EN340 / IN350 Global Haiku Tradition
Dr. Randy Brooks
Spring 2002
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Meg Schleppenbach

Meg's Haiku Project
Cornerstone: Millikin Haibun

Essay on Dee Evetts' Senryu

Profile on Dee Evetts

Dee Evetts & George Swede
Senryu Masters


A Haiku Collection

Meg Schleppenbach

Author’s Introduction:

Before I began writing haiku myself, I had attended two haiku readings at Millikin University and had several close friends and family interested in haiku writing. Thus, I could hardly wait for my chance to learn about haiku and write them myself. I anxiously awaited enrolling in global haiku at Millikin, and, since that time, I have learned more about writing than I could ever have anticipated.

First of all, I have found that writing haiku has improved all of my other writing because of its interest in the image. More and more, I am able to show and not just tell in my writing, and I attribute this to haiku. The brevity of haiku has also helped me to become more concrete and concise in my prose. Though I am still rather long-winded as a writer, haiku has helped my immensely.

Second, haiku has shown me that I can find a unique style and utilize it. Most of my haiku are senryu, or humorous, satiric haiku. They focus on human emotion and show the ironies of daily life. However, my haiku are not at all harsh in tone. They indicate my respect for individuals and their emotions, but also show my ability to laugh at the foibles of myself and others.

This collection is entitled first date for two reasons. First, it is the first line of my signature haiku, which is printed last in this collection. This haiku is a favorite of mine and I believe best illustrates the work I have done thus far with haiku. Also, it is a senryu and very indicative of my style.

The title first date is also meant to evoke the feeling of freshness or newness so often felt on a first date. Many of my poems take otherwise insignificant moments and make them feel special, or new. I like to think of my haiku as a celebration of unique everyday moments that challenge the reader to see the beauty in the commonplace in their own lives. Though perhaps some of my haiku fall short of this lofty goal, I hope that the reader can at least relate to one or two of these haiku and appreciate this sense of freshness.

Finally, this whole experience writing haiku has been something of a first date for me with poetry writing in general, and I want the reader to recognize that. Some of these poems will need revision in the future and some will stay the same, but they are testaments to my first attempts at poetry. Even though some these poems may seem extremely bad to me in a few years, they stand as my early creations, and I am pleased to have them all in one place, so that I may look back in a few years and see how I expressed myself earlier in my life.
I hope you find at least a small bit of enjoyment in my first time out with poetry.

~Meg Schleppenbach

Reader’s introduction:

The haiku of Meg Schleppenbach highlights daily life in exceptional haiku and senryu. Her mature style takes everyday moments and makes them memorable. Each haiku encourages the reader to focus on the small things in life. She shows the reader how sometimes seemingly insignificant moments are the most influential.

My personal favorite of Meg’s haiku is what some may call her signature haiku:

          first date
          I pretend
          to be cold

This haiku demonstrates Meg’s the unique style and creativity. She tells the reader only what they need to know to appreciate the moment. In this short haiku she provides a wonderful image and expresses a touching emotion. This haiku was accepted for publication in Modern Haiku magazine earlier this year.

Meg and I have worked together extensively on our haiku. I have seen the time and dedication she puts into writing excellent haiku and senryu. Many people respond to her effort and voice their admiration of her work. I have enjoyed watching Meg grow as a haiku author and hope she will continue writing into the future.

~Kerry Hammergren

first date
I pretend
to be cold

(Modern Haiku, 33.2, 2002)

spring dance
I paint my nails
for no one

(Illinois Times, March 28, 2002)

under the sheets
the beagle
sniffs for its master



almost sunrise
my advice falls
on equally drunken ears

mountain summit
looking down
from the playground pole



wind gust on my face
his comment
makes me angrier

hearing crickets—
I watch his hand
holding mine



heart sinking
along with the elevator

asleep on the worn couch
the child’s arm
wraps around her puppy



walking to class—
I throw a snowball
at my friend’s lookalike

after his death
every exit
an event



talking about her:
how dare she
talk about me

my eyes shutting
I struggle
to keep daydreaming


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