International Women’s Haiku Festival: Senryu by David Oates


Photo: Dave Bleasdale/Creative Commons.Flickr

David Oates explores the happy chaos of family life in today’s feature of the International Women’s Haiku Festival.

two young women
with three young children
try to visit

The scenario Oates describes in this delightful poem plays out (literally) in parks, on play dates, and at extended family gatherings everywhere: Two worlds – that of children and that of the adults charged with keeping them safe and teaching them how to behave – collide.  With the operative word “try,” Oates hints at the children’s mischief and the women’s frustration – in short, at the pandemonium of family life.

David Oates is the host of “Wordland,” a radio show of spoken word on  He is the author of three haiku collections: Shifting with My Sandwich Hand, Drunken Robins and, forthcoming, The Deer’s Bandanna.

International Women’s Haiku Festival: Poems by Michael Dylan Welch

Cedar Forest

Photo: Jerry Meaden/Creative Commons/Flickr

Michael Dylan Welch writes of cedars and doilies in today’s feature in the International Women’s Haiku Festival.

rust in the cedars –
we gather again
at her favourite spot

Whose favorite spot?  A grandmother’s?  A sister’s?  A friend’s?  We don’t know, but the “rust in the cedars” and the ritual (“again”) gathering suggest the remembrance of someone now gone.  This poem rings with music: The musical sibilants in the first line – “rust in the cedars” – open the poem with a reverential whispering.  The assonance of the hard G’s on both accented syllables in the second line – “we gather again” – is a gently percussive counterbalance to the hushed first line.  There seems to be a stillness at this gathering, a moment in which to contemplate the imponderable realities of interconnection and the cycle of life.


lazy day at granny’s –
the doily imprint
on my daughter’s cheek

There’s an entire world in the 11 words of this senryu.  This granny with her doilies – you can see her furniture, you can hear the creak of her floors.  And the filigreed imprint of the doily on the girl’s cheek connects the girl with that family home, a sanctuary of complete and total safety.  The assonance and swung rhythm of “lazy day” intertwines seamlessly with the alliteration of “day,” “doily,” and “daughter,” uniting musically the people, time, place, and mood of a moment of simple yet profound family joy.

Michael Dylan Welch recently served two terms as poet laureate for Redmond, Washington, where he also curates two poetry reading series and directs the annual Poets in the Park festival. He runs National Haiku Writing Month (, and is a director of the biennial Haiku North America conference. Michael’s haiku, tanka, longer poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies, and one of his translations appeared on the back of 150,000,000 U.S. postage stamps. His personal website is Michael lives with his wife and two children in Sammamish, Washington.

Find more information about the International Women’s Haiku Festival and submit your work at this link.