More About the Author
I discovered my love of writing while editing the student newspaper and then the yearbook at Pandora-Gilboa High School in Ohio. Even though I won a prestigious state contest and scholarship in science, I enrolled in Bluffton College to study art and literature. Thinking I wanted to be a journalist, I transferred to Ohio State University in Athens, Ohio, but after one semester found out I lack the aggressiveness needed for that profession. I returned to Bluffton, and literature, and to marriage. In my junior year I had my first child and then two more children over the next three years. At Reedley Junior College in California I was able to return to night school and I even went on to Fresno State trying to piece together a degree, a family, and my job as Occupational Therapist at Kings View Hospital - a church-run psychiatric facility.
Over the next twenty years I wrote free-lance articles for everything from Mennonite Church papers for children to art and gay magazines in Germany. In the late 1970s I rediscovered haiku, Japanese culture, and a love of small books. After a divorce and remarriage in Germany I returned to the States and in 1987 started the magazine, Mirrors - An International Forum for Haiku. Through this I also discovered the Japanese poetry forms of renga and tanka. At the same time I switched my company from Humidity Productions and art films to AHA Books in order to concentrate on books of poetry. My daughter made the comment; "Give her enough candy wrappers and she will make a book out of them" was not far from the truth.
In 1990 I started the first tanka contest in English and continued publishing the winning poems in chapbooks as Tanka Splendor for the next twenty years. From 1991 - 92 I edited and published the monthly journal Geppo for the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society. Later in 1992 my husband Werner Reichhold and I took on the publication of Lynx, a magazine that started out as APA-Renga, which we still co-edit. We have expanded the range of poetry forms to include all Japanese-inspired genres with an emphasis on collaborations and sequences. In 1995 I began a website, AHApoetry.com, to teach and publish poetry in haiku, tanka, renga, haibun, ghazals, and sijo. In 2005 I was able to set up an online program of fora as AHAforum that continues the teaching functions.
During my trip to Japan in 1998, at the invitation of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to the New Year's Poetry Party - Utakai Hajime - at the Imperial Palace, I met Hatsue Kawamura who was then editor of The Tanka Journal in Tokyo. Over the next eight years we translated and published the tanka poems of Fumi Saito, Akiko Baba, Fumiko Nakajo, and Murasaki Shikibu. Stone Bridge Press of Berkeley published A String of Flowers, Untied: Love Poems from the Tale of Genji in which, for the first time, the tanka in this classic were set in the now accepted five-line form.
Kodansha International Publishing of Tokyo requested that I write a handbook for teaching Japanese poetry genres which became Writing and Enjoying Haiku in 2002. The book has also been translated into Russian. In 2008 Kodansha then published Basho The Complete Haiku containing my translations of all of the single poems by this Haiku Master.
My own books published in the last two years include Ten Years Haikujane - haiku published in the local weekly newspaper, Scarlet Scissors Fire - experiments with the tanka form, A Film of Words - inter-genre poetry with Werner Reichhold that blurs the lines between forms, and Circus Forever - haiku and tanka with the pen and ink drawings of Hans-Peter Goettche of Berlin, Germany.
Werner and I live high on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean somewhere between Point Arena and Gualala, California.