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

January 24, 2009

white lies: RMA 2008 is released

Filed under: haijin-haikai news,Haiku or Senryu,Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 2:17 pm

.. “white lies: Red Moon Anthology 2008” (by Jim Kacian and the Red Moon Press Editorial Staff, January 2009; ISBN: 1-978-893959-80-4; 182-pages, $17.00)

We’ve said it before: the publication of the annual Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku is a much anticipated event in the haijin community.  The annual “RMA” attempts to collect “the best English-language haiku and related writings from around the world” published in the prior calendar year, as selected by Red Moon Press owner Jim Kacian and a distinguished panel of editors.  Poets and readers of the genre love to see which poems and essays have been included.  Lately, there has even been some welcome controversy about the contents of RMA.

.. .. The f/k/a Gang was, therefore, very pleased to learn yesterday that the 13th volume in the RMA series is now available, “white lies: Red Moon Anthology 2008.”  It contains “133 poems, 18 linked pieces and five critical works which encapsulate the very best writing of the haiku world in English this year.”  Jim Kacian has held the line again on price, which is still $17.00.

Because we do not yet have a copy of RMA 2008 in hand, we can’t offer an overview nor yet present all of the works written by our Honored Guest Poets that were selected for inclusion in white lies.  I’m hoping that members of our f/k/a family of poets will let me know which of their poems have been chosen for this year’s RMA.  Here are the selected poems that I know about right now; I’ll add to this list as I learn of others.

to-do list done
the day softens
into dusk

…. by Billie WIlson
orig. pub. Upstate Dim Sum 2008/II

funeral dirge –
we bury the one
who could carry a tune

….. by  David Giacalone (in mem. Arthur P. Giacalone)
orig. pub. Frogpond – Spring 2008 (Vol. 31: 2)

the cool kids
walk arm-in-arm
. . . wild narcissus

hunger moon –
the words
i meant to say

winter dusk—
when dad
would phone

… by Roberta Beary
“the cool kids” – pub. credit: the heron’s nest 9:11
“hunger moon” – pub. credit: Haiku Ireland Kukai 10
“winter dusk” – pub. credit:  Anita Sadler Weiss Memorial Haiku Contest 2008

a cold cup
from a cold cupboard
morning moon

a new teacher
adjusts the globe

the smoothness
of a river stone
slow-moving clouds

….. by Peggy Willis Lyles
“a cold cup”– Acorn 20
“equinox” – Acorn 21
“the smoothness” – Valley Voices 8:1

— you’ll find more poems from white lies in our posts “quickies and white lies” (Feb. 3, 2009); “GAL’s alternative universe” (Feb. 5, 2009; “stein and hull and more white lies” (Feb. 9, 2009) —

January 8, 2009

just another anniversary — as special as ever

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 11:55 pm

Happy anniversary to Ed and Laurice Markowski. ..

Today (Elvis Presley’s birthday) is the 21st wedding anniversary of my friends Laurice and Ed Markowski, of Auburn Hills, Michigan.  Twenty-one isn’t of those “special” milestone anniversaries.  But, with Ed, it doesn’t have to be.  He’s been regularly telling me for the past few years how lucky he was to find Laurice, and he’s been even more effusive about her as their anniversary approached this past week.

When I introduced Ed and his haiku here at f/k/a in March 2005, I said:

I’m touched by Ed’s ability to present the joys and dignity of
blue-collar life, and the romance found in the mundane
moments of married life.

Here is a bouquet of anniversary and everyday poems of love by Ed Markowski, inspired by Laurice, the love of his life.

we dress
for bed

in love…
we follow a snow covered road
into the fog

anniversary dinner
these long strands
of melted mozzarella

anniversary day
my wife & i
assemble a treadmill

anniversary day
i decide to take
the long way home

in the bedroom window
as we unwind this afternoon
in a holding pattern

carnival breeze…
sharing a bowl
behind the tilt-a-whirl

evening mist
the moth in her hair
light grey

summer love
bite by bite
we share the first ripe plum

hunting season
i read the inscription
inside my wedding band

city snow
we laugh over wedges
of lemon meringue

house of mirrors
i promise my wife
i’ll change

only the waterfall
just as it was…
second honeymoon

… by ed markowski
“anniversary day” –   bear creek haiku (Spring 2002)

bonus: One more from 2009:

silver anniversary
i still take
the quick route home

. . . and one from the summer of 1987:

in love…
gniklaw emoh

January 2, 2009

John Stevenson Archive (Part II)

