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Haiku in Romania

Romanians became acquainted with haiku after diplomatic contacts had been initiated between Romania and Japan in 1902. A study of tanka and haiku by I. Cyprian appeared in 1904, followed in 1911 by poet Alexandru Vlahuță’s essay “Japanese Poetry and Painting,” featuring tanka and haiku translated from the French. The first haiku written in Romanian—four verses by Alexandru Macedonski—date from 1920, while twelve haiku by Alexandru T. Stamatiad appeared in 1935. Haiku flourished in Romania from 1989 onwards, after the fall of the totalitarian regime. The Romanian Haiku Society was founded in Bucharest in 1991, with a number of local groups and societies being established afterwards.

Precursons / Affinities

The Romanian doina, an improvised, solemn, and lyrical folkloric song, is sometimes seen as a form similar to haiku:

Doină, doină, cântec dulce 
Când te-aud nu m-aș mai duce. 

Doina, doina, my sweet song
When I listen to you, I would not run along1

Echoing the practice of composing, editing, and reciting haiku in groups, Romanian doina poets, while avoiding ornamentation in their poetry, take inspiration from nature and the seasons. Unlike haiku, however, doina always rhyme.

Two great Romanian poets, Vasile Alecsandri (1821–1890) and Alexandru Macedonski (1854–1920) were influenced by Asian poetry. Alecsandri, having read Chinese poetry in French translation while working as a diplomat in Paris, by the end of his life had written the masterpiece, Pastels (1862), in which he introduced a new poetical genre in Romanian literature, the “pastel” (suggesting the graphic medium) inspired by Chinese nature poetry and Japanese haiku.

Macedonski, who likewise had discovered Japanese literature while in Paris, wrote several poems inspired by Japan, although he never collected them into a volume. Macedonski’s preferred poetic form, the rondel, is also a short poem. His masterpiece, Poema rondelurilor (The Poem of the Rondels), published posthumously in 1925, contains more poems about Japanese civilization and art, including “Rondelul apei din ograda japonezului” (The Water Rondel from the Japanese Yard), “Rondelul marii japoneze” (The Rondel of the Japanese Sea), and “Rondelul crizantemei” (Chrysanthemum Rondel) and seven others.

In 1936 the poet Ion Pillat, mindful of Japanese haiku, created a new genre as short and concentrated as haiku, presented in one line as is the Japanese form, which he published in his book Poeme într-un vers (The One-line Poems). In his foreword Pillat wrote that the one-line poem, although it resembles haikai, is different from it: the one-line poems have a title; they consist of 13 or 14 syllables (with the typically very short title increasing the count to 17), and often contain an implied caesura marked by punctuation or a blank space. Thematically, these one-line poems are concerned with nature: plants, animals, mountains, sea, weather, forests, fire, and the like.

In his 1988 lecture “One-line Pillatian Poem and Nippon Haiku,” Florin Vasiliu, a haiku scholar and Romanian diplomat who had been posted in Tokyo for a number of years, stated: “The less the poet has written, the more the reader has to read. A long poem can be read in a hurry, each verse helping to understand and enjoy the next one. But a single verse is to be read slowly. The letters are read quickly, but the telegram stops us.” Two examples of Pillat’s one-liners:

Poemul într-un vers
Un singur nai, dar câte ecouri în păduri …

One-line poem
Only one panpipe, but how many echoes in the wood …
Artă poetică
Nu vorbele, tăcerea dă cântecului glas.

Ars Poetica
Not the words, the silence gives voice to the song.

In 2001, in tribute to Pillat, Ștefan Gh. Theodoru, bridging the short distance between the Pillatian monostiches and more contemporary one-line haiku (which he called “liners”), produced the bilingual collection Soaptele nucului batrân: poeme într-un vers / The Whispers of the Old Walnut Tree: Romanian Liner.

Japanese Haiku and First Translations into Romanian

In 1878 the writer and scientist Bogdan Petriceicu Hașdeu (1838–1907), director of the State Archives, translated two tanka for Prince Carol I (the future king). They were gifts received from the Prince Nigata no Itu, with ideograms written on a special silk scroll. (Vasile Moldovan, “Haiku in Romania,” 2008.)

The earliest essay about tanka and haiku, the work of I. Cyprian, appeared in 1904 in the Iași-based journal Evenimentul literar (Literary Event) under the title “Poezie japoneză” (Japanese Poetry). In 1911 in By the Fireside the poet Alexandru Vlahuță (1858–1919) published the essay “Poezie și pictură japoneză” (Japanese Poetry and Painting), which featured tanka and haiku translated from French versions. In 1919 the poet George Voevdica (1893–1962) translated tanka from German and published them as Flori orientale (Oriental Flowers).

After a stay Japan between 1917 and 1922, Ioan Timuș (1890–1969), the first Romanian Japanologist, published Japonia, ieri și azi (Japan of Yesterday and Today) in 1942, for which he received the Grand Prix of the Romanian Academy (Marele Premiu al Academiei Române) in 1943.

Gheorghe Băgulescu (1886–1963), a Romanian ambassador to Japan, made many references to haiku in his writings, although he never composed haiku as such.2

Traian Chelariu, 1928

A preoccupation with the propagation of one-line poems went hand in hand with the appearance of translations from Japanese literature. The first haiku anthology in Romanian, a translation from German by the writer and poet Traian Chelariu, appeared under the title Suflet Nipon (Nippon Soul) in 1937 in the city of Cernăuți (now Chernivtsy, Ukraine). In his translations Chelariu strove to respect haiku poetics in Japanese as well as in German. All but one of his translated haiku follow the classic 5–7–5 syllabic pattern. This strict formality in the first haiku translation into Romanian has had a lasting influence on subsequent haiku poets, with the majority of them still writing in the classic pattern.

Eșarfe de mătase, 1943

In the midst of World War II, an anthology of tanka, Cântecele curtezanelor (1942; Japanese Courtesans’ Songs), translated from French, was published by Alexandru T. Stamatiad. This was followed by Eșarfe de mătase (1943; Silk Scarves), a volume of Japanese tanka and haiku by Bashō, Buson, Issa, and Shiki translated from French. Here he defined the haiku as follows: “In three [lines], comprising only 17 syllables, the poet sketches a landscape, highlights a picturesque detail or an emotion and sometimes he will mirror his soul.” Although it appeared at an unfavorable time for literature, Silk Scarves was well received by the general public as well as the critics. The novelty of reading Japanese verse in Romanian was so great that this anthology was honored with the highest cultural distinction of the time, Premiul Academiei Române (Romanian Academy Award) in 1936.

At this point there followed a hiatus in the reading and writing haiku owing to the adverse political climate in Romania after the war and during the entrenchment of the communist dictatorship. The door opened a crack in the 1970s permitting the publication of two anthologies of tanka and haiku translated from German. The editors of these anthologies were Ion Acsan, former honorary president of the Romanian Haiku Society (Societatea Română de Haiku), and Dan Constantinescu, who later published a Japanese-style box set of four miniature volumes of translations of haiku by Bashō, Buson, Issa, and Shiki. The poet and essayist Aurel Rău brought Japanese lyrics to Romanian readers in two books: În inima lui Yamato (1973; In the Heart of Yamato), and in Gutui japonez (1996; The Japanese Quince Tree). In 1974 Rău also translated one of Bashō’s travel journals and other classics of the genre.

Original Haiku in Romanian

Peisagii sentimentale, 1935

The first haiku written in Romanian were four verses by Alexandru Macedonski included in an unpublished manuscript dated 19203 Twelve haiku by Alexandru T. Stamatiad were included in the poetry anthology Peisagii sentimentale (1935; Tender Landscape).

The appearance of Acsan’s and Constantinescu’s tanka and haiku anthologies (in several editions) had a strong impact on poets in the 1970s, although very few people were comfortable writing haiku until after the Romanian revolution in 1989. Haiku was rejected and banned by the communist authorities, who considered it a subversive literary genre (owing to its proclivity for allusions and wordplay). As a result, the first works in Romanian had to be published outside the country.

Among the few who did write haiku during the communist regime were Marin Sorescu and Nichita Stănescu, both internationally acclaimed poets and candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Here is a haiku by Sorescu (trans. Radu Șerban):

Trec pe cer, în formă fixă 
Sonetele țăranilor. 
In the sky, in a fixed form
Peasant sonnets.

Haiku was just a temporary digression for Stănescu, his verses, which were not published in Romania, are characteristic of his style. One of the most suggestive is:

Dacă timpul / ar fi avut frunze, / ce toamnă!

If time had had leaves, what an autumn would have been!

A mild political liberalization in 1965 made possible something of a “lyric boom” in Romania. Poets writing haiku at the time included Maria Banuș (1914–1999), Virgil Teodorescu (1909–1987), George Tomozei (1936–1997), Cezar Baltag (1937-1997), Petre Ghelmez (1932–2001), and Ștefan Augustin Doinaș (1922–2002). A sample by Doinaș:4

O, ce nalt naufragiu! 
Singura luntre 
are vâsle de pene 
Oh, what a shipwreck!
The only boat
has feather oars

Alexandru Chiriac published Terține—În manieră niponă (Triplet: In the Japanese Manner), his volume of three-line haiku-like poems in 1983, and Vasile Smărăndescu published Cimitirul ploilor (The Cemetery of the Rains), which included 30 micro-poems in haiku style, in 1985.

