May 23, 2018

In Memoriam

Poets in Memoriam

Jean Hale (1928-2018)

Jean Hale, beloved Yuki Teikei GEPPO editor, died on November 8, 2018. She served twice as editor: 1987–1988 and 1993–2009. In addition to her editorial skills, we will miss her sharp wit and wry sense of humor.

the crows
omnipresent
and not a bit christmassy

Edith Shiffert (1916-2017)

The well-known poet and scholar, Edith Shiffert, a long-time friend of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society died recently at the age 101 in Kyoto. The New York Times has published an obituary. Edith was very kind to many haiku poets visiting Kyoto. The photograph below shows her with YTHS poets on a 1997 visit to the tomb of Buson, whose work she translated.


Left to right: Kiyoko Tokutomi, June Hopper Hymas, Edith Shiffert, D. Claire Gallagher, Alex Benedict, Minoru Sawano (Edith’s husband), Alice Benedict, Lynn Leach, Patricia Machmiller. Photo by Patrick Gallagher.


William Henry Peckham, Jr. (1938-2017)

Bill Peckham, long-time member of YTHS since 1998, passed away at the age of 79 from acute leukemia. He wrote lyric poetry, sonnets and haiku, and enjoyed attending our annual retreats at Asilomar as well as many of our monthly meetings. He also was a member of the Mensa Society.

Bill grew up in Poughkeepsie, NY and began his career in computer programming at IBM in that area. In 1972, IBM transferred him to the California branch as he was one of their top programmers. His wife, Joan, and daughter, Jennifer, joined him. While in California, he had a second daughter, Barbara. In his free time he enjoyed fishing, target practice and being with family. He retired from IBM after 25 years. Notably Bill was very active in his church: he led a homeless meal program; always volunteered in the nursery on Mother’s Day; and sang in the choir for many years. He also was a member of the West Bay Opera Chorus. He was proud of 24 years of sobriety, volunteered on the 24-hr AA hotline night shift, and loved to work with the Al-anon programs focusing on the needs of children living in alcoholic homes.

He started writing long poetry in his sixties, but once he discovered haiku, it became his favorite form. In his later years Bill experienced failing health and struggled with memory loss. Despite his challenges, he inspired many of us with his positive attitude, determination to stay involved, and sense of humor. He loved his family, enjoyed time with his grandchildren, and continued to be active in his church, all the while keeping daily contact with his sponsor. He was a man of exceptional brilliance who was committed to community service, acquired a strong faith in his higher power, and touched many lives with his big heart and generous spirit. Here are two of his haiku:

hazy moon—tongue-tied
he sings of his love, then she
joins in a duet
water lilies bob
on tremulous ripples in
the wake of goslings

On Jan 27, 2018 several YT members attended the Celebration of Life for Bill, held at Trinity Church, Campbell: Betty Arnold, Toni Homan, Patricia Machmiller and Carol Steele. Patricia and Betty shared their memories of Bill and alternated reading a series of his haiku. They were warmly received by Bill’s family, pastor and friends.


Jane Reichhold (1937-2016)

It is with great sadness we report the passing of Jane Reichhold. She was a great friend to YTHS and to the world of haiku. In 1991 when Yuki Teikei needed someone to take over the editorship of GEPPO, Jane very generously volunteered; she served as editor until 1993.

Jane was born Janet Styer in Lima, Ohio. Over forty books of her haiku, renga, tanka, and translations have been published. Her latest book by Kodansha USA, was Bashō: The Complete Haiku. Another recent book was A Dictionary of Haiku, Second Edition, containing about 5,000 haiku which is available through Amazon.com. As founder and editor of AHA Books, Jane also published Mirrors: International Haiku Forum, and she co-edited with her husband, Werner Reichhold, Lynx for Linking Poets from 1992–2014. Lynx went online in 2000 on AHApoetry.com, the website Jane started in 1995. For many years she and Werner resided near Gualala, California.

