Summing up 2016

I’m not really a person who likes to look back or dwell on the past much. Like everything, this has pros and cons. Often I forget to celebrate and enjoy achievements in my quest to rush forward. This is a shame and I am trying to better myself by stopping and enjoying the moment and occasionally focus on the things that I have managed to do, rather than the ones I have yet to. Taking stock, it feels both self indulgent and good to sum up the year, entirely from the perspective of my haiku work.

2016 was the year in which I was finally established as a haiku writer, something I have been working towards for over five years. Since i began to publish my work in 2013, I have never been given so many awards and honours or had so many published poems in journals in one year.

The biggest achievement of the year was of course my first poetry collection in English. Lifedeathetc/livdödetc was published by Red Moon Press in Virginia, USA. It is a bilingual haiku collection in three parts. My publisher, Jim Kacian came up with the fantastic title, (the working title was Transitions) and taught me the benefits of cutting down. In fact, the script originally had four parts to begin with: Life, death, planet and people. But the eco-poetry section and senryu were combined into one, minimizing the number of poems to only the very best ones. In many ways lifedeathetc is my first collection, as my Swedish manuscripts, in hindsight, were let off much too lightly.

In 2016, I received the Judges Award in the ITO EN Oi Ocha New Haiku Contest. It was a particular honour as the poem was picked out by the famous poet Tsunehiku Hoshino among over 17,000 ones. I also had a winning poem in The Calendar Competition arranged by Snapshot Press in the UK and a second place in the Polish International Haiku Competition. My poems received honourable mentions in the Ukiah haiku contest, the 4th International Matsuo Basho Award, the 70th anniversary of honorable Basho Awards and my submissions were named a commended poem in Sharpening the Green Pencil and a runner up in the Golden Triangle Haiku Contest. I was also mentioned as a distinguished poet, in the European Haiku Awards, which means that my poem will be featured in the contest anthology. I was also included in the Euro Top 100 list of most creative haiku writers.

I was published in six different anthologies (although this is difficult to count, as many of the journals, such as Skylark are just as big as any book and the contest anthologies vary in size and finish). The three first were the annual Red Moon Press anthology of English Language “Galaxy of Dust”, Heart Breaths: Book of contemporary haiku, by Cyberwit and the HSA members anthology. I was also included in the contest anthologies of ITO EN Oi Ocha New Haiku Contest, Sharpening the Green Pencil and 70th Basho Awards.

During the year I have published 78 haiku, and had 37 haiku re-published and work translated into German, Italian, Japanese, Romanian and Chinese (other than Swedish and English). I had work in Modern Haiku, Acorn, Frogpond, Haiku Presence, Chrysanthemum, CinqueCetteCinque, The Lake, Daily Haiku, Hedgerow, Wild Plum, Cattails, Under the Basho, Failed Haiku, A Hundred Gourds, Blåeld, and Moon Bathing. And I was included in the Living Senryu Anthology. I had work republished in the World Haiku Anthology on the THF website, Charlotte Digregorio’s Daily haiku and Chen-Ou Liu’s Neverendingstory.

Marcus Liljedahl and I started to write renku together and our 20 verse Nijuin “Northern Lights” got an honourable mention in the Berhard Lionel Einbond Renku Contest which is organized by the Haiku Society of America.  We were also published with yotsumono, tan renga and longer renku in Haiku Presence, Skylark, Atlas Poetica, Frameless sky, Hedgerow, Chrysanthemum, Frogpond, Sonic Boom, Tiny Eords and A Hundred Gourds. Together, we have written and published close to 100 tan renga, yotsumono, shisan, junicho and nijuin.

I did a few readings, the most eventful being at the Gothenburg Book Fair, which is Scandinavias largest. To top it off, I was at the “författarscenen”, which is the author’s unions own stage. Marcus joined me on stage, and we read “Northern Lights” in public, which was much fun. I have also carried out a number of haiku workshops, including at the East-Asian museum in Stockholm, and the city library in Kristianstad.

I also did my first photo-haiga, in collaboration with Chris Maris, my husband of 23 years. He is a cinematographer, but does take excellent stills too. We have had seven haiga published so far; in Haiga on-line, Hedgerow and Blåeld. The work continues.

I served as a board member of the Swedish Haiku Society and was part of the team starting Blåeld – the journal of the Swedish Haiku Society. There has been some teething-problems with it, but the result is good. There has been three issues so far, with a fourth printed one (of which I am not editor). Next year we will produce two editions of the digital publication. I was also on the election board of Författarcentrum, which is a non-profit organisation, in English called the Writers’ Centre.

In order to promote and sell Lifedeathetc, I have started participating in book fairs and was at Skånska bokmässan and Julbokmässan in Malmö. It has been a learning experience and I think that there may be scope to do more and better there…

My little blog has also been doing ok. I had hoped to exceed 10 000 views this year and reached 10,232. Over half were from Sweden, which is unusual and a definite sign that there is more interest here in my home country than before. In the top ten countries were also the United States, Italy, UK, Turkey, Russia, Denmark, India, Norway and Poland. I had visits from in total 66 countries, including Mongolia, Saudi Arabia and Trinidad & Tobago.

I don’t know quite how I can top 2016, but I will start planning for 2017 and see where it takes me… Wishing you all a happy new year!





About Anna Maris

I am a Swedish haiku poet. This blog is about my haiku life.

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