Romanian Haiku’s Golden Age


The date March 19, 1991 marked another milestone, the foundation of the Romanian Haiku Society (Societatea Română de Haiku), the first association of haiku-lovers in the country. The nucleus of the society comprised the editorial board of Haiku Magazine, with 200 national members at the outset. Shortly thereafter, haiku enthusiasts started to get organized at the regional level as well, setting up local literary circles and societies. The first of these was the Constanța Haiku Society (Societatea de Haiku din Constanța) set up in 1992 by Ion Codrescu and his wife Mihaela Codrescu. In the same year the Codrescus founded the journal Albatros / Albatross and organized the 1st European Haiku Festival in the historical Black Sea port city. The two premier associations, the Romanian Haiku Society and the Constanța Haiku Society, affiliated with the Japan-based Haiku International Association (HIA) in 1992.

Nishiike Tousen, chair of the Himawari Haiku Association and a member of the Haiku international Association, delivers a speech at the Museum of Art in Constanța, Romania, 2018

Other regional haiku groups were soon established in Piatra Neamț, Cluj-Napoca, Arad, Satu Mare, Iași, and Târgoviște. As one example, in 1994 in the city of Slobozia, Șerban Codrin, a well known Japanese-short-form poet, founded a school for tanka, renga/renku, and haiku as well as two magazines, Orion and in 1996 Micul Orion (Little Orion), the latter dedicated exclusively to linked verse. In 2009, Codrin published an e-book, Haiku—o estetică interioară (Haiku: An Interior Aesthetic). His publications also include a haiku collection, Dincolo de tăcere (1994; Beyond the Silence) in Romanian, French, and English, and the tanka anthology Grădina Zen (2006; Zen Garden).

Yet another success was registered in 2002 when Ioan Găbudean founded a haiku club in Târgu Mureș, Transylvania, that he called Bucurii efemere (Ephemeral Joy). The group began with 11 charter members meeting in Găbudean’s home. By 2008 membership had extended to more than 85 and included haiku poets and aficionados from all over Romania. Members of the group availed themselves of the benefits of Găbudean’s publishing house and the magazine Orfeu, “the first magazine of Transylvanian haiku,” as Găbudean was proud to say, but one “that at first was viewed with distrust and even suspicion by some ‘grumblers.”5

Haiku magazines also appeared in towns like Târgoviște. Here Mihail I. Vlad and Florin Grigoriu edited în 2003 / 2004 “Jurnal de Haiku.” At one time nine haiku magazines and journals existed in Romania, but now most of the haiku publishing activity has gone online.

Journals and book publishing

Haiku immediately began to flourish in Romania after 1989, when the regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu was overthrown. Towards the end of that year, haiku scholar Florin Vasiliu, together with Brândușa Steiciuc published Interferențe lirice: constelația haiku (Lyrical Relationships: Haiku Constellation). Intended to provide a “foundation stone” for Romanian haiku, this was a complex, groundbreaking work interweaving literary history with the poetics of the genre, a guidebook for how to read and write haiku.

Revista Haiku de interferențe culturale româno-japoneze, 1990

In 1990, one year after Lyrical Relationships: Haiku Constellation, Vasiliu founded the first haiku magazine in Romania (and one of the first in Europe), Revista Haiku de interferențe culturale româno-japoneze (Haiku Magazine of Romanian-Japanese Relationships). In the beginning the editorial board included the prominent writer and poet and Romanian minister of culture Marin Sorescu, other well-known writers as Ion Acsan, Aurel Rău, Ștefan Aug. Doinaș and, Gabriel Stănescu. Haiku Magazine was printed quarterly in 8,000 copies, but more recently it has become biannual with a distribution of about 1,000 copies.

Vasiliu soon after edited a major haiku anthology, Umbra libelulei (1993; Shadow of the Dragonfly), and produced other seminal works on haiku history and technique, including a book-length essay in English, Paradoxism’s Main Roots that contained a section titled “The Paradox in Japan” dealing mainly with haiku.

With the growing popularity of the genre (reflected in the sprouting of local groups, societies and magazines), the year 1992 saw the setting up by Vasiliu of a dedicated publishing house in Bucharest, also named Haiku. For a decade, this printing house took the lead in publishing chapbooks of haiku and one-line poems, many of them printed in English and French as well as Romanian. A selection of the books from Editura Haiku are listed in the “Collections” section of the bibliography section below.

After Editura Haiku ceased operations, the poetess Cornelia Atanasiu founded a publishing house in Bucharest, Editura Atar, which published her poetry and that of Jules Cohn Botea, Vasile Moldovan, and others, as well as books on Romanian historical topics. 

The Chișinău-based magazine Limba română (Romanian Language) published the article “Haiku. Selecție de poeți japonezi și români” (Haiku: Selection of Japanese and Romanian Poets) with no author or translator named.

Ioan Găbudean founded and edited two magazines: Orfeu (Orpheus) and Bucurii efemere (Ephemereal Joy); the latter taking the name of Găbudean’s newly formed haiku group in Târgu Mureș and devoted to promoting the work of his students. He also founded Editura Ambassador, which has published nearly one hundred mini-chapbooks of haiku, senryu, and tanka as well as one-line poems in its Seria Poezie, many of them in English or French.

Ion Codrescu began his journal publication career in Constanța a year after Vasiliu. The bilingual Albatros: Revista Societatii de haiku din Constanța—România / Albatross: Magazine of the Constantza Haiku Society—Romania debuted in 1992, publishing in Romanian and English, as the editors claimed, haiku and related forms (senryu, haibun, renka, tanka, etc.) criticism, essays, book reviews, interviews, and news about haiku meetings and events from all over the world. Albatros / Albatross published eight issues, biannually at first, later annually, and finally biennially until winter 2001. Codrescu returned to publishing in 2004 with Hermitage: A Haiku Journal covering the same range of materials as Albatross but now in an elegant modern format and nearly all in English. Three annual issues were published.

Recent anthologies and collections

Several important haiku anthologies were published in the 1990s, including Florian Vasiliu’s Umbra libelulei (1993; Shadow of Dragonfly), Christian W. Schenk’s O sută de catarge: Microantologie de haiku a poetilor români (1997; One Hundred Masts: Microanthology of Haiku by Romanian Poets), and Caligrafiile clipei (Calligraphies of the Instant. București: Editura Vasile Cârlova, 1999), editor Cornelia Atanasiu, preface by Florin Vasiliu.

Other notable publications include Florin Vasiliu’s Tolba cu licurici (1993; Bag of Fireflies); Mioara Gheorghe’s Petale de lumină (1994; Petals of Light); Ștefan Teodoru’s Întâlnire în amurg / Recontre au crépuscule / Meeting in the Twilight (1994); and Duțu Nițu’s Literele pașilor (1994; Letters of the Steps). A verse from Nițu’s book:

Zorile dalbe … 
Sărutul soarelui 
pe fruntea nopții 
Glorious sunrise …
The warm kiss of the bright sun
on the night’s forehead

Children’s haiku

Haiku is taught in a number of Romanian schools, and schoolchildren are encouraged to enjoy and compose haiku and participate in international contests. For example, Ioan Găbudean is one of the enthusiasts teaching his pupils to compose haiku and publish booklets with their poems and drawings.

Following the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, children from Kawamata and Shimizu elementary schools sent drawings to their friends in Bucharest, as a token of thanks in return for pictures and encouraging letters they had received from the Romanian children. Showing the splendors of Japanese landscape and people, the images sent to Bucharest have inspired Romanian children to write haiku.

Romanian children enjoy participating in the World Children’s Haiku Contest organized by the JAL Foundation. For example, the 13th haiku contest in 2013–2014 focused on the theme of “Dreams,” and children from Romania were among 19,000 participants from 34 countries and regions. Haiku such as this one by Diana Gontila, age 11, were published in the contest volume, Impressions of Dreams:

I am home again 
the forest is my shelter 
in my dreams at night 
Sunt iar acasă
pădurea-i adăpostul meu
în visul deastă noapte

In 2014, in the 6th Yamadera Bashō Memorial Museum English Haiku Contest, the winner of Grand Prize in the Junior High School Student Division was Andreea Cîrligeanu of Botoșani for this haiku:

after the rain— 
in each puddle 
my mother’s face. 
după ploaie—
în fiecare băltoacă
chipul mamei

Haiku contests in Romania

In 2003 June on the initiative of Valentin Nicolițov and under the aegis of Haiku Magazine, the first international haiku contest in Romania was organized. Of the six prizes awarded to foreign poets, two went to Japanese poets Ogata Shinya and Natsuishi Ban’ya. The enthusiastic participation in this Romanian contest and the quality of the poems submitted convinced the organizers to publish a contest anthology in 2007 titled Greiri și crizanteme / Crickets and Chrysanthemums after the two prize-winning haiku:

Ultimul greier 
întârzie plecarea 

The last cricket
is delaying the departure
of the dying man

Eduard Țară, Romania
Soția bolnavă— 
cină simplă 
cu o crizantemă 

Wife ill—
simple supper
with a chrysanthemum

Ogata Shinya, Japan

This contest was still running in 2020.

