Hall Chamberlain, who in 1902 called the haiku a “Japanese poetical epigram” and translated them as couplets [4] — an influential characterisation that muddied the critical waters for decades to come.

Another influential early translator, this time a Japanese, was Miyamori Asatarō. Beginning in the 1930s, he picked up the epigram idea and used it in his English renderings of thousands of haiku into couplets, usually adding a title. [5] Three decades later the Australian expatriate Harold Stewart pursued the couplet form, then went a step further and turned Japanese haiku into titled English-language rhymed iambic pentameter couplets, an act that has horrified English-speaking haikuists ever since. [6]

The 5–7–5 Form in Early English-language Haiku

So we can’t really say that the origin of 5–7–5 in English was the work of the early translators. English-speakers who began to write haiku of their own in the first years of the 20th century soon divided themselves into two categories: the 5–7–5ers, who imitated the Japanese form as best they could, and those who did not, the free spirits who found other aspects of the haiku more engaging and interesting.

Harold Henderson was the first to consider in a systematic way the composition of haiku in English. In his earliest treatises on haiku he talked only of Japanese haiku, but in his 1965 work Haiku in English, he set down some guidelines for English as well. Henderson’s appraisal of the situation is so prescient that it warrants repeating here at length:

It is generally taught that the form should be 17 English syllables divided into three lines of 5, 7, and 5. A few modify this by adding “about” or “approximately”. Almost all specify that a haiku should be unrhymed.

The advantages, for beginners, of using a strict form are two-fold. First, it makes for simplicity. Second, it is excellent practise, not only for haiku, but for every kind of writing. As one college professor put it: “Before attempting flexibility, learn to submit to controls.”

One danger of insisting on a strict 5–7–5 form is that a beginner may get the idea that form is all-important — that any conglomeration of words in 5–7–5 form is a haiku, and that every haiku must have that form exactly. It is a real danger, as this idea is already far too prevalent.

Another danger is that an English verse can have a strict 5–7–5 syllable count and still not sound right. However, such verses seem to occur rather rarely in actual practise. When they do, they can usually be quite easily corrected by a competent teacher. [7]

Henderson does not say why he thought 5–7–5 was appropriate for English-language haiku. “Just so,” we suppose. Just because Japanese haiku are written that way, more or less, and this format in English honours and reflects the Japanese. Henderson wrote a few haiku under the pen-name “Tairō”. They were 5–7–5, or close.

Most haiku poets of the mid-20th century fell into line. James W. Hackett, America’s first haiku “superstar”, put together his “Suggestions for Beginners and Others”, two of which were “Express your experience in syntax natural to English. Don’t write everything in the Japanese 5, 7, 5 form, since in English this often causes padding and contrivance”; and “Try to write in three lines, of approximately 17 syllables”.[8] Though these principles seem slightly contradictory, Hackett was consistent in that he practiced what he preached. [9]

Another influential haiku critic and teacher, Lorraine Ellis Harr, issued an influential document titled “The Isn’t of Haiku” in which she dealt with the 5–7–5 problem:

1. Haiku ISN’T a prose sentence divided into 3 lines of 5–7–5 syllables, nor a “dribble of prose”.

2. Haiku ISN’T always divided into 5–7–5 syllables. The 5-7-5 count refers to the Japanese onji (symbol/sound) not to English language syllables. It IS usually in a short/long/short form. It ISN’T “padded” with modifiers to make the count come out right.[10]

In her own haiku, however, Harr did write in the 5–7–5 template, although her lines were occasionally one syllable short or long.

In the 1930s and ’40s Kenneth Yasuda studied haiku for his doctoral dissertation and later expanded his scope to consider the possibility of writing haiku in English. On the question of form in English-language haiku he wrote:

If the intent of haiku is understood, then its form, at once so different from any Western one and so curious in its allusiveness, is seen to be the only one in which the haiku moment can be realized. Its length of seventeen syllables corresponds to the length of the haiku moment. Its structure of three lines, comprising five, seven, and five syllables each, contains through its balanced grace the moment of resolution of insight, of order. [11]

For Yasuda, 5–7–5 is categorically the only appropriate form for haiku, but he too, like Henderson, seems simply to import the form from Japanese and asserts rather than proves the suitability of 5–7–5 for poets writing in English. Yasuda’s own experiments were all 5–7–5 with rhyming first and third lines that emphasised his rigid form.

