EN340 / IN350 Global Haiku Tradition
Dr. Randy Brooks
Spring 2002
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Side of the Road
A Haiku Collection

Kerry Hammergren

Poetics Preface

When I began writing haiku I had no idea how much I would enjoy it. I have learned to appreciate the beauty of haiku and the many aspects of this art form.

The difference between each haiku author’s definition of a haiku moment makes each style distinct. The moments from my life which become haiku are those that are simple and distinguishable as special. I have found these moments make the best haiku because they are the most vivid in my memories. I chose the haiku for this collection because they all come from important moments in my life that I want to share with others.

In my haiku I have a very specific writing style. In this collection the reader may notice there are no capital letters or punctuation in the haiku. I believe simple moments should be written in the most simplistic manner possible. Sometimes extras in haiku writing can add to the moment, however I prefer to leave them out altogether.

The title, "side of the road," comes from a line in one of the haiku in this collection. My haiku sometimes stray slightly from the traditional haiku rules, therefore my writing is just on the "side of the road."

—Kerry Hammergren

Reader’s Introduction

Since Kerry and I began writing haiku together, I have been more and more impressed each day with the quality and variety of her writing. Her haiku and senryu define one simple label. Every time readers of her haiku believe they have her pegged (once, as the writer of "smoker haiku"), Kerry writes something completely new and beautiful in a different way.

However, I have found a few themes in Kerry’s diverse poetry. One consistent mood in her poems is loneliness. Unlike usual poetry on this topic, however, Kerry’s poems celebrate those moments of alienation and show how a person away from society can really shine. A favorite of her poems that deals with this theme is:

still awake      first to see the sunrise

Despite this interest in human loneliness, Kerry is also a master at illustrating human emotions in relationships. She has many haiku about friendships and romantic relationships that are touching without the sickening, ultra-romantic tint of many young haiku writers. Her haiku (and senryu) about relationships show an understanding of the range of emotions human beings experience in everyday social interactions.

—Meg Schleppenbach

the smell of home
wrapped in the quilt
her mother made

(Illinois Times , Feb. 21, 2002)

porch swing
our conversation
goes back and forth

first snow
the relationship
didn’t last



canoeing slowly
               after dark

the picture album
she turns some pages



dead of winter
i watch him
watch her

put out
i throw my cigarette
in the snow



shoveling snow
father and daughter
talk about football

side of the road
field of wildflowers
pulls her over



still awake       first to see the sunrise

the smoking circle
all plan to quit
maybe next year



brushing up against him
the smell of liquor
and strong cologne

second look
he notices the pattern
on her dress


©2002 Randy Brooks, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois || all rights reserved for original authors