Since 2007, the Romanian Haiku Society has been running an online monthly haiku contest, still ongoing in 2020. The award-winning poems were published in the annual online anthologies.

The Romanian Kukai Group sponsored the first annual Sharpening the Green Pencil haiku contest in 2012. Contest results are posted on the Sharpening the Green Pencil blog. A contest chapbook was published for the 2012 contest, and later e-chapbooks were produced and posted on the website. Curiously, no Romanian has won the top prize. That honor has gone to Artūras Šilanskas, Lithuania, 2012; Asni Amin, Singapore, 2013; Dorota Pyra, Poland, 2014; Roberta Beary, U.S.A., 2015; Archana Kapoor Nagpal, India, 2016; Stella Pierides, U.K. and Germany, 2017; Martha Magenta, U.K., 2019; and Sanela Plisko, Croatia, 2020.

Sharpening the Green Pencil haiku contest logo

Romanian Haikuists on the World Stage

Haiku in Transylvania

The Romanian region of Transylvania, under Hungarian control until after World War II and with a large Saxon (German) population, has also enjoyed a modicum of haiku activity. The ethnic Hungarian Dezideriu Horváth translated two books of haiku from Romanian into Hungarian: Roua cuvântului / Szóharmat: Haiku (2008; The Dew of the Word: Haiku) by poet and critic Victoria Milescu and Beszarábiai mozaik: 100 haiku vers (Bessarabian Mosaic: 100 Haiku Verses) (2008) by poet, author, and dramatist Mihai Prepeliță. Prepeliță here writes of his home territory, neighboring northern Bukovina:

Tutun și votcă 
Mesteceni în loc de tei 
Tobacco and vodka
Birches instead of linden

Recently haiku poet Réka Nyitrai, an ethnic Hungarian from Transylvania, has emerged into prominence, and for two years in a row she was named one of the European Top 100 Haiku Poets. Nyitrai writes in English in the contemporary gendai haiku style and publishes frequently on the internet:

twilight those words spoken by your hands

                                                                                                is/let, September 17, 2018
All Saints’ Day— 
all her aborted babies 

Ziua tuturor sfinților—
toți copiii ei avortați
luminați de candelă

#FemkuMag 6 (November 2018)

Among Transylvanian poets who write in German as well as Romanian, Christian W. Schenk was a cofounder of the Romanian Haiku Society and served on the editorial board of Haiku Magazine.

Haiku in Moldova

Romanian is the official language of the Republic of Moldova (the historical province called at times Moldavia, Bessarabia, and, until 1991, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic), which borders Romania on the east along the Prut River. Three remarkable haiku poets who write in Romanian are Moldovan: Ion Hadârcă, who is a leading politician and parliamentary deputy in Chișinau; Mihai Prepeliță (mentioned above); and Vasile Spinei.

Spinei is especially active; he has published nine collections of haiku in both Romanian and English. The following haiku exhibit a bittersweet quality common in Spinei’s work. The first is from his 1996 book Surâsul călugărului / The Monk’s Smile (translations by Mihaela Codrescu); the second is from Nu-mă-uita / Forget-me-not (2000; translations by Ion and Mihaela Codrescu):

sub tufa de liliac 
își socoate câștigul 

under a bush of lilac
the beggar counts
his coins
în poiana 
cu ni-mă-uita 
urmele dispar 
in the glade
full of forget-me-nots
the footprints disappear

Romanian haiku in other neighboring countries and abroad

Romanian and Hungarian haiku poets have made special efforts to interact and collaborate. This haiku friendship started at the 1st European Haiku Congress (Bad Neuheim, Germany, 2005), when Judit Vihar, the head of the Hungary–Japan Friendship Society, Laura Văceanu, president of the Haiku Society in Constanța, and Vasile Moldovan, then president of the Romanian Haiku Society in Bucharest, laid the foundations for future collaboration. Another main event was the World Haiku Festival (Pécs, Hungary, 2010), which was attended by a large Romanian delegation, including the presidents of both the major Romanian haiku organizations, Valentin Nicolițov and Laura Văceanu. One of the winners in the festival haiku contest was the Romanian poet Marius Chelaru. Also, haiku poems by six Romanian poets, in Romanian, English, and Hungarian, were placed on public display. Three years later, Vihar and her countryman Ferenc Bakos attended in the Haiku International Festival in Constanța, Romania. Hungarian poets occasionally publish haiku in the Romanian magazines Haiku and Albatros/Abatross.

Elsewhere in Europe, in Serbia the journalist, ethnographer, and poet Ioan Baba publishes books in Romanian, including poetry collections and anthologies. In Italy Olga Neagu, Miclăuș Silvestru and Alexandra Firiță write haiku in Romanian and Italian Ana Prundaru in Romanian in Switherland and so on.

A number of Romanian poets emigrated to North America for political reasons. Dumitru Ichim was an example of one such poet who resettled in Canada to escape the constraints and censorship of the regime. He published two volumes of haiku in Kitchener, Ontario, in 1977: Valea nisipului de aur (Valley of Golden Sand), and Urmele (Traces). A book of his tanka in Romanian was issued in Munich, Germany, in 1987. Later, when Ichim was able publish in Romania, his book Fântâna luminii (1993; Fountain of Light) was picked up by a Bucharest publisher. One haiku by Ichim:

Spicul de orez 
duce-n cârcă soarele… 
Salut japonez Japanese greeting 
The ear of rice
carrying the sun …
Japanese greeting7

Bucharest-born Luminița Suse, a resident of Ottawa, Ontario, since 1995, has published haiku and tanka and haiku in English, Romanian, and French, for example, this one from Haiku Canada Review in 2015:

nimbus clouds 
shredded to snowflakes 
the weight of grief 
nori nimbus
sfâșiată spre fulgii de nea
apăsarea unei supărări

Ștefan Gh. Theodoru (mentioned above), moved to New York in 1965. He wrote standard haiku and one-liners in Romanian, French, and English:

Ajuns cândva să știe că nu știa nimic.

The Wise Man
He finally realized that he knows nothing.8 

Mathematician Florentin Smarandache, who emigrated to the United States in 1988, published a book of haiku five years later: Clopotul tăcerii / Silence’s Bell / La cloche du silence (1993):

Stropi cad pe asfalt 
ca niște grenade. 
Plouă la plus infinit. 

Drops fall on asphalt
like certain little grenades.
Rain at endless plus.9

Sonia Cristina Coman (born in Constanța in 1988) was a haiku prodigy, publishing her work in both in English and Romanian in international journals and winning contests at age 11, for example, the Special Award in the 10th Itoen New Haiku Contest, 1999:

zi de muncă— 
macii roșii sunt striviți 
de carul cu lemne 
working day—
red poppies crushed
by a wood cart

In 2017, living in New York, Coman published Passages: Haiku Through the Seasons, a collection of her work in five languages; here is one sample haiku in two of the five languages:

pași grăbiți 
când însoriți, când umbriți 
ghioceii de la poartă 
hurried steps
by the gate, snowdrops
in and out of shadow

International meetings and collaboration

Romanian poets and haiku organizations intensified contacts with their counterparts abroad in the 1990s as well. In 1993, the president of Haiku International Association (HIA) at the time, Sono Uchida, received a delegation of haiku poets from Bucharest in Tokyo, establishing one of the first person-to-person Romanian–Japanese encounters related to haiku.

In 1994, celebrating the 300-year anniversary of the death of Matsuo Bashō, international conferences on the Japanese master were held in Bucharest and Constanța. The proceedings of these events appeared in the anthology Ocolind iazul (Round the Pond) edited by Codrescu and featured in a special issue of Haiku Magazine. Florin Vasiliu, then RHS president, published a book about the master, Matsuo Bashō, sfântul haiku-ului (Matsuo Bashō, Haiku Saint). A haiku competition was organized by the Haiku International Association in Japan to mark the Bashō tricentenary, and the winning poems that were published in special issue of the journal HIHaiku International included Honorable Mentions for five Romanian poets: Dan Lavinia, Florin Vasiliu, Ioana Cristina Pop, Ion Codrescu, and Mioara Gheorghe.

Ion Codrescu is one of the most international of the Romanian haikuists. Besides originating haiku events, organizations, and publications in Constanța, he is a leading sumi-e (black-ink drawing) and haiga (haiku with a sumi-e sketch) artist. Usually accompanied by his wife and cotranslator Mihaela, Ion has traveled extensively throughout Europe and North America as well as Japan. In recent years Codrescu has specialized in creating haiga to haiku by his many friends around the world and publishing collections of the resulting works. Two examples of Codrescu’s haiku, the first from Ban’ya Natsuishi, ed., Haiku Troubadours 2000 and the second from a haiga in the American periodical Upstate Dim Sum in 2019:

ca într-un vis 
muntele îndepărtat 
suspendat în ceața 
in a dream
the distant mountain
suspended in fog
cold room— 
the fragrance of dry plums and
Monteverdi’s music
odaia rece—
mireasma de prune uscate
și muzică de Monteverdi

After her return from the 1st European Haiku Congress at the Museum of Roses in Bad Neuheim, Germany, in 2005, Laura Văceanu, president of the Constanța Haiku Society, arranged live discussions in Constanța on the theme “Celebrating the Roses” and led a renku on this theme. Here is one of her haiku about roses.