Sr. Joan Giroux, in her book The Haiku Form from 1974, supplies some rationale for using the classic Japanese form:

The 17 syllables provide the breath-long expression needed to represent the haiku moment. The 5–7–5 grouping supplies artistic proportion, symmetry and asymmetry. It has been noted that the conditions and techniques for attaining brevity in the Japanese haiku are not inconsistent with similar conditions and techniques in English. Finally, the possibilities of the couplet and the quatrain as forms for haiku have been examined, and generally the three-line form has been seen to have advantages over the other forms.

Giroux goes on to quote Blyth on the subject:

The haiku form is thus a simple and yet deeply “natural” form, compared to the sonnet, blank verse, and the other borrowed forms of verse in English. The ideal, that is, the occasionally attainable haiku form in English, would perhaps be three short lines, the second a little longer than the other two.

The method of achieving the ideal line length might well be to count haiku syllables in English in a manner similar to the Japanese. At least an awareness of the Japanese method is valuable in encouraging greater flexibility in the writing of English haiku. Considering what has been said of the haiku form, it seems, therefore, that the direct, austere, three-line form of Japanese haiku is also the most suitable form for English haiku. [12]

Decades later, in 1997, haijin Clark Strand added another argument in favour of 5–7–5 in haiku. He uses haiku in his meditative practice and teaching. In a chapter of his book Seeds for a Birch Tree titled “Counting Syllables, he writes:

The place to begin is counting syllables — five-seven-five.…

If we have no interest in using haiku as a spiritual practice, it is unnecessary to count syllables at all. We would, for instance, write a haiku in any form — one line, four, or 17 — and include the season or not as we pleased. But I doubt we could take much long-term satisfaction from this kind of haiku. I doubt if haiku would endure beyond a few decades in America if it were practiced this way.[13]

In actual practice, most of the pioneering haiku poets of the early 1960s publishing in places like the journals American Haiku, Haiku Highlights, and Haiku West wrote in 5–7–5, at least at the beginning. Some, such as Frank Ankenbrand, O Mabson Southard, Clement Hoyt, David Lloyd, Matthew Louvière, Gustave Keyser, Kay Mormino, Larry Gates, and Robert Spiess, kept close to 5–7–5 throughout their careers.

Early English-language haiku contests, too, defined haiku in terms of a standard form. You’ll recall that James W. Hackett, in order to enter this haiku in the Japan Airlines Contest in 1964, padded up the version of this haiku that had been published in the first issue of American Haiku in 1963:

Bitter morning
sparrows sitting
without necks.

to 5–7–5 so it read:

A bitter morning:
Sparrows sitting together
Without any necks.

I can think of no other reason he would have done this but to accommodate his idea of what the Japanese judges expected in a haiku. Hackett’s haiku was the National Winner, but significantly, all the runners-up in that contest — by Lorraine Ellis Harr, Robert Mainone, and Robert Spiess — were also 5–7–5. [14]

By the late 1960s, people who were serious about their haiku began to deviate from the 5–7–5 form and concentrate on other aspects of haiku. In fact, the new journal out of Toronto, Eric Amann’s Haiku Magazine, which began in 1967, was a controversial eye-opener for publishing haiku that concentrated on the haiku moment and depth of meaning rather than adherence to the classic haiku form. This was a watershed in English-language haiku history. Most serious haiku poets began to look differently at haiku now and, by and large, left 5–7–5 to beginners and dilettantes.

Teaching Haiku in Schools and Colleges

Schoolchildren and students, by definition, number among those beginners. Haiku has long attracted schoolteachers. The very brevity and the necessity to make each word count make the haiku an appealing pedagogical tool, and its main topic — nature — makes it particularly appropriate for children. The internet is full of pedagogical suggestions and lesson plans for a unit on haiku in grade school or junior high. Here is one example, one of the better ones, by Glori Chaika, a teacher of gifted middle-school students in New Orleans:

As a teacher, first explain the haiku’s rigid structural format of five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third. Read several to the class. There are some wonderful Japanese haiku available.… Establish a mood. To do so, use visual imagery and/or music or pictures of pastoral scenes, and when the students seem to have some glorious scene in their mind’s eye, challenge them to record it — in seventeen syllables. Do not break the mood until poetry is produced. [15]

So 5–7–5 is the cardinal rule. This is haiku as it is almost universally taught in American schools — a poem about nature written in three lines of five, seven, and five syllables. It has become a cliché or joke in the haiku community. It is an invidious joke, however, because it serves to perpetuate a mistaken impression of what a haiku is and has been and totally misses what it might offer to young minds. Rather than learning to use their fingers and thumbs, pupils could learn what an image is and how putting two images together can create an interesting resonance.