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 10:00 am

— below is a list of f/k/a postings featuring two or more haiku or senryu by this Honored Guest poet – – you can also use the Search Box in our Sidebar to find any additional poems by this poet on this website —

Note: Click for Part I, “John Stevenson Archive (2005 – 2008)” where you will find scores of links to f/k/a postings that have multiple poems by John.

– click here for the Guest Poet Archive Index

John Stevenson [info

from sad to silly to . . . ” (Jan. 29, 2009)

re-prize: Modern Haiku (Summer 1996)” (February 8, 2009)

stein and hull and more white lies” (Feb. 9, 2009)

Frogpond brings HSA winners” (Feb. 18, 2009)

officer johnson’s undercover operation” (Feb. 19, 2009)

is Prune Juice you cup of tea?” (Feb. 21, 2009)

November 24, 2008

more Wing Beats, less beating the blawg bushes

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 7:46 am

the sunset geese –
a tailgater honks

-poem (& photo) by dagosan – orig. tinywords – December 12, 2006

The f/k/a Gang started complaining about the trend in lawyer marketing years ago — the constant stress on brand creation, selling strategies and self-promotion. (see, e.g., “Brand Lex” and “lawyers as tin men“)  In “Is legal marketing spoofable?,” we noted that almost all lawyer marketing was turning into a parody of marketing.   Meanwhile, our distate over the advent of advertising on lawyer weblogs now seems hopeless outdated and naive.  And, our praise for weblogs with a strong personal voice and content that is “interesting and well-said” seems downright old-fashioned.

What brought all this to mind is Scott Greenfield’s confession a few days ago at Simple Justice that “constant, obsessive, flagrant effort at marketing” that he sees at most lawyer weblogs “has me in a twist.” See “Networking, Thought Sharing and Enough Already” (Nov. 18, 2008). Scott says:

What I’m seeing is that the “how to” of marketing, the advice on self-promotion and, worst of all, the language that pervades blawgospheric discourse has become increasingly directed to open, notorious marketing.  Many of the most popular blawgs around are solely directed toward marketing.  Many of the best writers in the blawgosphere post only about marketing.   How to snag the last client on earth will be the final post in the blawgosphere.

Is this all we lawyers are?  Is this all we want to be?

Scott also pokes fun at the fog of marketing lingo that has spread across the blawgisphere.  He worries: “One of my gravest fears for the blawgosphere is that it will turn into one giant infomercial, all about self-promotion and marketing, both to other lawyers . . and clients.”

The response (similar to when this weblog passes judgment on lawyer activity that seems a bit too acquisitive) was defensive and angry, and poor Scott ended up spending far too much of his week replying to the carping.  He probably doesn’t really want any more attention, but — if you tend to agree with his analysis and perspective — Prof. Yabut and I urge you nonetheless to head over there a show your support.

Naturally, we think a great antidote to all those lawyers beating the bushes for clients, is a few more idyllic haiku by Matt Morden from “Wing Beats: British Birds in Haiku” (Snapshot Press, 2008):

bent back
by april wind
cormorant wings

december dawn
oystercatchers deep in
the cockle truck tracks

strategy planning
crows disappear
into the slates

stadium tour
a pigeon struts
in the manager’s box

… by Matt Morden – Wing Beats: British Birds in Haiku (Snapshot Press, 2008);
orig pub.- Stumbles in Clover (Snapshot Press, 2007)
except: “stadium tour” – A Dark Afternoon (2000)

. . find more Wing Beats and avian haiku here and there.

September 26, 2008

hold your own presidential debate — the finger puppet solution

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 7:15 am

In thirteen ten eight hours, the First Presidential Debate may or may not be held at Ole Miss.  Whether both candidates will be on stage tonight for this high-stakes event is still uncertain

3 PM update: The Associated Press has reported that John McCain is going to attend the debate this evening.   Nonetheless, the f/k/a Gang advises that you keep your options open, and continue reading this posting, which might just come in handy again before the election.