Peisaj decupat— 
primii trandafiri înfloresc 
în valea largă 
Cut up landscape—
the first roses blossom
in the large valley

In 2014, the German haijin and critic Klaus Dieter-Wirth, writing about haiku in Europe into German language,10 emphasized the importance of the international haiku festivals held in Constanța in 1992 and 1994, as well as the later meetings in 2005 and 2007. These festivals were attended by poets from Japan, U.S.A, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Great Britain, and Ireland. Constanța also hosted a national colloquium on classical poetry that included haiku in 2014.

Marius Chelaru (Romania), Detelina Tiholova (Bulgaria), and David Lanoue (USA) at an international haiku event in Sofia, Bulgaria (June, 2019)

In January 2014, during his tenure as Romanian ambassador in Japan, Radu Șerban made visits to sites in Tokyo and Matsuyama that were associated with Masaoka Shiki. He wrote:

Nicicând veteran 
la Matsuyama, Shiki
primind haijinii. 
Brad împodobit, 
în Turnul Tokyo, luna—
iz de tămâie. 
Never an old man
at Matsuyama,
Shiki welcomes the poets
Adorned Christmas tree
the moon in Tokyo Tower—
scent of incense

Șerban also attended the Simple Forms: Contemplating Beauty art exhibition at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo in the spring of 2015. The main exhibit was Bird in Space by Romanian sculptor Constantin Brâncuși. The ambassador wrote several haiku that he included in a dual-language collection of photo haiga, Instantanee fotopoetice / Poetic Snapshots (2017).

Photo haiga by Radu Şerban at Masaoka Shiki Museum in Matsuyama, 2013

International publications

In 2001, Florin Vasiliu took inventory of Romanian haiku accepted for prestigious international publications: he counted more than 100 poems published in foreign journals. By 2019, the number exceeded 200, partly owing to the huge emigration of Romanians to Italy, Spain, and the U.K. in the previous two decades.

Terapia prin senryu, 2012

Important overseas friends of Romanian haiku are the Canadian American poet and critic Bruce Ross and his wife, Astrid Andreescu, a Romanian-born physician who writes haiku herself in English. In 2012 the two collaborated with RHS President Valentin Nicolițov on a book, Terapia prin senryu: senryu antologie româno-americană / Senryu Therapy: An American-Romanian Anthology featuring senryu by 15 Romanian and 15 American poets. For example, Manuela Miga’s:

dragă Bashō, plec! 
nu mai am chef de sărit 
iscălit: Broasca 
dear Bashō, I quit
I don’t feel like jumping
signed: your Frog

In 2016 Nicolițov and Ross coproduced Călători prin anotimpuri (Travelers Through Seasons: Romanian-American Haibun Anthology). Two sample haiku:

pre-dawn light 
the pale glow around 
my fingers 

lumina dinainte de zori
strălucirea palidă din jurul
degetelor mele

    Bruce Ross, from the haibun 
    “These hands” / “Aceste mâini”
M-am întors din nou 
la casa părnților 
să visez puțin 

Going back again
to my native house
to dream for a while

  Valentin Nicolițov, from the haibun
 “Nucul” / “The Walnut Tree”

One haiku each by Andreescu and Ross, both from Ross’s Scent of Pine: A Maine Haiku Anthology (2011):

morning fog 
too many bird songs
to recognize
summer sunlight 
the bales piled lop-sided 
on the wagon 
ceața dimineții
prea multe cțntece de pasăre
ca să le poți recunoaște
lumina sarelui de vară
baloții îngrămădiți aiurea
în căruță

Since 1989, Romanian poets have had their work published frequently in Japanese haiku journals including HI Haiku International, , Ginyu, and World Haiku as well as in the online haiku columns of the English-language editions of Japanese newspapers, particularly Mainichi Daily News Haiku in English and the Asahi Haikuist Network. Romanians are also present in publications specializing in haiga: See Haiku Here, edited by Kuniharu Shimizu, and Photo-Haiku Gallery, edited by Mitsugu Abe. A few sample haiku published in these periodicals:

În iarna aceasta 
cu oamenii de zăpadă 
îmi tot beau ceaiul. 

Longing song … 
lime flowers scattered 
on our way 

eu și luna 
față în față 
cu ceașca goală 

This winter
I’m always drinking my tea
with snowmen.

    Dumitru D. Ifrim, 
    (Autumn-Winter 1998)
Cântec de dor …
florile de lămâi s-au scuturat
pe drumul nostru

Magdalena Dale, Ginyu 34 (2007)
I and the moon
face to face
with an empty cup

    Marius Chelaru, 
    World Haiku 16 (2020)

International contests and honors

Romanians have been enthusiastic and successful participants in international haiku contests, especially those based in Japan. In 2004 the Taishō (Grand Prize) winner of the 9th Kusamakura Haiku Competition in Kumamoto, Japan, was Marian Nicolae Tomi for this haiku:

Zburând aiurea— 
din penel caligrafii 
scot păsări negre 
Flying nowhere
black birds appearing out of
the painter’s brush

Tomi, accompanied by Ion Codrescu visited Japan to accept the honor, and he later described the experience in a book of haiku, tanka, and gunsaku, Zburând spre Kumamoto (Flying to Kumamoto).

Redoubtable Romanian competitors in international contests include Dan Doman, who in one haiku competition alone won five awards. Even more successful perhaps has been Eduard Țară, one of the country’s best known haiku poets in cyberspace, who won ten to twelve haiku and tanka competitions annually for a number of years running. In 2010, he won the Grand Prize in the 1st EU-Japan Haiku in English Contest, with the following verse:

Desfășurând harta 
petalele de cireș conectează 
Europa cu Japonia
Unfolding a map
the cherry petals connect
Europe and Japan.

In 2007 and 2009, Clelia Ifrim had her poems selected by JAXA (Japan Airspace Exploration Agency) to be stored aboard the special KIBO module on the International Space Station (ISS). One of her poems was sent directly from the Earth to the astronaut Koichi Wakata. Among other distinctions she has received was the Grand Prix in the 2011 Ueno Bashō Festival Contest in Japan for this haiku:

Lebăda alba-n zbor— 
săgeata sacra alunecă 
în corpul meu pur. 
A white swan flying—
the sacred arrow sliding
in my white body.

One of her 18 published books, My Loved Japan, about the Tohoku earthquake of 2011, was singled out as one of the Best Books of 2011 by David Burleigh in the Japan Times.

In the selected collection of the 6th Yamadera Bashō Memorial Museum English Contest, 2014, amongst others, Vasile Moldovan and Cezar-Florin Ciobîcă, as well as Miclaus Silvestru from Italy and Ana Prundaru from Switzerland, were included.

Further, in HI—Haiku International 116 (2015), Dan Iulian received an Honorable Mention for

Ultima frunză 
își întâlnește umbra— 
liniștea pădurii 
The last leaf
 meets its shadow—
silent forest

Three Romanian haikuists, Marius Chelaru, Cezar-Florin Ciobîcă, and Eduard Ţară, were honored by inclusion in the international haiku anthology A Vast Sky edited by Bruce Ross in 2015.

A few examples of poems by other Romanian poets that have received international recognition:

Just the old blossoms 
from the jacaranda trees— 
the sea is rising 

Silence of shrine— 
shadows of hands in prayer
moving on the walls 

a ruined brick wall— 
what would the April grass know
more than the shadow? 

Chiar bătrânele flori
din arborii glicinelor—
marea se înalță

Eduard Țară—
Kiyoshi and Kiyoko Tokutomi 
Memorial Haiku Contest 2007, 
Honorable Mention
Liniște de altar—
umbrele mâinilor în rugă
mișcându-se pe pereți

Vasile Moldovan—
13th HIA Haiku Contest, 2011, 
Prize Winner
zid de cărămidă ruinat—
ce ar ști iarba mai mult
decât umbra?

Liliana Negoi—
5th Japan-Russia Haiku Contest, 
2016, Honorable Mention

little black dress—
the moon full
of ylang‐ylang

    Steliana Cristina Voicu—
    9th Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum English Haiku Contest, 2017,   
    Selected Haiku
Pyramid of Cheops— 
the tourists trample on 
an anthill 

the polar fox 
on the tiny ice floe— 
hot summer

Piramida din Cheops—
turiștii tropăie pe un
mușuroi de furnici

Dan Iulian—
IRIS Magazine Little Haiku Contest
 2017, Honorable Mention
vulpea polară
pe-un sloi subțire de gheață—
vară fierbinte

Victoria Milescu—
Kusamakura Haiku Competition 
2019, Nyusen (3rd Prize)

The various online kukai (gatherings at which poets share and vote on their haiku) also see frequent entries from Romanian poets, for example:

Black Sea shore? 
Gulf of Mexico 
oil spill 

Țărmul Mării Negre?
Golful Mexic
petrolul se varsă

Gheorghe Postelnicu, 
Shiki Internet Kukai, 
September 2010
day of cease-fire—
a soldier makes an angel
on the fresh snowfield … 

    Lavana Kray, 4th European Quarterly Kukai, Winter 2013
summer thunder— 
only her baby doll 
with open eyes 

tunet de vară—
doar păpușa fetiței sale
cu ochii deschiși

Daniela Lăcrămioara Capotă, 
11th Indian Kukai, June 2015

Each year since 2010, Polish haikuist Krzysztof Kokot has selected the European Top 100 Most Creative Haiku Authors and posted the list on the web. Eleven Romanian poets have been so honored since 2010: Cristina Anghelescu, Cezar-Florin Ciobîcă, Ana Drobot, Lavana Kray, Vasile Moldovan, Réka Nyitrai, Eduard Țară, Maria Tirenescu, Violeta Urdă, Steliana-Cristina Voicu, and Daniela-Lăcrămioara Capotă.