Jane was a creative, exuberant, and prolific writer; here are a few of her many haiku from From the Dipper . . . Drops, Humidity Productions (Gualala CA, 1983):

no guests today                   In the spring sunshine
   a fly swatter lies across         the strangeness of his perfectly
        the Sunday papers                 normal thumbnail

In my garden                           Caught on a grape leaf
   the apples on this still bent tree     enough raindrops to water
      are still not mine.                    a sparrow

floating islands carry                 the sum           mer’s heat
their own clouds of mist            swallowed up       by the gap
migrating whales                            in the   watermelon

Friends of Jane shared these haiku:

shocked by her death              legendary             golden rose
a friend I longed to know—   their love for each other  on a broken stem
mid-summer fog                 Altair and Vega          lingering fragrance

 Carolyn Fitz                 Patricia J. Machmiller     Eleanor Carolan

2015 HNA Poets

At every biennial HNA meeting there is a session memorializing poets who have died since the last meeting. This year there were many names of people well known and dear to YTHS members. After the formal presentation there was an opportunity for audience members to call out names of poets who had earlier passed away.

The presentation was backed by an evocative cello solo written by Hillary Tan, one of the meeting organizers. Jim Kacian has placed the memorial on line. Watch it below.

Teruo Yamagata (1932-2015)

It is with profound sadness we report that Teruo Yamagata, born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1932, the President of the Yukuharu Haiku Society of Japan, and a long-time member of Yuki Teikei Haiku Society passed away on February 16, 2015 in Tokyo. As an engineer for IHI, Yamagata often traveled to the Bay Area where he meet with Kiyoko and Kiyoshi Tokutomi, founders of YTHS. He had the privilege of studying English under R. H. Blythe in 1948. He was awarded the Yukuharu SOSHUN Prize in 1977. He touched many lives in the haiku world, both in Japan and America. An article about Mr. Yamagata, that appeared in Above the Clouds, the 2013 Members’ Anthology, written by Patricia Machmiller, can be found here. YTHS has also honored Mr. Yamagata with his own Haiku Poets’ Page.


D. Claire Gallagher (1941 – 2009)

D. Claire Gallagher, extraordinary haiku poet and friend to many in the haiku community, passed away at home, surrounded by family, on Friday, July 17, 2009. Surviving her are her husband Patrick Gallagher, also a haiku poet, and loving children and grandchildren.

Claire became interested in haiku in 1991 after reading Wes Nisker’s commentary on haiku in his book Crazy Wisdom. Later she attended a meeting of the Haiku Poets of Northern California (HPNC) and quickly became active in that group, the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, and the Haiku Society of America, and remained so till the end of her life. She served for some years as HSA Regional Coordinator for Northern California. She was co-editor of Mariposa, the haiku journal of HPNC, from its inception in 1999 until 2007. She served on the editorial staff of the Red Moon Anthology.

Claire was a frequent attender and contributor to local and national haiku conferences. Her haiku were published in numerous journals and anthologies and won or placed in many contests in the USA and abroad. Among her honors were a First Place in the 2007 HSA Harold Henderson haiku contest and Second Place in the 1998 HSA Gerald Brady senryu contest, as well as top honors in the HPNC San Francisco International contests, the Snapshot Press Calendar Awards, the NLAPW Poetry Contest, the British Haiku Society’s Hackett Award Contest, and the Yuki Teikei Society’s Tokutomi Memorial Contest. As winner of the Virgil Hutton manuscript contest, her chapbook How Fast the Ground Moves, was published in 2001 by Saki Press. A collection of her haiku, The Nether World, was published in 2009 by Red Moon Press. Claire contributed significantly to the organization and content of the Yuki Teikei’s San Francisco Bay Area Nature Guide and Saijiki, and the book is dedicated in her memory.

Claire’s career included incarnations as a potter, educator, radio journalist, technical writer, and volunteer coordinator for a nature conservation agency. In addition to reading and writing haiku, which contributed to her living “more mindfully and more heartfully,” among the joys and talents that enriched her life were hiking and travel, gardening, ikebana, collage, Chinese brush painting, and time with her family and friends. She was always keenly aware of the world of natural wonders around her, and she delighted in sharing her excitement and knowledge with friends and family, most especially with her grandchildren. YTHS has also honored Claire with her own Haiku Poets’ Page.