Hoping that schoolteachers will abandon their dedication to 5–7–5, however, is a lost cause. I’m sure that 95 percent of primary and secondary school teachers simply accept the syllabus of the school board or whatever authority dictates the curriculum and lesson plans that define writing haiku in terms of counting syllables. Some of these children’s haiku are assuredly of good quality, but perhaps not the best, shackled as they are to the 5–7–5 form. None of the 12 prizewinning haiku in the eminent Nick Virgilio Haiku Contest for high school students in 2012 and 2013 were 5–7–5, for example. [16] Moreover, the haiku that win the Virgilio contest are almost always written by students of English teachers and advisers who are haiku poets themselves. The instructions for the Virgilio contest for high-school students do not contain a definition of a haiku at all, although nearly all other scholastic haiku contests — as well as popular contests on the internet for children and adults alike — ask for submissions in 5–7–5. So we see a situation in which the schools are adding to the 99 percent of mediocre 5–7–5 haiku, while the other 1 percent, under the guidance of knowledgeable haikuists, are writing solid, innovative, and prizewinning haiku.

The extent to which haiku are included in standard college poetry textbooks and anthologies — and the sections in which haiku are studied — provide another measure of the status of haiku. A 1973 textbook, Modern Poems: an Introduction to Poetry, edited by Richard Ellmann and Robert O’Clair, included only a nine-haiku sequence by Etheridge Knight, all 5–7–5. [17]

Another popular introductory literature textbook, Western Wind, edited by John Frederick Nims and David Mason (4th edition, 2000), [18] uses only two haiku, both by Bashō, and discusses haiku in the “Form” section. The very popular Norton anthologies of poetry also all but ignore haiku as a serious literary form. Their textbook, The Norton Introduction to Poetry (7th edition, 1998), however, includes a significant section on haiku in the chapter titled “Literary Tradition as Context”. This compendium includes four haiku by Bashō, plus comparative translations of his “old pond” haiku; two haiku by Buson, four by Issa, two by Chiyo-ni; and four others by classic Japanese poets; and finally, one each by American authors J.W. Hackett, Etheridge Knight, Allen Ginsberg, and Richard Wright — all 5–7-5ers but the Ginsberg, which is also 17 syllables. [19]

An Introduction to Poetry, edited by X.J. Kennedy, contained a respectable selection of haiku as early as its seventh edition (1990) and perhaps earlier. [20] It had the distinction among college course books of approaching haiku as a serious genre per se, including sensible commentary and — most remarkably — treating the haiku in the chapter on images rather than the one on form. Thus liberated, the haiku in this textbook are not all 5–7–5. Poets included in the seventh edition were Buson, Bashō, and Issa, as well as John Ridland (“The Lazy Man’s Haiku”), Richard Brautigan (“Haiku Ambulance,” his parody of a haiku), Paul Goodman, Gary Snyder, Kenneth Rexroth, Richard Wright, Nicholas A. Virgilio, Raymond Roseliep, Penny Harter, and Virgil Hutton. The ninth edition of this textbook in 1998, [21] now under the general editorship of Dana Gioia, added works by Moritake, Michael B. Stillman, Jennifer Brutschy, Hayden Carruth, and Etheridge Knight (while dropping those by Goodman, Rexroth, Virgilio, Roseliep, Harter, and Hutton — probably a net loss in terms of quality of haiku).

So if weaning schoolteachers off 5–7–5 seems impossible, there is some hope in the teaching of haiku at the college level, where other aspects seem to be gaining ground. In this regard we need to mention college haiku classes by prominent haiku poets such as Steven D. Carter, Randy M. Brooks, and Bill Pauly.

