Like a crystal…the Haiku shows us some important aspects of our human world gathered together and reflected as if in one brief sparkling flash. ~ Br. David Steindl-Rast

In our experience, poetry speaks to the very heart of grateful living. Through reading and sharing poetry we find ourselves moved by the world and its wonders in ways that can be profound and hard to articulate. Poetry, like gratefulness, inhabits us, brings the world alive, and directs our attention to the ordinary as extraordinary. When we let ourselves observe and listen, we find words and surprising combinations of words that did not occur to us before.

As haiku poet Tom Clausen says, “To be a poet one should be somewhat a mix of detective and a reporter … looking for clues and reporting on the under-reported news of the day.” Living gratefully, we too are invited to be attentive — to notice and bring to light “the under-reported news” of our observations, experiences, moments.

April is National Poetry Month in the U.S., encouraging us to invite you to explore poetry as practice — this time in the form of haiku.

Br. David Steindl-Rast loves haiku. He writes, “The Japanese Haiku is a poem of such subtlety that it defies translation, let alone imitation in any other language. It has become customary, however, to call poetic flashes inspired by the Japanese form, “haiku”, in English too. The best among them capture a moment of intense awareness; they awake your senses. No comment by the poet; simply one given moment which is fully – and thus gratefully – perceived.”

Over the years Br. David has crafted countless haiku, some in calligraphy, which is common to the Japanese form. “Japanese haiku are calligraphy as much as they are poems. They are meant to be read with the eyes, not to be read aloud. The way they look on the page is part of the poet’s art.”

The way [haiku] look on the page is part of the poet’s art.

With the guidance of Tom Clausen, recently cited in Poetry Matters as “one of the most original and respected contemporary poets writing haiku in English,” along with Br. David’s sublime and instructive reflections on haiku and gracefully rendered calligraphy, we invite you to join us in an 8-day exploration of haiku as gratefulness practice.

Haiku have the potential to add incremental happiness and feelings of connection and well-being in the sense that to write haiku we must be open to observe and accept what we witness as natural poetry happening anytime, everyplace, all the time. ~ Tom Clausen

Please note that no prior experience is necessary since writing haiku is less about the final product and more about the joy that is discoverable in seeing with “fresh eyes” and experimenting with new forms of creative expression and spiritual practice. You need not consider yourself a “Writer” to benefit from this practice, and we will provide tips each day to help inspire your exploration.

Registration for this practice is now closed. Please do stay in touch to learn about future practices.