Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Winter 2006, vol 4 no 4


George Swede

Featured Poet: George Swede


In the foreword to the third edition of The Haiku Anthology (W.W. Norton), poet /editor Cor van den Heuvel writes "George Swede is the funniest haiku poet who ever lived. I'm sure his senryu would be the envy of great comedy writers like Woody Allen or Mel Brooks if they were aware of them."

George Swede won First Prize in the Snapshot Press Tanka Collection Competition 2005 for First Light, First Shadows. It will be published in Fall 2006 and will be Swede's 31st collection.

His column Tracks in the Sand appears regularly in Simply Haiku. He lives in downtown Toronto with his wife, Anita Krumins.


Thick fog lifts —
unfortunately, I am where
I thought I was

At the edge of the precipice    I become logical

peering into
the deep well, two boys
talk about girls

shelves full of books
we'll never read again
I dust them anyway

A sigh from her
then one from me —
two pages turn

in her large blue eyes I make a small impression

fly on its nose
the mirror face
just stares

hiding somewhere in this room a good idea

I put the pillow
on my head . . .now my thoughts
are too loud

in a nightmare
unable to breathe
I swim out
through my eyes

airport lounge
a Muslim man prays toward
the emergency exit

alone at last
i wonder where
everyone is

George Swede



"Thick fog lifts" and "A sigh from her" from Frogpond XX/2, copyright 1997 by George Swede.

"At the edge" from A Snowman, Headless, Fiddlehead, copyright © 1979 by George Swede.

"peering into" from The Heron¹s Nest, copyright © 2005 by George Swede.

"shelves full of books" from Mainichi Daily News, copyright © 2002 by George Swede.

"in her large blue eyes" from Uguisu, copyright ©1978 by George Swede.

"hiding" from Poetry Nippon, copyright © 1978 by George Swede.

"I put the pillow" from High/Coo, copyright © 1978 by George Swede.

"in a nightmare" from Gusto, copyright © 1978 by George Swede.

"airport lounge" from Modern Haiku, copyright © 2002 by George Swede.

"alone at last" from Modern Haiku XXV/2, copyright © 1994 by George Swede.

All poems published by permission of the author.