Global Haiku • Spring 2009
Dr. Randy Brooks

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Bill Ryan

See his reader response essay:
The Influence of Buddha's Teachings on the Haiku
of Jack Kerouac

Bill book

"For Better of Worse"

a haiku collection by
Bill Ryan

Author’s Introduction

When writing haiku, I take one of two approaches. I either allow myself to become wrapped up in a particular moment in time or I let my imagination wander and create a fictional situation, often based off of an encountered real-life experience or emotion. As a result, my haiku vary broadly in terms of subject matter and the feelings they evoke. Some are straight-forward and to the point, while others require some extended thought to pull a meaning from them.

The haiku that I have chosen for this collection are all based on events or emotions that I have personally experienced, whether they were written in the moment or based on the past. Essentially, they are all reflections of my own observations in life, covering topics from love to growing up to drinking beer on a summer’s day. I pulled the line “for better or worse” from one of the haiku to use as the collection’s title, seeing it very fit based on the nature of these haiku. The fact of the matter is that in the end, we will all have lived lives full of different situations and will have felt different emotions, and each of these times in our lives will have changed us in some way, for better or worse.

This collection is dedicated to all of the people who were the inspiration for these haiku.

Reader’s Introduction
by Ryan Murphy

Bill Ryan’s haiku rely on a different power than the juxtaposition of objective images to illicit metaphysical responses; instead, his haiku is firmly grounded on the “matter of fact,” making it relatable and honest. The ego seems to leave the writing, though the writer does not. Ryan’s strength lies in the reader’s ability to relate to a single image, drawing from the strength of the little things to illicit emotion, creating haiku grounded not in theory, but action. In doing so, he relates to his audience with ease, offering haiku more true to the nature of the art form than many writers even realize they strive for.

I want it back
my shirt . . .
I want you back

your toothbrush
on my sink


Ash Wednesday
my usual seat

empty jazz bar
the pianist plays


August bonfire
cold dew soaking
into my shorts

laughing with my parents
I question
moving away


cold beer
on the windowsill

for better or worse
I have become
my father


© 2009, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.