Rather than leave your Friday night plans unsettled, we suggest

Plan B: Hold your own Presidential Debate — and give the candidate of your choice the finger — with these lifelike Finger Puppets from Fold US Candidate (in pdf. format for print-out; via Don Weeks and Cory Doctorow):

.. Obama & McCain on hand for the debates  ..

debate  –
my middle finger twitches

… by dagosan

update (Sept. 26, 2008): Thanks to a reminder from Anne Skove from Court-o-rama that sock-puppets could also work rather well for staging the debate, Prof. Yabut remembered that an appropriately-clenched fist could also be used to quickly create a hand-puppet like those made by Señor Wences, our old favorite from the Ed Sullivan Show (poster and bio here).  Since it’s John McCain who is threatening not to show up tonight, it’s fun to recall that Wences’ most famous fist-puppet was named Johnny.

afterwords (September 27, 2008): See our follow-up “presidential debate redux: a puppet postscript.”

As expected, a few of our haijin friends are on hand for the debate party:

this summer night—
she lets the firefly glow
through the cage of her fingers

no place
to hide my hands
the rain begins

raspberries in season– 
all day I’ve needed
my hands

in both hands–
the water she carries
from the ocean

…. by Gary Hotham from breathmarks: haiku to read in the dark

clouding sky
my finger
on the bear track

………by Michael Dylan Welch – Shiki Haikusphere 10th Anniversary Anthology (2007)

on my finger
the firefly
puts out its light

………….. by Roberta Beary – Shiki Internet Kukai

writing with a finger
in the clear blue sky…
“autumn dusk”

lion puppet at the gate–
from his mouth
plum blossoms

…… by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

harvest festival 
small fingers trace
a saint’s name in slate

puppet show ~
an accordianist’s music
shows in his face

summer’s end
a gap-toothed kid
shows me the finger

blackberry picking ~
a pricked finger runs
into the stain

………………… by matt mordenMorden Haiku

sculpting cloud peaks
from shampoo suds –
crooked fingers

tangerine –
her citrus-scented fingers

… by David Giacalone
“sculpting cloud peaks” – Clouds Peak #1 (July 2006)
hard-to-peel” –  XXIX: 2 (2006)

snow shoveled on top of snow –
she breathes slowly
on her fingers

. . . by Gary Hotham – “Footprints & Fingerprints” (Lilliput Review,  1999)

September 15, 2008

haiku tradition: Issa, Lanoue and the Harvest Moon

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 10:24 am

(Harvest Moon over the Schenectady Stockade, Sept. 15, 2008)

... . Issa Self-portrait with poem ..

“Gimme that harvest moon!”
cries the crying

.. by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue ..

A cold front is moving into Schenectady today, after a sultry weekend that simply did not jibe with tonight’s arrival of the Harvest Moon (which is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox and has traditionally added extra light to farmers toiling to bring in the Fall harvest). You can’t love and write haiku without being under the influence of the Harvest Moon, and f/k/a has celebrated this special lunar event annually with an array of haiku and senryu:

  1. this moon’s for you!“ (featuring Issa haiku, 2004)
  2. more harvest moon haiku“ (2004)
  3. don’t forget to look up“ (2005)
  4. looking up: harvest moon & justin’s clouds” (2006)
  5. moon cakes, harvest moons & more“ (2007)
  6. in case you’re missing tonight’s Harvest Moon” (2007)

[Harvest Moon over Schenectady, NY, Sept. 15, 2008; dag]

As Professor David G. Lanoue reminds us:

“The night of the harvest moon–the full moon nearest to the autumn equinox–is, along with New Year’s Day and the blooming of cherry blossoms, one of the top three most important dates in a haiku poet’s calendar.”

Indeed, a search for “harvest, moon” at Lanoue’s Haiku of Kobayshi Issa website produces a bumper crop of 65 poems by Japan’s beloved 19th Century haiku master, translated by our haijin friend and Honored Guest poet David G. Lanoue of Xavier University in New Orleans (read about David’s return home after Katrina). And, it should be no suprise, then, that “Harvest Moon” very much means both “Issa” and “Lanoue” for the f/k/a Gang.

