Millikin University Haiku Writer Profile

Lorraine Ellis Harr

 

  Indian summer;
the scarecrow’s jacket fades
to a paler blue.
 
by Lorraine Ellis Harr

Biographical Background

Lorraine Ellis Harr was one of the most influential American women haiku authors. Lorraine Ellis Harr was assistant editor of Haiku Highlights until 1972 when she was named editor. She was a very energetic leader with direction, even going so far as to change the name of the magazine to Dragonfly: A Quarterly of Hakiu. Harr even changed her haiku name to Tombo, which means dragonfly in Japanese.

Harr remained the editor of Dragonfly until she turned it over in 1984. In 1972 she organized the Western World Haiku Society, basing the society on Japanese pattern. Subscribers to Dragonfly became members of the organization. In Japan, belonging to a group is belonging to a magazine, which is to belong to a school of writing. It is with this belief that Lorraine Ellis Harr set up the Western World Haiku Society.

One of the most remarkable things about Lorraine Ellis Harr is how many people she has brought to haiku, well over a hundred. She encouraged beginners to take up the art of haiku and helped develop them through participatory publishing. As an editor, when returning unpublished submissions to her magazine, she would send corrections, suggestions, and a list of do’s and don’ts of writing haiku. Harr was the first to write the do’s and don’ts of writing haiku in English. Most of the submissions she returned were edited with her suggestions, rewritten, and resubmitted. She was an incredible teacher of writing English haiku. Harr is one of the few Americans, even today, that have a secure understanding of Japanese haiku.

Lorraine Ellis Harr amazed people of the haiku scene by how much time and energy she put into doing all that she has accomplished. In addition to writing, editing, and teaching haiku, Harr also enjoys teaching Ikebana (Ryusie-Ha) [flower arranging]. However, as Tombo she continued to write haiku and articles for several magazines for Ikebana organizations in the U.S. and abroad.

Note from daughter-in-law:

This is to inform you of the passing of Lorraine Harr on March 3, 2006. She
was 93 years old. Before her death she was able to see the publication of her latest book, Under the Roan Cliffs, that she co-authored with her long time haiku friend, Brad Wolthers. The book is a collection of renga.

Martha Haldeman
(Lorraine's daughter-in-law)

Author's Awards

Honorable Mention: Japan Air Lines Contest of 1964

Mainichi Daily News Contests: many awards and publications throughout the years.

 

This profile of haiku writer, Lorraine Ellis Harr, was researched, written and created by Tonya Parrish.

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Author's Books

Lorraine Ellis Harr published ten books of haiku, senryu, haibun, and haiku sequences, and two books of children’s poetry.

The Anthology of Western World Haiku Society 1974-1975. Kanona, NY: J & C Transcripts, 1976.

The Anthology of Western World Haiku Society 1976-1977. Kanona, NY: J & C Transcripts, 1978.

The Anthology of Western World Haiku Society 1978. Kanona, NY: J & C Transcripts, 1979.

The Anthology of Western World Haiku Society 1979. Kanona, NY: J & C Transcripts, 1980.

The Anthology of Western World Haiku Society 1980. Kanona, NY: J & C Transcripts, 1981.

The Anthology of Western World Haiku Society 1981. Kanona, NY: J & C Transcripts, 1982.

Cats Crows Frogs & Scarecrows. Kanona, NY: J & C Transcripts, 1975.

China Sojourn. Kanona, NY: J & C Transcripts, 1981.

A Flight of Herons: Haiku Seascapes & Seasons. Kanona, NY: J & C Transcripts, 1977.

The Red Barn: Variation on a Pastoral Theme in Haiku (For My Mother, Myrtle Hickman Ellis). Kanona, NY: J & C Transcripts, 1975.

Ripe Papayu & Orange Slices (After the Chinese). Kanona, NY: J & C Transcripts, 1976.

Snowflakes in the Wind. Kanona, NY: J & C Transcripts, 1976.

70 Sevens: Pathways of the Dragonfly. Salt Lake City, UT: Middlewood Press, 1986.

Sundowners. Manchester, NH: First Haiku Press, 1980.

Tombo: 226 Dragonfly Haiku. Kanona, NY: J & C Transcripts, 1975.

 

 

Sample Haiku

After the crickets stop
evening silence grows
louder and louder

The Red Barn, 45

Dragonflies—
Even if I could catch one
—I wouldn’t.

Tombo, 34

A dragonfly touches down
Leaves a few circles growing
In the water …

Tombo, 27

Winter moonlight;
Between the house and the barn
the untracked snow.

Snowflakes, 17

Burnt-out beach fire;
Rinds of a watermelon
among the ashes.

A Flight of Herons, 30

     

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

 

2006, Dr. Randy Brooks• Millikin University
last updated 8/16/01 • about this web site