Elaine Andre was twice winner of NHK—Haiku Masters series in Japan, and featured in their Matsuyama special, 2016. She received the IHA Matsuo Basho Distinguished Poet Award, 2016; The International Matsuo Basho Award, 4th Edition, (3rd prize Haiku) among others. She is the author of Between Wit & Wonder—a collection of haiku and senryu, 2018; co-editor of In One Breath—A Haiku Moment, 2013; featured for commentary and verses in Kokil Anb Suhavi Bole, a haiku teaching text and anthology in Punjabi by Sandip Chauhan, 2014; a contributor to Beyond the Fields (a trilingual anthology of haiku), 2017. She has also been published in Mainichi Shimbun and many others.

Andre has exhibited internationally in sumi-e and has worked extensively in wide range of design and fabrication mediums.

Thoughts on Haiku

Haiku is often presented as a moment of awareness or personal experience in the now. Yet our experience is not born entirely of the present moment, but tempered by contextual layers of personal and collective human history. For more than five centuries key words and phrases from renowned Asian poetry, mythology, famous places, festivals, celestial events and seasonal references have been collected to form haiku’s rich kigo tapestry. These references can provide allegory, the universal metaphor, in fresh context. By avoiding intellectual or emotional gloss, the reader is invited to participate through what is left unsaid.

The haiku poet doesn’t simply observe the outside world as separate from the self; s/he is moving beyond ego self-focus to be present to and participate in an ongoing creation. Here we may locate the intersection of diverse schools of thought, be it the Zen and the Dao of ancient Asian cultures that fomented haiku’s poetic form or of a contemporary sojourner’s sense of exile and return in moments along the road. Ultimately, the integrity of a haiku reveals the poet’s own integration in and cooperation with the natural world’s creative forces by the way the poet breathes with nature’s creativity as it unfolds in the cyclically changing seasons.