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What The Water Knows by Sam Hamill

Find out more about Sam Hamill here.


Reader's Guide

A Tour of our Haiku Books

Many know haiku as a three-line poem, the first and last lines five syllables long, and the second line, seven. But there is much more to what defines haiku, elements more subtle than prescribed syllable counts or line breaks. In fact, Japanese haiku are typically written in a single column, and many haiku deviate from the syllable count familiar to so many of us. So, what then, makes a haiku a haiku? Demonstrated throughout the haiku tradition is a close relationship to nature, and thus seasonal references are usually present. However, haiku also maintains a certain openness to interpretation, and this is the aspect of haiku with which many writers new to the tradition struggle. There is so much complexity to the seemingly simple art of haiku and its history, and the books in this guide, by translators and editors with a deep respect for the art, enlighten readers to a rich cultural tradition, leaving a delightful appreciation for the unique poetic form.

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Featured Excerpt

Song of Myself

Finding One’s Self in the Universe | An Excerpt from Song of Myself

What is commonest and cheapest and nearest and easiest is Me,

Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns,

Adorning myself to bestow myself on the first that will take me,

Not asking the sky to come down to my goodwill, Scattering it freely forever.

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Poetry Month 2021

Happy Poetry Month! From lyric to free verse, modern words to ancient translations, spiritual to artistic guidance—discover a new poem to love. Sign up below to receive a new poem delive...

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Remembering Diane di Prima

“the only war that matters is the war against the imagination.” —Diane di Prima We just learned that Diane di Prima passed away on October 25th, 2020.  While we did not publish any of...

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Michael McClure

The great poet and Shambhala author/contributor/blurber Michael McClure passed away May 4th, 2020. Michael was at the heart of the Beats, always listed as one of the shining lights of this ...

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The Legacy of Master Sheng Yen

Chan Master Sheng Yen (1930–2009) was a widely respected Taiwanese Chan (Chinese Zen) master who taught extensively in the West during the last thirty-one years of his life. He had numerous teaching...

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