Many other Romanian haikuists have participated in international English-language contests and online kukai and won prizes and received honorable mentions. Please see the Haikupedia biographical and contest articles for additional details.

Online activities

In 2012 in Iași, Marius Chelaru founded the biannual online magazine Kadō: Revistă de poezie, cultură poetică şi euro-asiatică / Kadō: Review of Euro-Asiatic Poetry, Poetic Culture and Spirituality.

Romanian haiku poets have been very active in setting up blogs to share and discuss their poetry and exchange information about haiku activities. An inventory of haiku blogs taken by Corneliu Traian Atanasiu mid-May 2015 identified a total of 29 blogs founded by Romanians dating from 2007. Sixteen of these were still active in 2020 (see the Sources below). Of special interest are two informational sites by Maria Tirenescu, Haiku-uri premiate (Award-winning Haiku) and Reviste străine (Foreign Magazines), and Atanasiu’s Romanian Kukai, the premier Romanian online presence, with parallel Romanian- and English-language editions, and the comprehensive Sharpening green pencil, also curated by Atanasiu, about the premier Romanian online haiku contest.

The Haiku Foundation’s online feature Per Diem: Daily Haiku has included haiku poems from a number of other Romanian poets, including Jules Cohn Botea, Vasile Cojocaru, Olga Dutu, Adina Enăchescu, Florin Grigoriu, Vali Iancu, Anisoara Iordache, Letitzia Lucia Iubu, Teodora Moțet, Alexandra Flora Munteanu, Ecaterina Neagoe, Dan Viorel Norea, Radu Patrichi, Dumitru Radu, Cristina Rusu, and Constantin Stroe.

Styles and Themes in Romanian Haiku

Romanian haikuists have historically been concerned about received rules and practices in haiku composition, issues such as the proper syllable count, kigo (season words), use of metaphor and other tropes, etc. The trend in Romanian haiku today is to move away from strictly requiring kigo or the classic Japanese 5–7–5–syllable format. According to Radu Șerban, the Romanian language ranks somewhere between Japanese and English in terms of the number of syllables per word, which affects the translation of an image or idea from one language to another. For instance, one-syllable English words are often multisyllabic in Romanian: “spring” is “pri-mă-va-ra”; “heat” is “căl-du-ră,” and “youth” is “ti-ne-re-țe.” As a result, when translating Romanian three-line (5–7–5–syllable) poems into English, the number of syllables is reduced. Romanian three-line poems yield “another kind of haiku” when translated, in a sense richer in meaning than in Japanese, but poorer than in English.11 The following example illustrates this point:

O adiere—                     5 
răcoarea petalelor       7 
în palma caldă             5 
A breath of wind—       4
the petals’ coolness       5
in my warm palm         4

Originally, the themes of Romanian haiku, although universal and based in Nature, were by and large adopted from the Japanese culture and tradition: crickets, fireflies, chrysanthemums, moon, frogs, ponds, cuckoos, skylarks, roses, and the like. At the same time, Romanian poets were searching for their own topics rooted in Romanian culture. One such theme would be the national costume—while Japanese poets talk of the kimono, Romanian poets might write about the embroidered peasant blouse or another pieces of traditional peasant dress.

Another theme is the linden tree (also known as the lime tree in Europe), the symbol of Romania’s national poet, Mihai Eminescu (1850–1889). This tree is mentioned, for instance, in a fragment from his poem “Dorință” (Longing):

Flori de tei de-asupra noastră 
Or să cadă rânduri-rânduri. 
And upon our bodies softly
Do the lime-tree petals fall12

Being widespread in Romania, the tree that Eminescu so adored has been honored by haiku poets, including the prominent archetypical expressionist artist and poet Constantin Severin (born 1952) with this poem from Haiku Magazine in 1991:

Lui Eminescu: 

Atingînd teiul tău 
mîna mea respiră 
prin mii de frunze. 
To Eminescu:

Touching your linden
my hand is breathing
through thousands of leaves.13

and more recently (2018) in this haiku by Ana Drobot in the same magazine:

Flori de gheaţă-n geam— 
aroma de tei urcând 
din cana de ceai 
 Frost flowers in the window—
flavour of linden blossoms
in the cupful of tea14

The Japanese sakura (cherry blossom) finds a parallel in Romania in the apple blossom. The expression de florile mărului, “apple blossom,” means “with no finality” or “without any scope,” so “watching the apple blossom” suggests the Japanese custom of ohanami (花見), blossom-viewing with no purpose other than for beauty’s sake.

Another leitmotif of Romanian folk poetry is foaie / frunză verde (green leaf / leaves), which might be compared with the Japanese sakura in its recurrence in poetry.

Teme și crizanteme – haiku, 2019

Ioan Găbudean published a study about the prominence of the chrysanthemum, the symbol of the emperor and the Japanese nation, in the haiku of Romanian poets, and he titled his 2005 haiku anthology Surâsul crizantemei (Chrysanthemum Smile) after the favorite flower. Valentin Nicolițov followed suit with the name of his 2007 international anthology, Greiri și crizanteme / Crickets and Chrysanthemums, while Radu Șerban issued a haiku collection titled Teme și crizanteme—haiku (Themes and Chrysanthemums) in 2019.

Perhaps again with Japan in mind, the moon is yet another common theme for Romanian haijin. In 2003 Găbudean titled an anthology of his haiku group Luna din lac (The Moon from the Lake). An anthology of the Romanian Haiku Society is titled Luna în țăndări (The Moon in a Thousand Bits) after a poem by Eduard Țară, who was the Grand Prize–winner in the 2010 Japan–EU English Haiku Contest. The referenced haiku—in turn a new take on Bashō’s “old pond” haiku—was:

Following the frog 
a splash in the water 
the moon in thousand bits. 
În urma broaștei
un plescăit în apă
și luna țăndări.

    Eduard Țară

Haiku reflecting the Romanian Orthodox Church is widespread among religious haijin; as in these examples (translated by the poets themselves), first by Ion Untaru:

Noaptea de Paște 
atâtea lumini licărind 
în cimitir 
Easter night
so many lights twinkling
in the cemetery

and these two by Cristina-Monica Moldoveanu:

mă plec în fața canndalei 
Ziua mucenicior 
un copil pe bicicletă 
înconjură crucifixul 
I bow
to the bent candle
Forty Martyrs Day—
a child on a bike circles
the street crucifix

Echoing R. H. Blyth’s views on haiku and religion, however, Romanian haiku ventures beyond Christianity. Nicolae Manolescu, the president of the Romanian Writers’ Association, in his preface to Shuichi Kato’s History of Japanese Literature (1997), posited a similarity between the wooden village churches in Romania and the wooden temples in Japan as a source of inspiration for poets: “The wood civilization links Romania and Japan over time and space. One discovers the transience of air: wood does not last.”

While there are themes from nature common to both Japan and Romania, many of the themes of classic Japanese haiku—bamboo, the banana tree (bashō), the tea ceremony—are now considered old-fashioned or exotic, and most modern Romanian poets prefer to write about the realities of life in contemporary Romania.

Sources / Further Reading (Print)