Therefore, although you can find many Harvest Moon-themed poems by our other Honored Guests by clicking on the links listed above from prior years, today we want to focus on Issa and Lanoue.

.. .. .. Kobayashi Issa and translator Prof. David G. Lanoue .  . . . .

Along with translations of over 9000 of Issa’s poems, Prof. Lanoue pften provides commentary to explain the verses, putting them into context of Japanese culture and history, as well as Issa’s life.  Below, then, are some of my favorite Issa Harvest Moon poems, with a few Lanoue commentaries to illuminate our journey and our moon-gazing tonight.  We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

not only waiting
for the harvest moon to rise…

.. ..

harvest moon night–
instead of the moon
leaking rain

harvest moon–
digging in the teacup
for sake money

harvest moon-gazing
priests, samurai

. .. the heavens don’t allows cooperate:

harvest moon
on a clear, rainless night

meigetsu ya kyô wa anata mo isogashiki

harvest moon–
tonight even you
are busy!

Commentary: Is Issa implying that the moon is occupied with business elsewhere and therefore is unable to appear (i.e. it’s a cloudy night).

. . . In 1819, there was an eclipse on the night of the Harvest Moon, and Kobyashi Issa wrote often about it.

overly helpful–
the harvest moon
eclipse forecaster

harvest moon–
my lap would be a pillow
if my child were here

Commentary:  This haiku was written in Seventh Month, 1819. Its biographical context is important, because Issa’s daughter, Sato, born the previous year, died of smallpox in Sixth Month of 1819–just a few weeks before Issa composed this poem. As he sits looking at the harvest moon–one of the most joyful occasions in the calendar for a haiku poet–the happy occasion is marred by a palpable absense. If only Sato were here… This sad poem reminds us of how precious children are to us; how, without them, the wonders of the universe, even the resplendent moon, seem drab and ordinary.


August 28, 2008

another reminder: August 31st is Love Litigating Lawyers Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 10:42 am

Snoopy or Sharky?

snack room —
the litigator takes
a third of the donuts

………………….. by dagosan

When you think “lawyer,” which image comes to mind: Snoopy or Sharky? You don’t have to read the study Public Perceptions of Lawyers (ABA Section of Litigation, 2005), nor our Shakespeare on Lawyers, to know how most people react to the L-word. Therefore, although the f/k/a Gang prefers mediation to litigation (and have gathered many stinging quotes about litigation and trials), we’ve done our best the past few years to remind our readers and blogging colleagues that August 31st is Love Litigating Lawyers Day. It is no surprise, however, that LLL Day (which was created by, like the similar April 8th celebration of Be Kind to Lawyers Day, just doesn’t seem to be catching on with either the public nor the Bar. Indeed, Wiley has noted this problem in several Non Sequitur cartoons, such as this one and that one.

It is not at all clear what we can do to make lawyers (not to mention litigation) more popular. Over at, August 31st and Love Litigating Lawyers Day have been turned into a Career Day theme for Grades 7 to 12. However, I’m not too sure that the suggested Lesson Plan for the day — a vocabulary list — is going to lure many youngsters into the profession:

Vocabulary – challenging words: articulate, himself, lethargic, problem, anyhow, watcher, abreast, all-important, never-ending, glamorous, passionate, solution, ever-changing, ongoing, meaningful, position

This approach might work better:

tagging along
with an ice cream cone
the senior partner

… by Barry George

I’m not even sure that this lovely “Lawyers Do It In Front of a Jury of Their Peers” t-shirt (via George Lenard) will help improve the popularity of the legal profession, despite the prevalence of dirty old men in the general population and the Bar.

mid-argument –
opposing counsel crosses
her legs

. . . by dagosan

As you may recall, not even trial lawyers want to be call trial lawyers any more. But, we would have thought that Walter and Ted at would want to toast the profession that has made them famous in the blogisphere. The closest we could find to a celebration of litigators this week at their website is Walter Olson’s coverage of “Biden and the Trial Lawyers” (Aug. 23, 2008) — which tells of the Democratic nominee for Vice President’s close ties to the plaintiff’s bar, and recalls Joe Biden’s affectionate “bottom-feeders” line (via Point of Law):

“I’ll pay the bottom-feeders to go out and get these big fees to stop bad guys from doing bad things.”

dem donkey gray.