Haiku Numerology

Some poets — mostly in the poetry mainstream to be sure — have become intoxicated by the magic of the numbers in haiku form. Two very prominent “longpoets” who have published books recently both hew closely to 5–7–5, for metrical if not mathematical reasons. Billy Collins occasionally ventures into 5–5–7 or some other line arrangement of 5 and 7 syllables. [22] Paul Muldoon has published two books of haiku that are strictly 5–7–5. [23] Moreover the first and third lines rhyme, often in most ingenious ways, and — here’s the killer — the end word of a verse is used as the rhyme as the first and third lines of a verse five haiku down.

In 2011, for another example, Modern Haiku published a “Huge Haiku” by David McAlevey that described the latter’s book of poems composed of “17 sets of 17 poems each with 17 lines each with 17 syllables, all divided up into groupings of 5–7–5 (syllables and lines)”. [24] To be sure, this is not a trivial accomplishment, probably something like writing a book of sestinas, but it seems about as far from essential haiku as we can get. Sort of “hyper-haiku” I suppose.

Setting haiku to music is a popular pastime for composers. Many of them get caught up in the numbers game and apply 5–7–5 to their compositions in ways that approach the mystical. Take, for example, the German composer Hans Zender. According to his album notes:

During the 1970s and 1980s Zender wrote a series of pieces bearing the title ‘Lo-Shu’, the ancient Chinese designation for a square divided into nine parts. The ideas behind Five Haiku, so [writes] the composer himself, was his ‘quest for the further abbreviation of his language’. The seventeen syllables of the haiku correspond to the seventeen large measures of a musical movement. Each of these measures is an autonomous musical unit in the sense of tempo and harmony, comparable to the ‘phrase’ of our classical music (it lasts between six and about twelve seconds). The division 5–7–5 of the haiku is made clear by two long rests. The measures themselves are not joined together in the sense of a developmental form but bear their center in themselves, so that their ordering follows on the basis of associative criteria. [25]

I’m afraid this explanation sounds like complete mumbo-jumbo to me.

American composer Mark Winges, who seems to know quite a lot about haiku, has written three sets of Haiku Settings on texts by top-flight American haiku poets. Winges writes,

The Haiku used in Haiku Settings cover a broad range, from the traditional 3-line, 17 syllable single moment/image poem, to the “heightened” individual words of Marlene Mountain. All of the texts are minimal, however, both in their use of few words to achieve their effect, and in their presentation: text surrounded by a lot of blank space on the page.… [One] element is the use of Haiku patterns in the music, specifically the 5–7–5 pattern (the syllabic division of the traditional 3-line Haiku), and the use of 17 as a “unit”. This element is like the scaffolding for a building — not visible, but a necessary part all the same. [26]

A concert reviewer provided additional information: “The piece hung together quite well, in part due to the use of a reference sonority (not a tonic, but a point of reference). This reference sonority was based on fourths and fifths derived from the 5–7–5 numerology of the haiku structure.” [27]

The numerology of haiku. Well!


About all I can offer by way of a conclusion is a non-conclusion: that as we slouch into the 21st century, some people write their haiku in 5–7–5, some do not. Most people who come to haiku casually, as on the internet, will choose the “classic” haiku form because of its ubiquity there. Serious longpoets are divided in their approach to haiku: some stick to 5–7–5, some don’t. Nearly all schools teach haiku as a 5–7–5 nature poem, but college professors and textbooks present a more catholic view.

I originally posed myself the question, “What can we do about the persistence of 5–7–5”? I now think that there is probably nothing to be done: 5–7–5 is ingrained in a certain segment of the haiku-writing population: folks who learned it that way, or who can’t recognise as haiku a poem that does not look like its Japanese forebear, or who relish the exoticism of something that looks like a koan, or who simply enjoy the challenge of writing to strict form. Beginning in the 1960s, however, most serious haiku poets chose to focus on aspects of the haiku other than form, specifically the importance of the haiku moment and the mechanism of juxtaposing concrete images.

I suspect that we will just have to grin and bear it and keep on answering questions from the public such as “what are those rules for writing a haiku again?”.


[1] Harold G. Henderson, Haiku in English (New York: Japan Society, Inc., 1965).

[2] Charles Trumbull, “Research Note: W. G. Aston.” Modern Haiku 39.3 (autumn 2008), 59–63.