History, criticism, and haiku composition

  • Chelaru, Marius. “Biblioteca Haiku” (Haiku Library). Poesija (in each issue).
  • Codrescu, Ion. Haiku-Haiga: Creative Activities for Students: An Anthology. Ex Ponto Press, 2004.
  • Codrescu, Ion. Imagine și text în haiga (Image and Text in Haiga). Bucharest: Editura Herald, 2010.
  • Cyprian, I. “Poezie japoneză” (Japanese Poetry). Evenimentul literar (1904).
  • Cyprian, I. “Poezie japoneză” (Japanese Poetry). Evenimentul Literar (1904).
  • Filip, Corneliu. Bun găsit, Japonie (Hello, Japan!). Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1994.
  • Gavra, Raul-Gabriel. “Poezia haiku și importanța cuvântului” (The Haiku Poem and the Importance of the Word). Leviathan 4 (2019).
  • Katō, Shuichi. Istoria literaturii japoneze de la origin până în prezent (History of Japanese Literature from Its Origins to the Present). Translated by Kazuko Diaconu and Paul Diaconu. Bucharest: Nipponica, 2 volumes, 1998.
  • Mareș, Nicolae. “Haiku-ul și sculptura modernă a lui Brâncuși” (Haiku and Modern Sculpture of Brâncuși). Tribuna (2016).
  • Matsuo Bashō. Pinul lui Karasaki (Pine Tree of Karasaki). Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1993.
  • Moldovan, Vasile. “Haiku in Romania.” World Haiku 4 (2008), 98. Presentation at the 2007 World Haiku Association Conference, Tokyo.
  • Rotaru, Ion. O istorie a literaturii române de la origini până în 1984 (A History of Romanian Literature from its Origins to 1984). Editura II Fundația Academia Dacoromana, 2009.
  • Șerban, Radu. Haiku in Romania. Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Editura Ecou Transilvan, 2015. PDF available on The Haiku Foundation website: https://www.thehaikufoundation.org/omeka/files/original/ca8d57e506eb420d9fc7e29b4703f505.pdf.
  • Șerban, Radu. Triptic româno–nipon: haiku. (Romanian-Japanese Triptych: Haiku). Cluj-Napoca: Editura Ecou Transilvan, 2015. PDF available on The Haiku Foundation website: https://www.thehaikufoundation.org/omeka/files/original/7e89f043431b79c11ff5809f742ef0af.pdf.
  • Timuș, Ioan. Japonia de ieri și de azi (Japan of Yesterday and Today). Bucharest: Universul, 1942.
  • Timuș, Ioan. Japonia, viața și obiceiurile și Japonia, arta, femeia, viața social (Japan, Life and Habits; Japan, Art, Woman, and Social Life). Bucharest: Editura Casa Școalelor, 2 vols., 1924–1925.Timuș, Ioan. Ogio-san. Bucharest: Cugetarea, 1938.
  • Vasiliu, Florin, and Elena-Brândușa Steiciuc. Interferențe lirice: constelația haiku (Lyrical Relationships—Constellation Haiku). Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Dacia Publishing House, 1989.
  • Vasiliu, Florin, and Lucia Vasiliu. Scriitori români călători în Japonia—Antologie de texte (Romanian Writers Traveling to Japan: Anthology of texts). Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1999.
  • Vasiliu, Florin. “One-line Pillatian Poem and Nippon Haiku.” (September 1988). From a presentation at an unnamed colloquium; cited in Șerban, Haiku in Romania, 9–10.
  • Vasiliu, Florin. Istoria literaturii japoneze (History of Japanese Literature). Bucharest: Editura Fundației România de mâine, 1999.
  • Vasiliu, Florin. Japonia necunoscută (Unknown Japan). Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1998.
  • Vasiliu, Florin. Japonia: Pagini de istorie, civilizație și cultură (Japan: Pages of History, Civilization, and Culture). Bucharest: Corint, 2001.
  • Vasiliu, Florin. Matsuo Bashō, sfântul haiku-ului (Matsuo Bashō, Haiku Saint). Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1994.
  • Vasiliu, Florin. Paradoxism’s Main Roots: Essay. Translation from the Romanian by Ștefan Benea. Phoenix: Xiquan Publishing House, 1994.
  • Vasiliu, Florin. Pe meridianul Yamato (On the Yamato Meridian). Bucharest: Editura Sport Turism, 1982.
  • Vasiliu, Florin. Poemul haiku în România (The Haiku Poem in Romania). Bucharest: Editura Curtea Veche, 2001.

Anthologies and joint collections

  • “Selecție de poeți japonezi și români” (Haiku: Selection of Japanese and Romanian Poets). Limba română 13, 2/3 (2003). Available online at http://limbaromana.md/index.php?go=articole&n=2618.
  • Acsan, Ion, and Dan Constantinescu, eds. Antologie de poezie clasică Japoneză (Anthology of Classical Japanese Poetry). Bucharest: Editura Științifică și Enciclopedică, 1981. Tanka and haiku anthology. Blyth, R. H. Haiku. Volume 1: Eastern Culture. Tokyo: Hokuseido Press, 1949.
  • Atanasiu, Cornelia, Jules Cohn Botea, and Vasile Moldovan. Lumina din oglindă (Light in the Mirror). Bucharest: Editura Atar, 2006; Editura Verus, 2010. 
  • Caligrafiile clipei (Calligraphies of the Instant) Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1999.
  • Codrescu, Ion, coordinator. Constanța Anthologie de Haiku Anthology. English translations by Mihaela Codrescu and Ion Codrescu. Constanța, Romania: Editura Muntenia, 1992. Haiku from the International Haiku Festival, Romania, June 19–21, 1992. In Romanian and English.
  • Codrescu, Ion, ed. Ocolind iazul: antologie / Round the Pond: A Romanian/English Anthology. Translations by Mihaela Codrescu. Constanța, Romania: Editura Muntenia, 1994. In Romanian and English.
  • Codrescu, Ion. Haïga: Peindre en poésie. Barjols, France: Association francophone de haïku, 2012. Haiga to haiku of 100 poets.
  • Codrescu, Ion. Mountain Voices / Vocile muntelui. Bicester, Oxfordshire: Ami-Net International Press, Commemorative volume, World Haiku Festival 2000, 2002. Commemorative volume from the World Haiku Festival 2000; illustrations. In English and Romanian.
  • Constantinescu, Dan. Basho, Buson, Issa, Shiki. Bucharest: Editura Albatros, 1974.
  • Dale, Magdalena, Ana Ruse, and Laura Văceanu, eds. Umbre în lumină: antologie de haibun / Shades in Light: Haibun Anthology. Introduction by Vasile Moldovan. Constanța, Romania: Editura Boldas, 2008. In Romanian and English.
  • Dale, Magdalena, ed. Ploaie de stele / Rain of Stars. Editura Societății Scriitorilor Români, 2015. Tanka anthology.
  • Dale, Magdalena, et al, eds. Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka, vols. 3 and 4. Baltimore: Modern Tanka Press, 2010–2011.
  • Hardy, Jackie, ed. Haiku: Poetry Ancient & Modern. London: MQ Publications, 2002.
  • JAL Foundation. ゆめのうた / Impressions of Dreams. Bronze Publishing for the JAL Foundation, 2015. Haiku by World Children, Vol. 13. In Japanese, English, and original languages.
  • Nicolițov, Valentin, and Bruce Ross, eds. Terapia prin senryu: senryu antologie româno-americană / Senryu Therapy: An American-Romanian Anthology. Romanian translations by Astrid Andreescu. Bucharest: Editura Societatii Scriitorilor Români, 2012.
  • Nicolițov, Valentin, and Bruce Ross. Călători prin anotimpuri (Travelers through Seasons: Romanian-American Haibun Anthology). Bucharest: Editura Societății Scriitorilor Români, 2016.
  • Nicolitov, Valentin, ed. Greiri și crizanteme: Haiku antologie internatională / Crickets and Chrysanthemums: International Haiku Anthology. Bucharest: Editura Orion, 2007.
  • Prepeliță, Mihai. 101 poeme Haiku / 101 poèmes Haiku / 101 Haiku Poems. French translation by Constantin Frosin, English by Virginia Cucu. Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1994. In Romanian, French, and English. Yes, you can find it here
  • https://www.okazii.ro/101-poeme-haiku-mihai-prepelita-in-limbile-romana-franceza-engleza-a205296051
  • Ross, Bruce, ed. Scent of Pine: A Maine Haiku Anthology. Bangor, Maine: Tancho Press, 2011.
  • Schenk, Christian W. O sută de catarge: Microantologie de haiku a poetilor români (One Hundred Masts: Microanthology of Haiku by Romanian Poets). Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1997.
  • Șerban, Codrin. Grădina Zen (Zen Garden). Introduction by Vasile Moldovan. English translations by Magdalena Dale. Perryville, Md.: Keibooks, 2006. Tanka by 25 poets, in Romanian and English.
  • Stamadiad, Alexandru T. Din cantecele curtezanelor japoneze (Japanese Courtesan Songs). Bucharest: Vremea, 1942.
  • Stamatiad, Alexandru T. Eșarfe de mătase (Silk Scarves). Bucharest: Editura Contemporană, 1942.
  • Stamatiad, Alexandru T. Peisagii sentimentale: Poeme (Sentimental Landscapes: Poems). Chişinău, Romania: Editura Adevărul, 1935.
  • Văceanu, Laura, Alexandra Flora Munteanu, Radu Patrichi, and Ana Ruse. Scoici de Mare / Sea Shells. Constanța: Constanța Haiku Society, 2007.
  • Vasiliu, Florin. Umbra libelulei: Antologie a haiku-ului românesc (Shadow of the Dragonfly: Romanian Haiku Anthology). Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1993.