That reminded me, of course, that the Democratic National Committee should love litigating lawyers a lot. (See, e.g.,, which shows that Democrats have received 80% of of all political contribution by trial lawyers since 1999; and “Cash Bar – How trial lawyers bankroll the Democratic party,” National Review, August 20, 2001.) If they hurry, on the last day of their National Convention, perhaps the Dems can hold a quick, early celebration in honor of Love Litigating Lawyers Day.

If you need an even better reason — beyond the Sermon on the Mount — to love litigating lawyers, check out Carolyn Elephant’s post at Legal Blog Watch, “Litigation as Profit Center” (Aug. 26, 2008). Carolyn points to an article in The Columbus Business Journal, which ” describes the range of different revenue sources that have developed around the Franklin County Courthouse.” And, she concludes, “Ah, profiting off of litigation — isn’t that the American way?”

. . . . . . . . . . .

That’s all the time I’m going to spend convincing you to do a little something nice for a lawyer on August 31st (even the non-litigating ones). Try hard to curb your enthusiasm. You know how much the Bar treasures its image of dignity.

litigation bags –
the associate’s
half-closed eyes

… by dagosan

clear and cold
the snap
of her attorney’s briefcase

… by Ed Markowski

afterwords (Sept. 1, 2008): Thanks to Ed of Blawg Review, I discovered today at Peter Black’s Freedom to Differ weblog that August 31st has also been declared Blog Day, on which bloggers are encouraged to point to “5 new blogs that you find interesting.” Among his selections, Peter suggested a new-to-me blawg from Australia, SkepticLawyer.  Since we have been the proud home of SkepticalEsq (and Prof. Yabut) for more than 5 years, we send a big “Howdy, Mates” to the team at SkepticLawyer.  Now, the f/k/a Gang doesn’t want to sound toooo cynical, but we are well past the time when we felt we had the time to investigate five new weblogs — no matter how interesting and worth of persual they may be.  We’re pleased to have learned of just one interesting weblog.

December 20, 2007

focus on law office bullies

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 10:58 am

Oops! A little premature exposure at TCL.

(Dec. 21, 2007): The f/k/a Gang apologizes for any confusion. When we enthusiastically told you about the focus on office bullies in the upcoming issue of The Complete Lawyer yesterday, we forgot that the crew at TCL is still in the final stages of putting together the entire edition. That means that the links provided below will indeed take you to the featured articles, but you can’t yet navigate around the TCL site from those pages to see the entire Jan-Feb. 2008 version of The Complete Lawyer — because it doesn’t yet exist. The complete package won’t be available until the first week of January. So, please enjoy this preview, but blame the f/k/a Gang and not Don Hutcheson’s crew at TCL for links that take you to their prior editions, and not to the understandably not-yet-ready-for-blog-time Vol. 4, No.1.

Of course, you could do a lot worse — while clicking around in cyberspace instead of producing billable hours today — than serendipitously checking out the TCL archives, which strive to provide “Tools and insights on professional development and quality of life and career issues that impact every lawyer’s success and satisfaction.”

bully Victoria Pynchon of the Settle It Now Negotiation Blog has a great little gift for anyone like myself needing help procrastinating over that Holiday To-Do List — a preview of the newest edition of The Complete Lawyer magazine, which will focus on law office bullies and nasties. (via Stephanie at Idealawg) In her post “The Complete Lawyer to Out Workplace Bullies,” Victoria tells us about, and links to, her own contribution to the new TCL edition: “Why Lawyers Are Unhappy… And Make Others Unhappy, Too,” which she says “is a personal confessional of workplace misbehavior. In fact, it’s just about as personal as you can get without committing professional suicide.” Pynchon points out that striving for power, wealth and prestiges is a very unlikely path to happiness, even if you achieve them. (Although she focuses on lawyers who are “feeling trapped by our own success,” I must say that an awful lot of bullying seems to come from people who are feeling trapped by their lack of success and taking it out on those below them in the law firm pecking order).

