Celebrating Holy Week with Christian haiku
This column documents the start of my look into Christian haiku, even though English language haiku has proliferated, more often practitioners are aiming for the "haiku moment" found in Eastern aesthetics. There are some, however, like Roman Catholic priests Fr. Michael Doyle and Fr. Raymond Roseliep, who Haiku Foundation founder Jim Kacian calls a "haiku pioneer." Kacian says Roseliep's work is "not only infused with Christian ethos, but also evinces the reasonable doubts that thinking people may have in relationship with faith."
I got these suggestions in a Facebook conversation back in December from people who were kind enough to offer advice as I started the journey. Dan Schwerin was also recommended. Schwerin is a Minister of Administration at the First United Methodist Church Waukesha, according to the Haiku Society of America's website.
Someone I have first-hand knowledge of is Carlos Colón, AKA Haiku Elvis. I love seeing him at each Haiku North America conference, where the sideburned poet in a jumpsuit has become a common sight, but Colón also has his own Twitter presence, @HaikuCatholic1. This is where he shares his Christian haiku. Here are some examples of his work.
red to green the light above the confessional
Published in RAW NerVZ HAIKU VI.1 (1999) as part of "Parallel Lines," (a linked haiku written with Marlene Mountain).
a stained glass
the sound of a frond
Published in The Heron's Nest XI.2 (2009).
walking on water the shadow of a lost sheep
Published in Lynx XIV.2 (1999) as part of "Walking on Water" (a linked poem written with Jim McMillan).
I have long been corresponding with Ellen Grace Ollinger, who uses the art as gospel as well. Here are a couple of her poems:
wait to bloom
sometimes by sight
in my life of faith
apple trees in bloom
Published in Time Of Singing (Spring 2014).
The ranks of Christian haiku poets are growing. If you have others to recommend, send me an email. In the meantime, you can buy "Raymond Roseliep: Man of Art Who Loves the Rose" by Donna Bauerly in The Haiku Foundation gift shop for a $50 donation.
• • •