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The Heron’s Nest


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Welcome to the Heron’s Nest

where tradition and innovation meet ...
and complement each other

Paper Subscription

We are now accepting orders for Volume XI, the fifth annual paper edition of The Heron’s Nest. It will be a perfect-bound book containing the quarterly web issues of 2009 in their entirety. It will also include the results of the Readers’ Choice Awards voting for Heron’s Nest haiku published in 2009. The annual paper edition will be shipped early in April of 2010. The cost is $17 in the United States, u.s.$19 in Canada or Mexico, and u.s.$21 elsewhere. Please make checks or money orders payable in U.S. funds to John Stevenson and send to:

The Heron’s Nest
John Stevenson, Ed.
P. O. Box 122
Nassau, NY 12123


It is our intention to present haiku in which the outward form of each poem has been determined by two important elements. The primary element is the poetic experience, faithfully and uniquely evoked in words. The second element helps to shape the first; it is the poet's knowledge and respect for traditional haiku values. When well balanced these elements result in work that is distinctively and unmistakably haiku. 

"Poetic experiences" are those which inspire us to express ourselves creatively. "Haiku values" are the traditional underpinnings, both Japanese and Western, by which haiku sensibility has evolved into what it is today, and which will continue to shape haiku traditions in the future. There are many ideals equated with each of the various haiku forms. No one poem can embody all, or even a majority of these ideals. Each of us must decide for ourselves what is important in the writing and appreciating of haiku. To help you decide whether or not to submit your work, we'd like you to know the qualities we regard as important to haiku. 


We welcome both modern, freestyle haiku, and haiku that adhere to a syllabic structure of 5-7-5 with the inclusion of a seasonal reference. To me, it is far more important for a poem to embody the spirit of haiku than for it to cleave to a particular pat form. Certainly form is important; each expression of an experience demands one. It's up to the poet to find the form that fits. 

 Although we enjoy senryu immensely, we wish to focus on haiku. There are, of course, poems that fall into a gray area between the two genres. I'm sure we'll select some of these if the spirit in them seems in keeping with our ideals. 

We are not accepting renku, haibun or tanka at this time. 

Here are some qualities we find essential to haiku: 

  • Present moment magnified (immediacy of emotion) 
  • Interpenetrating the source of inspiration (no space between observer and observed) 
  • Simple, uncomplicated images 
  • Common language 
  • Finding the extraordinary in "ordinary" things 
  • Implication through objective presentation, not explanation: appeal to intuition, not intellect 
  • Human presence is fine if presented as an archetypical, harmonious part of nature (human nature should blend in with the rest of nature rather than dominate the forefront) 
  • Humor is fine, if in keeping with "karumi" (lightness) - nothing overly clever, cynical, comic, or raucous 
  • Musical sensitivity to language (effective use of rhythm and lyricism)
  • Feeling of a particular place within the cycle of seasons

Thank you for coming to The Heron’s Nest. We hope you enjoy what you find and share what you have. 

John Stevenson