As you might have guessed, the inspiration for this topic was Robert I Sutton’s book “The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t,” which was released in early 2007. f/k/a focused on Sutton’s prior writings about Lawyer A$$H©les in a post last February. A key point was made by quoting Aric Press of American Lawyer:

“At a minimum, what I’m suggesting is that you [law firm managers] ask yourselves this question: Why do we put up with this behavior? If the answer is 2,500 value-billed hours, at least you will have identified your priorities without incurring the cost of a consultant.”

By the Way:  I recently learned at David Maister’s weblog that The No Asshole Rule was given the 2007 Quill Award as best Business book of the year.  The Quills honor “the year’s most entertaining and enlightening titles.”

under mistletoe —
the CEO flashes
this year’s bonus checks

…………………………………………….. by dagosan donkeyS

Sutton, a Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, has an article in the new TCL, “The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton.” Although it does not deal directly with lawyers, it is a good summary of his thoughts. The article concludes with:

DeleteButtonN “Treating people with respect rather than contempt makes good business sense, although it won’t always be enough to help save a troubled company. We can never know what the future will bring to our organizations and our lives. But if you work with other people, you know with 100% certainty that your days will be filled with face-to-face and phone conversations, email exchanges, meetings, and other kinds of human interactions—and that your moments, hours, and days at work will be more meaningful, peaceful, and fun if you work in a place where the no-asshole rule reigns supreme.”

Victoria provides links to four additional articles from the TCL focus on workplace bullying, in Vol. 4, No. 1 (Jan-Feb. 2008):

Now, before I get even grumpier about my unattended Christmas card list, I’m gonna sign off for today, and leave you with a few poems from the f/k/a Christmas Season Haiku page:

Christmas morning–
misty breath of cows
rising where they lie

stockings on the mantel . . .
the child’s eyes follow sparks
up the chimney

………… by Randy Brooksfrom School’s Out

solstice sunset
beside dad’s pink slip
her christmas list

two nights before…
tiger hones his claws
on the christmas tree trunk

………………………..………. by ed markowski

– a public-service announcement that warms our heart:

Maryland DOT/SHA

September 17, 2007

there’s no busyness like blawg busyness

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 9:32 pm

Going four days without a nap (while communing with haikuists, nature, and relatives, in Rochester, NY) has left the entire f/k/a Gang in a state of severe hammock deprivation and suspended concatenation. Lucky for you, Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends weblog has been weaving together a list of recent weblawg articles of interest to small business persons and little-old busy-bodies, for this week’s Blawg Review #126. If you’re looking for something interesting to read, head over to Anita’s place (after finishing this post, of course).

To explain why her business website is hosting a lawyer weblog roundup, Anita has opined previously that “businesspeople can be better at business by learning more about the law. And lawyers can benefit from knowing more about business. Armed with knowledge, we are all better off.” She also appears to believe that lawyers have more creative blog names than their entrepeneurial counterparts. Among other fascinating recent blawg posts, Ms. Campbell points to pieces on:

Blawg Review #126 even has a link to f/k/a‘s recent discussion of the Dangers of Alternative Billing Methods (which has attracted some heated Comments – and responses), for which we are most grateful.

Prof. Yabut wants to get to bed, and haikuEsq wants to change the subject, as we close this breathless non-posting:

city park
neon signs & fireflies
in sync

sunday school lesson…
a young boy counts
his ribs

…………………………………… by ed markowski
“city park” – Mainichi Daily News, August 13, 2007 (#698)
“sunday school lesson” – Simply Haiku (senryu section, Summer 2007, vol 5 no 2)

