Monday, April 9, 2018

H is for Haiku: Happy National Poetry Month!

Happy Book Birthday tomorrow to Amy Losak and, posthumously, Sydell Rosenberg, Amy's mother. Amy has worked long and tirelessly to honor her mother's desire to publish a children's book of haiku--and now it's here! Penny Candy Books proudly releases H is for Haiku: a Treasury of Haiku from A to Z by Sydell Rosenberg, illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi on April 10!

I featured Amy last April here, and she offered an update below. 

Why haiku, Amy?

I started on this unusual journey several years ago, thanks to my mom, Sydell Rosenberg, a teacher and charter member of the Haiku Society of America and served as secretary in 1975. HSA was founded in New York in 1968. This year, it celebrates its 50th anniversary. I’m a member now, as well.

Mom wrote haiku and senryu for a long time – I think about 30 years. Mom also studied the art and craft of these forms. She published her first haiku in 1967, I believe, in a journal titled, American Haiku. Over the years, her work (not just poetry, but also short stories, word and literary puzzles, and more) was published in a variety of media, including journals and anthologies. Her senryu even was featured in a novel public art project called Haiku On 42nd Street in 1994. Short poems were displayed on the marquees of old movie houses in the heart of New York City.

Tell us how H is for Haiku came to be.

Despite her accomplishments as a writer, Syd very much wanted to publish a kids’ book: a haiku A-B-C reader. She started submitting at least one manuscript to publishers in the 1980s – perhaps even in the 1970s. Years after she passed away in 1996, I picked up where she left off.

Along the way, I did other things to bring her “city haiku” (as she called her work in the classic 1974 text, The Haiku Anthology) to the public, especially kids. Among several projects, I have partnered for several years with a New York nonprofit arts education organization, Arts For All. Mom's haiku have been used in a Bronx and Queens public school to teach the basics of painting, drawing and collage; music; and theater. I view mom’s haiku as miniature stories, in a way, with characters and plots – and many have a lively, appealing visual quality. They pair well with other art forms.

But the ultimate goal has been the book. 

          "This is a dream come true,
          at last – not only for my mom,
          but her family."

                             Syd Rosenberg and her daughter, Amy (photo submitted by Amy)

Wonderful haiku poetry is being written today around the world. It truly is a global, diverse – and very generous -- community.

If you want to learn more about haiku, there is a wealth of online and social media resources available. So I hope you will haiku, too. Enjoy!

Congratulations, Amy, on the release of H is for Haiku! Readers, I'm featuring some of Amy's and Syd's haiku on April 17, International Haiku Poetry Day. You'll want to stop by and enjoy! 


  1. Congrats, Amy! So exciting to see this very special project come to fruition. You rock!

  2. So happy for this project to reach more people. What a wonderful way to celebrate two talent - Mother and daughter. Congrats, Amy.

  3. Thank you Jane, for sharing Amy's story about her journey to carry on her mother's wish to have her poetry reach children. Thank you Amy, for inspiring us to push forward. I look forward to the release of H is for Haiku!

  4. Michele, I owe you, Jane and many people my deep gratitude and thanks. What a wonderful, loving community!