Millikin University Haiku Writer Profile

Carl Patrick



one cricket sunset

     After Lights Out. 1996

by Carl Patrick

Biographical Background

Carl Patrick was born on July 7th, 1937 and is a native of Houston, Texas.

He now lives in New York City and is a member of the Spring Street Haiku Group which was founded by Dee Evetts and continues to publish award-winning and vital haiku to this day. Patrick also assisted editor Cor Van Den Heuvel with critical advice on the third edition of The Haiku Anthology.

This profile of haiku writer, Carl Patrick, was researched, written and created by Eric Sharp.

see Eric Sharp's reader response essay:

Carl Patrick's Haiku:
Nothing Special

Scroll through the entire profile, or jump to any section:

Critical Commentary:

Cor Van Den Heuvel describes Patrick’s haiku in general, "…Washed in colors of his imagination, things glow in his haiku-but only to disclose their own ineffable essence."

Anthologies including the author's haiku:

The Parakeet’s Mirror. Spring Street Haiku Group. 1993

Wood Shavings. Spring Street Haiku Group. 1994

A Small Umbrella. Spring Street Haiku Group. 1995

After Lights Out. Spring Street Haiku Group. 1996

In the Waterfall. Spring Street Haiku Group. 1997

Pink Bulldozer. Spring Street Haiku Group.1999

The Haiku Anthology, third edtiion, Norton, 2000


Reader Responses

Haiku Highlights:
Though I suppose the habit could be somewhat frowned upon by haiku purists (who are these haiku purists anyway?), I think what I like most about Patrick’s haiku is the amount of content linking that he uses. In many of his pieces, he sets up the scenario for us and then after the karigi, he tells us how the event plays out. His haiku moments are incredibly subtle, and often, it seems very difficult to detect a break at all-the images are so cohesive.

at the fruitstand
taking off my mitten
to feel the coconut

     The Haiku Anthology (142)

For instance, in this haiku, Patrick uses both a scent link in the fruitstand as well as a content link with the same object since we all know what its like to walk down the aisle of a supermarket. We can each relate this image to a specific instance in our lives, or to be even more general- associate it with a certain feeling or comfort level that is connotative of the environment.

The other interesting thing about this piece is Patrick’s use of the mitten in the second line. This gives us a very good seasonal element, though I doubt mittens are listed in any traditional Japanese lists of season-words. The juxtaposition of the mittens against the fruitstand makes us at once aware that he is indeed in an indoor situation, and also that it must be considerably cold outside because he’s wearing mittens to begin with. We get the image of someone all bundled up and pining for warmer climes, when all of a sudden- they see a coconut and reach to touch this harbinger of the oh-so-distant tropical life. Perhaps to make sure that it is not a mirage.

Carl Patrick’s other great strength comes in the brief, yet ever-telling one-line haiku that he presents. Not too many authors can pull off the one line format because of the intrinsic difficulties it presents. For instance, some authors run their words together in an attempt to create a poem of one very long and complex word; an amalgamation of several smaller ones. This works very seldom, because the reader is taken aback by the sheer size of the word they are presented with, and they can scarcely glean anything meaningful because of the aforementioned abstraction. Patrick, on the other hand, does his best to keep the one-liners brief and to the point. One of his best is a mere three words long. The reader is presented with one solid image on which to gorge their senses.

Here is an excellent example of Patrick’s one-line haiku.

anthill on grandpa’s grave

     In the Waterfall. 1997




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2001, Dr. Randy Brooks• Millikin University
last updated 8/16/01 • about this web site