And, one more from ed written today: napHammock

season’s end
every pennant on the stadium roof
pointing south

September 16, 2007

introducing Sarah Painting

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 7:47 pm

As I mentioned in this morning’s update to my posting on the Haiku Society of America’s annual meeting in Rochester, NY, I had the great pleasure yesterday of meeting Sarah Painting at last night’s haiku-sharing session. Sarah is the nine-year-old daughter of f/k/a‘s Honored Guest Poet Tom Painting, of Rochester. She read five of her poems to the assembled audience of haiku poets and charmed us all. This morning, she accompanied her dad, when he led seven other haiku poets on a ginko (a haiku-inspiring walk or tour) at the spectacular Mt. Hope Cemetery (more from wikipedia), and was kind enough to say that I could share two of her poems with f/k/a‘s audience. Here are two that I first heard last night:

summer evening girlSliding
a hot dog smell

on the breeze



funeral home
a girl comforts
her mom’s cry

……………………………. by sarah painting (9-years old, Rochester, NY, 2007)

Watching her interact with her father (who teaches creative writing at the Rochester School for the Arts), it was clear that her poems are her own, with Tom asking [non-leading] questions that allow Sarah to think about the content and form of the poems she creates — while encouraging her love of the genre and the process of writing. Sarah also indicated that she may want to enter the world of haiku publishing and editing herself. She asked each of the ginko participants to send her a poem (either inspired by today’s walk or previously written), and has offered to put them into a small “chapbook” that will be produced and sent to each of us. A great offer and an excellent memento of our excellent end-of-summer haiku walk. So, when we hear the name Painting and haiku in the same sentence, we’ll all be asking “Tom or Sarah?”

HSALogo p.s. Jerome Cushman and Michael Ketchek of the Rochester Area Haiku Group were the judges for this year’s Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition, which is a contest from HSA for students in grades 7 through 12. Click the link to see the quality haiku from kids just a few of years older than Sarah.

update (June 3, 2008): See “good haiku by kids” for two more pomes by Sarah.

September 14, 2007

Patty Wetterling tells “the harm in sex offender laws”

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 9:14 am

 Since the day in 1989, when her son Jacob was kidnapped by a stranger, Patty Wetterling has “been on a journey to find him and to stop this from ever happening to another child, another family.”  She and her husband are co-founders of the Jacob Wetterling Foundation, which works to prevent sexual violence against children.  When Patty Wetterling speaks out against sex offender laws, we should listen.  Here is part of the opening of her op/ed piece  “The harm in sex-offender laws”  from this morning’s Sacramento Bee, (Sept. 14, 2007).

I’m worried that we’re focusing so much energy on naming and shaming convicted sex offenders that we’re not doing as much as we should to protect our children from other real threats.

Many states make former offenders register for life, restrict where they can live, and make their details known to the public. And yet the evidence suggests these laws may do more harm than good.

The piece was written in conjunction with the release of the Report on Wednesday of “No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the US, by Human Rights Watch (see our post).   It concludes:

   “We need to keep sight of the goal: no more victims. We need to be realistic. Not all sex offenders are the same. Not all sex offenses are the same. We need to ask tougher questions: What can we do to help those who have offended so that they will not do it again? What are the social factors contributing to sexual violence and how can we turn things around? None of us want our loved ones to be victims of sexual violence. None of us want to be the parent or sibling or child of a sex offender. But since the vast majority of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the family, sexual violence becomes personal very quickly. It affects all of us.

“We need better answers. We need to fund prevention programs that stop sexual violence before it happens. We need to look at what can help those released from prison to succeed so that they don’t victimize again — and that probably means housing and jobs and treatment and community support. Given that current laws are extremely popular, taking truly effective measures may exact a high political price. But that’s surely not too much to pay to prevent the kidnap, rape or murder of another child.”

Here’s the Comment of Rev. David Hess, of The, to Wetterling’s article:

Thank you Patty! I am a member of the Board of Directors of SOhopeful International. We are working with families, citizens and professionals to change the way Megan’s Law and similar legislation mandates the registration, tracking and community notification of non-violent, low risk sex offenders. We are making this effort in order to strengthen the Sex Offender Registry (SOR) and make it more effective, to help it to accomplish what it was originally intended to do.

Many of the current laws are counterproductive. We, like the Jacob Wetterling Foundations, want former offenders to succeed. When they do, our communities are safer. Denying former offenders housing, employment, and stable family lives makes our communities less safe.

