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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

October 9, 2008

happy 60th birthday to John Stevenson

Filed under: haijin-haikai news,Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 12:01 am

John Stevenson turns 60 today, October 9, 2008.  You may recall that we made a very big deal over Yu Chang’s 70th birthday back in August.  However, living to sixty isn’t all that impressive in 21st Century America.  It’s not John Stevenson’s age we’re impressed with, but the way he’s lived his six decades and enhanced our lives.  We celebrate sixty years well-lived and anticipate and wish him many more — filled with much accomplishment, joy, and friendship.

John Stevenson made his first appearance at f/k/a in March 2005.  If necessary, you can learn a bit of the record of this much-acclaimed haiku poet and editor at that first post, and here.  Suffice to say, if the haikai community gave out Lifetime Achievement Awards he’d already have one on his shelf.

summit view
my friend
examines his shoes

… by Hilary TannThe Heron’s Nest IV #1

John’s love for the art and craft of haiku (and related literary forms, like renku) has enthused others and created deep bonds of friendship and admiration.   He’s fully present in all he does — as poet, actor, kayaker, parent, friend, movie-goer, dinner companion, and much more (including, over the past couple of years, bocce player).   It’s his being fully there that makes John’s friends want to be at his side.

I’ve already said more than I intended.  The poems in this post were chosen by a few of John’s close haiku friends because they spoke to the poet of John and his spirit.  Click to enlarge the sparkling photographs, which were taken by his inveterate kayaking companion, Yu Chang (who has a lot of pictures of John’s back).  Speaking for many others, Yu says:

John is not only a very good friend,
but also a source of my inspiration.

autumn colors
we paddle closer
to the mountain

another spring
the nameless shoot
still nameless

star gazing
he pulls another chair
on the floating dock

… by Yu Chang

autumn night
in the white beard
60 birthdays

autumn settles
dark frosting
on a white beard

autumn evening
in the white of his beard
another birthday

. . . . by Roberta Beary

staring down
into stamens
of a water lily

one paddle
above the reeds

……. by Hilary Tann, who says:

John —  thinking of our Upstate Dim Sum camaraderie at Tai Pan
or renku at Onawa … Happy Day! Hilary

a kayak
on the roof rack–
long way home

…. by Peggy Willis Lyles

even the mime
sings along –
the glow of sixty candles

cake crumbs
on index cards —
the editor’s chair

.. by dagosan

winding road –
under the influence
of a strawberry moon

…… by David Giacalone – The Heron’s Nest VII: 4

autumn colors-
his train
on time

… by Tom Clausen

Happy 60th Birthday, John!

—  find links to hundreds of his poems here – –


  1. Thank you, David and all my haiku friends. Your poems represent shared memories and experiences that I savor again, with the added pleasure of savoring your artistry.

    David’s assertion that “living to sixty isn’t all that impressive” is just what I needed to hear in order to begin my next decade with deep laughter. Much appreciated!


    Comment by John Stevenson — October 9, 2008 @ 5:35 am

  2. You are most welcome, John. Most of my closest friends, like myself, will turn 60 in 2009. Very few will have accumulated the laurels, memories, and friendships you’ll be bringing into your 7th decade.

    Comment by David Giacalone — October 9, 2008 @ 7:06 am

  3. a crocus
    through Spring snow

    Thanks, John, for setting me off on my paddle….


    Comment by Alan S. Bridges — October 17, 2008 @ 8:08 am

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