Books and chapbooks

  • Atanasiu, Cornelia. Iscodind albastrul (Spying into the Blue). Bucharest: Editura Societății Scriitorilor Români, 2015.
  • Băgulescu, Gheorghe. Suflet japonez (Japanese Spirit). Bucharest: Cartagena, 2004.
  • Bica, Mihail. Vara îngerului fără aripi (The Summer of the Wingless Angel). Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Napoca Star, 2013.
  • Călinescu, Andana. Cocorul albastru / Blue Crane—Haiku. Iași, Romania: Editura PIM, 2017.
  • Chelariu, Traian. Suflet nipon (Nippon Soul). Chernovitsy, Ukraine [Cernăuți, Romania]: 1937.
  • Chelaru, Marius, and Jim Kacian. o mie de vorbe o mie de păsări (One Thousand Words, One Thousand Birds). Iași, Romania: Timpul, 2017.
  • Chiriac, Alexandru. Terține—În manieră niponă (Tristiches: In the Japanese Manner). Bucharest: Căpriana, 1983 / Paris: Anul Ediției, 1993.
  • Codrescu, Ion. Desene printre haiku / Drawings among Haiku. Constanța, Romania: Editura Muntenia, 1992. Illustrations.
  • Codrescu, Ion. Flori nevândute / Unsold Flowers. Flitwick, Bedfordshire, U.K.: Hub Editions, 1995. Illustrations.
  • Codrescu, Ion. Kapljice rose. Ljubljana, Slovenia: Apokalipsa Društvo, 2000.
  • Codrescu, Ion. Oaspete străin: haiku, rengay, haibun și renku / A Foreign Guest: Haiku, Rengay, Haibun, and Renku. Constanța, Romania: Ex Ponto, 1999. Illustrations. Translated by the author. A travel journal, in Romanian and English.
  • Codrescu, Ion. Something Out of Nothing: Seventy-five Haiga. Winchester, Va.: Red Moon Press, 2014. Haiga to haiku by North American poets.
  • Codrescu, Ion. Waiting in Silence / Wachten in Stilte. ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands: ‘t Schrijverke, December 2009. In English and Dutch.
  • Codrin, Șerban. Dincolo de tăcere (Beyond the Silence). Translations by Constantin Frosin, Virginia Cucu, and Stefan Benea. Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1994. Haiku in Romanian, French, and English. Coman, Sonia Cristina. Leagănul gol (The Empty Cradle). English translations by Alina Barbu. Târgu Mureș, Romania: Editura Brăduț, 1999. Illustrations. In Romanian and English.
  • Coman, Sonia Cristina. Ascultând greierii (Listening to the Crickets). Târgu Mureș, Romania: Editura Ambasador, 1998.
  • Coman, Sonia. Passages: Haiku Through the Seasons. Tokyo: Hoshin Media Group, 2017. In English, Japanese, Italian, Romanian, and French.
  • Dale, Magdalena, and Vasile Moldovan. Mireasmă de tei: poeme renga / Fragrance of Lime: Renga Poems. Bucharest: Editura Făt-Frumos, 2008.
  • Dale, Magdalena. Ecourile Tăcerii: 12 x 12 poeme haiku / The Echoes of Silence: Haiku Poems. Bucharest: Editura Verus, 2009. In Romanian and English.
  • Dale, Magdalena. Foi risipte / Scattered Leaves—9×9 poeme tanka. Editura Societății Scriitorilor Români, 2013.
  • Dale, Magdalena. Perle de Rouă / Dew Pearls: Tanka Poems. Bucharest: Editura Fat-Frumos, 2007. In Romanian and English.
  • Dămăcuș, Iulian. E plin de petale paharul uitat …—haiku (The Forgotten Glass Is Full of Petals …: Haiku). Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Editura Napoca Star, 2015.
  • Doman, Dan. Noi și o stea / We and a Lone Star. Bucharest: 2018. Visual haiku sequences.
  • Dumitrescu, Emilia. Vacanță rustică – Poeme în stil tanka (Rustic Vacation: Tanka-style Poems). Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1998.
  • Faraon, Eugenia. Freamăt și clestar / Rustling and Crystal. Translations by Virginia Cucu. Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1996.
  • Florică, Dan. Greieri, până la stele (Crickets up to the Sky). Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1999.
  • Găbudean, Ioan. Surâsul crizantemei—antologie de haiku (Chrysanthemum Smile: Haiku Anthology). Târgu Mureș, Romania: Ambasador, 2005. In Romanian and English. Găbudean, Ioan. Luna din lac (Moon Off the Lake). Târgu Mureș, Romania: Casa de Editură Mureș, 2003.
  • Găbudean, Ioan. The Dancing of the Clouds: Haiku in English. Târgu Mureș, Romania: Editura Ambasador, 2000.
  • Gheorghe, Mioara. Petale de lumină (Petals of Light). Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1994.
  • Grigoriu, Florin. 366 lecții de haiku (366 Haiku Lessons). Bucharest: Editura Amurgul sentimental, 2009.
  • Ichim, Dumitru. Fântâna luminii (Fountain of Light). Bucharest: Apolo, 1993.
  • Ichim, Dumitru. Urmele (Traces). Kitchener, Ontario: 1977.
  • Ichim, Dumitru. Valea nisipului de aur (Valley of Golden Sand). Kitchener, Ontario: 1977.
  • Ifrim, Clelia. My Loved Japan. Bucharest: Editura Universitara, 2011. In English. 31 haiku about the 2011 Tôhoku Earthquake.
  • Katitza, Constantin. Ocazia trăirii—tanka (The Opportunity to Live: Tanka). Bucharest: Editura Betta, 2015.
  • Macedonski, Alexandru. Poema rondelurilor (The Poem of the Rondels). Bucharest: Editura Literară a Casei Școalelor, 1927.
  • Milescu, Victoria. Ecoul clipei: haiku (The Echo of the Moment: Haiku). Afterword by Bogdan I. Pascu. Bucharest: Editura Odeon, 2003.
  • Milescu, Victoria. Roua cuvântului / Szóharmat: Haiku (The Dew of the Word: Haiku). Hungarian translations by Horváth Dezideriu. Bucharest: Editura Anamarol, 2008. Romanian-Hungarian dual-language edition.
  • Moldovan, Vasile. “Haiku in Romania.” World Haiku 4 (2008).
  • Moldovan, Vasile. Fața Nevazută a Lunii / The Moon’s Unseen Face. English versions by Cristian-Mihail Miehs. Editura Semne, 2001.
  • Moldovan, Vasile. Ikebana: Haiku. English translations by Cristian-Mihail Miehs. Bucharest, Romania: Editura Orion, 2005. In Romanian and English.
  • Munteanu, Alexandra-Flora. Haibun. Constanța, Romania: Editura VIF, 2015. In Romanian and English.
  • Munteanu, Alexandra-Flora. Zigzaguri printre haiku-uri (Zigzags among Haiku). Constanța, Romania: Editura VIF, 2016.
  • Nicolițov, Valentin. Poeme haiku de iubire (Haiku Love Poems). Bucharest: Editura Societății Scriitorilor Români, 2018.
  • Nițu, Duțu. Literele pașilor (The Letters of the Steps). Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1994.
  • Pillat, Ion. Poeme într-un vers (One-line Poems). Bucharest: Cartea Românească, 1936.
  • Prepeliță, Mihai. 1001 poeme Haiku (1001 Haiku Poems). Bucharest: Editura Făt-Frumos, 2002.
  • Prepeliță, Mihai. 101 poeme Haiku / 101 poèmes Haiku / 101 Haiku Poems. French translation by Constantin Frosin, English by Virginia Cucu. Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1994. In Romanian, French, and English.
  • Prepeliță, Mihai. 111 poeme Haiku (111 Haiku Poems). Bucharest: Editura Făt-Frumos, 2001.
  • Prepeliță, Mihai. Beszarábiai mozaik: 100 haiku vers (Bessarabian Mosaic: 100 Haiku Verses). Bucharest: Editura Printech, 2008. In Hungarian.
  • Prepeliță, Mihai. Cumpăna fără ciutură, 101 poeme haiku (Shadoof Without a Bucket: 101 Haiku Poems). Bucharest: Editura Printech, 2015.
  • Rău, Aurel. Gutui japonez (The Japanese Quince Tree). Iași, Romania: Timpul, 1996.
  • Rău, Aurel. În inima lui Yamato (In the Heart of Yamato). Bucharest: Editura Albatros, 1973.
  • Rău, Aurel. Lirica niponă (Japanese Lyrics). Bucharest: Editura Albatros, 1974.
  • Roșca, Ion, and Petre Coteț. Japonia, țara lui Soare Răsare (Japan, Land of the Rising Sun). Bucharest: Vremea, 1942.
  • Șerban, Codrin. Dincolo de tăcere (Beyond the Silence). Translations by Constantin Frosin, Virginia Cucu, and Stefan Benea. Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1994. Haiku in Romanian, French, and English.
  • Șerban, Radu. “Haiku on the Sky of Romanian Literature,” lecture delivered at the HIA annual haiku contest prize ceremony, Tokyo, December 5, 2015. In his Haiku in Romania, 2015.
  • Șerban, Radu. Ambassadorial Haiku. Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Editura Ecou Transilvan, 2014.
  • Șerban, Radu. Balsam sufletesc (Spiritual Balm). Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Editura Ecou Transilvan, 2012.
  • Șerban, Radu. Haiku—Fereastra armoniilor—1001 de poeme scurte (Haiku, Window of Harmonies: 1001 Short Poems). Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Editura Ecou Transilvan, 2014.
  • Șerban, Radu. Instantanee fotopoetice / Poetic Snapshots. Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Editura Ecou Transilvan, 2017. Photo haiga. Available online at The Haiku Foundation Digital Library, with the title Brancusi in Haiku Metrics: https://www.thehaikufoundation.org/omeka/items/show/2185.
  • Șerban, Radu. Mai aproape de cer / Closer to the Sky / Sora e ayumu. Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Editura Ecou Transilvan, 2015. In Romanian, English, and Japanese
  • Șerban, Radu. Reflections. Bucharest: Editura Coresi, 2018.
  • Șerban, Radu. Stare de haiku (Haiku Mood). Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Editura Ecou Transilvan, 2013.
  • Șerban, Radu. Teme și Crizanteme—Haiku (Themes and Chrysanthemums: Haiku). Bucharest: Coresi, 2019. See also the video of the book launch in Budapest in the Online section below.
  • Șerban, Radu. Triade în metrică de haiku (Triads in Haiku Meter). Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Editura Ecou Transilvan, 2016.
  • Șerban, Radu. Meditative. Poeme haiku în română și engleză (Meditative Haiku. Haiku Poems in Romanian and English). Bucharest: Coresi, 2020.
  • Șerban, Radu. Tokyo Station. An Ambassador’s Diary. Bucharest: Coresi, 2020.
  • Simu, Octavian. Dicționar de literatură japoneză (Dictionary of Japanese Literature). Bucharest: Editura Albatros, 1994.
  • Smarandache, Florentin. Clopotul tăcerii / Silence’s Bell / La Cloche du Silence. Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1993. In Romanian, French, and English.
  • Smărăndescu, Vasile. Cimitirul ploilor (The Cemetery of the Rains). Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Editura Dacia, 1985. 30 micropoems.
  • Spinei, Vasile. Fratele meu, fluturele–haiku (My Brother the Butterfly: Haiku). Chișinău, Moldova: Editura Universul, 2011.
  • Spinei, Vasile. Gardul de măcieș–haiku și senryu (Poppy Fence: Haiku and Senryu). Chișinău, Moldova: Casa Editorial Poligrafică, 2017.
  • Spinei, Vasile. Nimic despre iarnă / Nothing about Winter — Haiku. Translated by Mihaela and Ion Codrescu. Chisinau, Moldova: privately printed, 2010.
  • Spinei, Vasile. Surâsul călugărului / The Monk’s Smile. English translations by Mihaela Codrescu. Constanța, Romania: Editura Leda, 1996. In Romanian and English.
  • Stănescu, Nichita. Epica magna. Iași, Romania: Editura Junimea, 1978.
  • Theodoru, Ștefan Gh. Întâlnire în amurg / Recontre au crépuscule / Meeting in the Twilight. French translations by Ana Luana Stoicea; English translations by Virginia Cucu. Bucharest: Editura Haiku, 1994.
  • Theodoru, Ștefan Gh. Soaptele nucului batrân: poeme într-un vers / The Whispers of the Old Walnut Tree: Romanian Liner. Bucharest: Editura Amurg Sentimental, 2001. In Romanian and English.
  • Theodoru, Stefan Gh. Traista cu stele / Le sac à étoiles / The Bag of Stars. English translations by Virginia Cucu; French translations by Constantin Frosin. Bucharest: Editura Haiku and Editura Tempus, 1995. In Romanian, French, and English.
  • Tomi, Marian Nicolae. Zburând spre Kumamoto (Flying to Kumamoto). Translated by Adriana Elena Pop, Anca A. Covâză, and Diana Moldovan. Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Grinta, 2005.
  • Untaru, Ion. Poeme cu ochii îngusti / Poems with Narrow Eyes / Poèmes avec des yeux étroits / Песме уских очију. English versions by Saša Važić and Marian Taralunga; Serbian by Saša Važić. Bucharest: Amurg Santimental, 2012. In Romanian, English, French, and Serbian.
  • Văceanu, Laura, Alexandra Flora Munteanu, Radu Patrici, and Ana Ruse. Scoici de Mare / Sea Shells. Constanța: Constanța Haiku Society, 2007.
  • Văceanu, Laura. The Memory of the While: Haiku, Tanka, Haibun, Rengay. Constanța, Romania: Europolis Press, 2003.
  • Vasiliu, Florin, and Brînduşa Steiciuc. Interferențe lirice: constelația haiku (Lyrical Relationships: Haiku Constellation). Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Editura Dacia, 1989. Illustrations. In Romanian.
  • Vasiliu, Florin. Tolba cu licurici (The Bag with Fireflies). Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Editura Dacia, 1988.
  • Vîrlan, Ana. Anotimpul din noi (The Season Within Us). Piatra Neamț, Romania: Editura Crigarux, 2003.
  • Vlahuță, Alexandru. “Poezie și pictură japoneză” (Japanese Poetry and Painting). La gura sobei (By the Fireside) (Bucharest: Editura A. Baer 1911).
  • Voevdica, George. “Flori Orientale” (Oriental Flowers). Bucovina literară (1919). Tanka sequence.