We strongly agree that we need to prevent these crimes before they happen. Our hope is that lawmakers will consider such initiatives as

C. David Hess
SOhopeful International

Click this link to find information from JWF on child sexual abuse prevention education.

June 25, 2007

morphing one two three

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 10:38 pm

ooh Harvard has once again “upgraded” its webserver and — once again — left this weblog with a formatting nightmare, and the unwelcomed need to change its “theme” (which controls how the weblog appears). We should soon be able to choose a new theme/look for f/k/a.

update (June 26, 2007, 1 PM): Please excuse our dust while we experiment with “themes” to see how they look and what they do to our complicated formatting.

first hot day . . .
dog and master jostle
for one spot of shade

………………………………by dagosan

May 22, 2007

baseball haiku party today in nyc

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 1:29 pm

baseballDiamond  If you can hustle down to the National Arts Club by 8 PM tonight (May 22, 2007), you can participate in a Celebration of Haiku & Baseball with Billy Collins.  Here’s how the NAC Events Calendar describes tonight’s presentation:

Reading & Booksigning

Former poet laureate of the United States and bestselling author Billy Collins will read from and talk about his recent book of haiku, She Was Just Seventeen. Former president of the Haiku Society of America, Cor van den Heuvel, will then read and discuss haiku from his new book Baseball Haiku (co-edited with Nanae Tamura), and three of the featured poets in the book—Alan Pizzarelli, Ed Markowski, and Brenda Gannam—will read their baseball haiku

BaseballHaikuCover We’ve been sharing poems from Baseball Haiku (Cor van den Heuvel and Nanae Tamura, eds., W.W. Norton Press, April 1, 2007) over the past couple of months (see here, there, here).  f/k/a is proud to have so many of its Honored Guests featured in a volume of “The best haiku ever written about the game.”  We’re especially proud that over 20 of the 200 poems were penned by “our own” Ed Markowski.  dagosan and haikuEsq would love to be at NAC this evening to hear Ed read a selection of his poetry.   Here are a few:


April rain
my grandson practices
his infield chatter


late innings  infielderG 
the shortstop backpedals
into fireflies


bases loaded
the rookie pitcher
blows a bubble



spring training . . .
flamingoes graze
on the mansion lawn


winter reverie
the faint scent of bubblegum
on an old baseball card


 ……………………. by ed markowski 


NHDavidAtBat1953s larger: haiga, MagnaPoets, April 11, 2007

sacrifice fly —
on third

poem: David Giacalone
photo: Mama G. 

squinting to see him —
another generation
sent to right field

……….. by David Giacalone, Baseball HaikuRoadrunner Haiku Journal (V:4, Nov. 2005)

update (May 23, 2007): The newest edition of Simply Haiku (Vol. 5:2, Summer 2007) has a review of Baseball Haiku, by professor of English, and poet-editor Johnye Strickland.  The same issue features the baseball senryu of Cor van den Heuvel, with 7 poems from Baseball Haiku.

December 8, 2006

gotta get a little holiday spirit

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 12:40 am


 snowflake  As the following dagosan poems indicate, I’m still not quite in the holiday spirit.  Maybe a few more haiku and senryu from my friends will help.  If not, I’ve still got a couple weeks.


setting up the creche —
the Baby’s name
uttered over and over

married a decade
she hides
the mistletoe

married a decade snowflake
he buys
new mistletoe

that godless salesgirl said
“Happy Holidays!”

[for Steve Bainbridge]


. . . . by dagosan/david giacalone


christmas morning
the old retriever gets
all the innards



christmas evening
the goose she raised
all summer

. . . . by ed markowski

Christmas pageant—                   snowflake  snowflake       
the one who had to get married
plays virgin Mary




another Christmas . . .
my parents visit
the son in prison


 . . . . by Lee Gurga from Fresh Scent (1998)


Christmas Day
  the exchange
    of custody

first snow…
settling into
old feelings

. . . . . by John Stevenson
“christmas Day” – from Some of the Silence
“first snow” – Upstate Dim Sum 2006/I


MomTwins50  Happy 80th Birthday, to Mama G!   snowflake

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