Millikin University Haiku Writer Profile

Foster Jewell

Crossing the stream,
how confused the moon becomes
among the stones—

Leaves In The Wind, p 30
by Foster Jewell

Biographical Background

Foster Jewell was an American haiku poet and painter in the early and mid-1900’s. He was born July 21,1893, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jewell married Rhoda de Long Jewell, a piano teacher and fellow haiku poet. They lived in El Rito, New Mexico, Venice, California.

They had a small publishing company there, called the Sangre de Cristo Press, named after a mountain range in New Mexico. He died in Illinois, in 1984.

Author's Books

Jewell, Foster.
Leaves in the Wind
. Venice, CA: Sangre de Cristo Press, 1976.

Jewell, Foster & Rhoda Jewell.
Searching Today for Yesterday’s Tomorrow
. Venice, CA: Sangre de Cristo Press, 1976.

This profile of haiku writer, Foster Jewell, was researched, written and created by Elizabeth Stiner. See her reader response essay on Jewell's haiku:

Foster Jewell's Haiku

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

Author Awards

American Haiku
           Award (8)

Modern Haiku
Award-Eminent Mention (7)
           Honorable Mention (3)
           Special Mention (9)

Bonsai Award


Reader Response Essay

Foster Jewell wrote hundreds of haiku over the course of his life, in addition to sculpting and running his own publishing company. Jewell primarily wrote haiku—short verses dealing with nature and natural subjects, as opposed to senryu, which concern human subjects—in the traditional three line format. His haiku express an admiration and child-like wonder for the natural world.

The structure of his haiku is not strictly traditional. There is no consistent use of number of syllables, such as the traditional 5-7-5, in Jewell’s haiku. However, the lines of his haiku are generally between 4 and 8 syllables in length, with the second line being the longest line in the haiku. The first letter of the first line of the haiku is always capitalized, and is the only capitalized letter in the haiku.

Jewell likes to play with the alignment of his haiku. Sometimes he uses the traditional left alignment, but he uses center and right alignment, and indentations as well. The alignment chosen for a particular haiku seems to be matched to the moments the haiku includes.

The moments Jewell was interested in capturing do not generally concern anything relating to human relationships, except the relationship between humans and nature. He wrote about woodlands, wetlands, seasons, animals, insects, celestial bodies, and farms. Jewell’s haiku and senryu can be loosely grouped into three regional categories:


Voice of the coyote
filling the voidshadows
of this empty land

Modern Haiku Award
Eminent Mention

Cliff-dwelling ruins—
going in and out . . .
now and then, swallows.

American Haiku


From this waterfall
another river rises,
weaving off in mist.

American Haiku Award

Last screech owl cry—
how quietly the daylight
comes creeping through the woods.

The Haiku Anthology

and Mid-western

In the granary
an unrehearsed ballet—
"Cats and Sparrows."

Searching Today

Coming up,
taking a good long look . . .
the gopher.

Searching Today


Additional Web Links and Resources

The Haiku of Foster Jewell


haiku conferences haiku courses at Millikin Modern Haiku magazine
speakers & readings haiku competitions at MU student renga
student haiku projects published haiku by students links to haiku web sites
student research on haiku haiku by Millikin students directory of haiku magazines


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