Tag Archives: North Coast Open Studios

The other end of the paintbrush

river landscape with haiku

Humboldt County is famous for two things: its magical old-growth redwood forests and perhaps equally magical marijuana. But there is a lesser-known feature that makes this area unique: it has more working artists per capita than any other part of California. Each year in June, some 150 Humboldt artists open their studio doors to the public as part of North Coast Open Studios. Earlier this month, it was my pleasure to be part of the “Seven in Samoa” group that hosted visitors the first Read more

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Celebrating Haiku Poetry Day

cow in pasture with haiku

Popping up in the middle of National Poetry Month, today is International Haiku Poetry Day. To mark the occasion, here is a smorgasbord of haiku I’ve published this past year. Enjoy! gentle rain I remind my mother to buckle up tendrils of fog I follow a thread back into the dream understory no punctuation in her text message beach vacation every night between the sheets a little more sand sunlit pond the cattails chirping thin ice the windshield crack lengthens Indian Read more

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Resistance is fertile

painting of daffodils with haiku

It seems like an eon ago when I last wrote, in the final days of the Obama presidency. I was anxious about putting my political opinions out in this forum, not knowing how many others shared my views about the dark turn our democracy has taken. I needn’t have worried. Aside from four unsubscribes, the response I got was overwhelmingly positive. And nationwide, starting with the Women’s Marches that drew a remarkable 1% of the US population to the streets, the resistance to the Trump agenda Read more

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Before we were tamed

painting of red fox

For the past twenty years, my family and I have lived in the country on the side of a redwood-covered hill. In the morning the woods fill with bird conversations, and we often glimpse deer and foxes wandering past our house. A raccoon that hung around our compost pile got nicknamed Deke, short for “decomposition.” But when “he” showed up one day trailing four fluffy baby raccoons, we had to rename her Delilah. Because we don’t have the heart to chase them off, Delilah and her grown Read more

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Juicy bugs and other treats

three chickens with haiku

Happy Haiku Poetry Day! To celebrate, I’m sharing a selection of the haiku and senryu I’ve had published in the past year. (And if, like most people, you were taught that haiku in English need to follow the 5-7-5 syllable pattern, think again. On his Graceguts site, haiku poet Michael Dylan Welch explains why that is an urban myth, and the secrets of how to write good haiku.)

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Adoption journey

palm trees from below with haiku

As I shared in my last post, in April I flew to the Marshall Islands with my sister Yuri to help her adopt a baby. After changing planes in Hawaii and flying across the international date line, we landed in Majuro, on a spit of land so narrow it appeared we were landing right in the Pacific. adoption journey we fly into tomorrow On the ride into town, on the atoll’s single road, we tried to take it all in: the coconut palms; the brown-skinned children swimming in the lagoon; the jumbled Read more

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On a wing and a prayer

monarch butterflies in flight

Yokwe! I am writing from the Marshall Islands, a tiny atoll nation in Micronesia, roughly between Hawaii and the Philippines. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry: it’s the fifth least visited country in the world, barely ahead of Somalia. But you have to love a country where the main greeting, “yokwe,” means “hello,” “goodbye,” “love,” and “you are a rainbow.” I’m here for a couple of weeks to help my sister Yuri adopt a baby boy. It’s an incredible, heart-expanding Read more

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Everyday poetry

painting of wild playful dog with haiku

Four years ago, if you had told me I would become a haiku poet, I would have mentally rolled my eyes. Back then I never read poetry, much less wrote it. The long, obscure poems I came across in the pages of the New Yorker seemed like far too much work to decipher, so I would skip them (to be honest, I still do). As for haiku, I was vaguely familiar with the form, but had not written one since elementary school (something about a deer in the woods, or was that my cinquain?).

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Scent of Mint

painting of mint plant with haiku

Summer is almost upon us! Here in Arcata, California, between the redwoods and the sea, the temperature stays fairly constant year-round. A typical summer’s day is cool and foggy until mid-afternoon, when the temperature might “soar” into the high 60s. Still, we Pacific Northwest dwellers rejoice in the coming of summer, and all the leaping growth and expansion of this time. Enjoy, and don’t forget to stop and smell the mint! • If you live in the Humboldt area, please join four other artists Read more

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Ukiah Backwards

painting of lavender and honeybees with haiku

Ukiah is a small town nestled in a beautiful valley in Mendocino County, California. It is surrounded by oak-covered hills and rolling vineyards that turn gold and scarlet in the fall.

I lived in nearby Redwood Valley during high school and have been visiting family there for three decades. I learned to drive on those back roads, lurching along in our red 1971 VW bus with the “Go Solar, It’s Hot” and “Up Yurts” bumper stickers.

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