[3] W.G. Aston, A History of Japanese Literature (London: Heinemann, 1899).

[4] Basil Hall Chamberlain, “Bashō and the Japanese Poetical Epigram,” Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, XXX (1902).

[5] Miyamori Asatarô, trans. and annotator, An Anthology of Haiku, Ancient and Modern (Tokyo: Maruzen Company Ltd., 1932), and other works.

[6] Harold Stewart, A Net of Fireflies: Japanese Haiku and Haiku Paintings (Rutland, Vt., and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1960); Harold Stewart, A Chime of Windbells: A Year of Japanese Haiku in English Verse (Rutland, Vt., and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1969).

[7] Harold G. Henderson, Haiku in English (New York: Japan Society, Inc., 1965), 26.

[8] Cited in Henderson, 35.

[9] Hackett discusses this issue in Section 3, “Haiku Form” of his long essay, That Art Thou: Part II—The Haiku Poem” Section 3, retrieved Oct. 13, 2013, from

[10] Harr’s checklist, “The Isn’t of Haiku,” was published widely in the 1970s and 1980s. One version is available online at’Ts_of_Haiku.

[11] Kenneth Yasuda, The Japanese Haiku: Its Essential Nature, History, and Possibilities in English, with Selected Examples (Rutland, Vt., and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1957), 180.

[12] Joan Giroux, The Haiku Form (Rutland, Vt. and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1974), 92–93

[13] Clark Strand, Seeds from a Birch Tree: Writing Haiku and the Spiritual Journey (New York: Hyperion, 1997), 24, 26.

[14]  Japan Air Lines, ed., Haiku ’64 (Tokyo: Japan Air Lines Foundation, 1964).

[15]  EducationWorld, retrieved Oct. 13, 2013, from

[16]  Contest results are reported in Frogpond 35:2 (spring-summer 2011), 132 ff., and Frogpond 36:2 (spring/summer 2013), 163 ff.

[17]  Richard Ellmann and Robert O’Clair, eds., Modern Poems: an Introduction to Poetry (New York: W.W. Norton, 1973).

[18] John Frederick Nims and David Mason, eds., Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry. 4th edition (New York: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages, 2000).

[19] J. Paul Hunter, ed., The Norton Introduction to Poetry. 7th edition (New York: W.W. Norton, 1999).

[20] X.J. Kennedy, ed. An Introduction to Poetry. 7th edition(Glenview, Ill. and London: Scott, Foresman/Little Brown Higher Education, 1990).

[21] X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, eds. An Introduction to Poetry. 9th edition(New York: Longmans, 1998).

[22] Billy Collins, She Was Just Seventeen: Haiku (Lincoln, Ill.: Modern Haiku Press, 2006).

[23] Paul Muldoon, Sixty Instant Messages to Tom Moore (Lincoln, Ill.: Modern Haiku Press, 2005); Paul Muldoon, Hopewell Haiku. 1st edition (Easthampton, Mass.: Warwick Press, 2008).

[24] David McAleavey, “Huge Haiku,” Modern Haiku 42.1 (winter–spring 2011), 66

[25] Thomas Sick (trans. Susan Marie Praeder), album notes for Hans Zender—Fünf Haiku for Flute and Strings (Lo Shu IV). Hans Zender, conductor. Saarländischer Rundfunk cpo000 485-2.

[26] Mark Winges, performance notes for Haiku Settings, third set, retrieved Oct. 3, 2013, from

[27] David C. Meckler, “The Bay Area Bursts Out Singing” {review of a concert on May 10, 1998 by the San Francisco Chamber Singers], 20th Century Music, Aug. 1, 1998, retrieved Oct. 13, 2013 from /~dcmeckler/rev_bacm.htm.

Editor’s note: This essay was first published in Frogpond 37.1, Winter, 2014 and appears here with the kind permission of the author.

Charles Trumbull is a haiku editor, critic, and poet who has returned to his roots in New Mexico. He co-manages Haikupedia at The Haiku Foundation and began writing and studying haiku in 1991. A past president of the Haiku Society of America, he was editor of Modern Haiku from 2006–2013. Charles has helped organise two Haiku North America gatherings, in Chicago (2011) and Santa Fe (2017).