Romanian haiku periodicals, print and online

  • 366 de zile haiku (366 Days Haiku). Steliana Cristina Voicu, editor. Romania: 2009– . Blog: http://366dezile.blogspot.ro/.
  • Albatros: Revista Societatii de haiku din Constanța—România / Albatross: Magazine of the Constantza Haiku Society—Romania. Ion Codrescu, founder and editor, 1991–2001. Laura Văceanu, editor, New Series, 2005–2020. Constanța, Romania: Societatea de Haiku din Constanța, 1992–2001; 2005–2006. Irregular, print journal, in Romanian and English.
  • Bucurii efemere (Ephemeral Joys). Găbudean, Ioan, founder and editor. Tîrgu-Mureş, Romania. Print magazine.
  • Concursuri internaționale (International Contests). Maria Tirenescu and Corneliu Traian Atanasiu, eds. Romania: 2012– . Blog: http://concursuriinternationale.blogspot.com/.
  • Haibun. Maria Tirenescu, editor. Romania: 2007– . Blog: http://haibunurilemele.blogspot.com/.
  • Haiku-ind—Haiku şi imagine (Haiku-ind—Haiku and image). Ioana Dinescu, editor. Romania: 2011– . Blog: http://haikuind.wordpress.com/.
  • Haiku-uri premiate (Award-winning Haiku). Maria Tirenescu, editor. Romania: 2010– . Blog: http://haikuuripremiate.blogspot.com/.
  • Hermitage. Ion Codrescu, founder and editor. Constanta, Romania: 3 issues, 2004–2006. In English. Published the work of its subscribers.
  • Kado: Revistă de poezie, cultură poetică şi euro-asiatică (Kado: Review of Euro-Asiatic Poetry, Poetic Culture and Spirituality). Marius Chelaru, founder and editor, 2012– . Iași, Romania: April 2012– . In Romanian. Online at http://www.revistapoezia.ro/.
  • Maria Postu—WordPress Page. Maria Postu, editor. Romania: 2008– . Blog: http://mariapostu.wordpress.com/.
  • Minipoeme (Minipoems). Cristina-Monica Moldoveanu, editor. Romania: 2010– . Blog: http://cristina-monica.blogspot.com/
  • Petrecere în lumea celor mici (Party in the World of the Little Ones). Tincuţa Horonceanu Bernevic, editor. Romania: 2009– . Blog: http://www.tincutahoronceanubernevic.blogspot.com/.
  • Photo-haiku. Romania: 2012– . Lavana Kray, editor. Blog: http://photohaikuforyou.blogspot.ro/.
  • Poeme înrămate … (Framed poems). Lavana Kray, editor. Romania: 2010– . Blog: http://poemeinramate.blogspot.ro/.
  • Revista Haiku de interferențe culturale româno-japoneze (Haiku: Magazine of Romanian-Japanese Cultural Relationships). Florin Vasiliu, founder and editor, 1990–2001; Valentin Nicolițov, editor, 2001– 2020. Bucharest: Haiku Publishing House, Biannual. In Romanian and English.
  • Reviste străine (Foreign Magazines). Maria Tirenescu, editor. Romania: 2012– . Blog: http://revistestraine.blogspot.com/.
  • Romanian Kukai (English Version). Corneliu Traian Atanasiu, editor. Romania: 2007– . Blog: http://variantaenglezeasca.blogspot.com/.
  • Romanian Kukai (Romanian Version). Corneliu Traian Atanasiu, editor. Romania: 2007– . Blog: https://romaniankukai.blogspot.com.
  • Sharpening the Green Pencil. Corneliu Traian Atanasiu, editor. Romania: 2012– . Blog: http://sharpeningthegreenpencil.blogspot.com/.
  • Stops-caleidoscop (Stops—Kaleidoscope). Gheorghe Postelnicu, editor. Romania: 2011– . Blog: http://stopscaleidoscop.blogspot.com/.
  • Tankadream. Romania: 2007– . Magdalena Dale, editor. Blog: http://tankadream.blogspot.com/.

Sources / Further Reading (Online)

Authors: Vasile Moldovan, Radu Șerban, and the Haikupedia Editors

Adapted from: Vasile Moldovan, “Haiku in Romania”; and Radu Șerban, Haiku in Romania and “Haiku on the Sky of Romanian Literature”


  1. Translated by Radu Șerban. []
  2. In an interview given to Florin Vasiliu, Cezar Zugravu (writer and engineer, 1923–2010), talked about Băgulescu’s life and career. Haiku Magazine 20 (1999). According to Vasiliu, translations of classical haiku into Romanian (originally mainly from French and German) had a positive impact on Romanian poets interested in haiku. []
  3. The manuscript is now in the Romanian Academy Library, Fond Macedonski. []
  4. Translated by Radu Șerban. []
  5. Corneliu Traian Atanasiu. Interview with the poet Ioan Găbudean, Crizantema, July 9, 2008. []
  6. Cited in Stan Brebenel, “Slefuitorii de cuvinte / Medalion literar—Mihai Prepelita,” Opina website, February 21, 2020: https://opiniabuzau.ro/slefuitorii-de-cuvinte-medalion-literar-mihai-prepelita/. []
  7. Translated by Radu Șerban []
  8. Ștefan Gh. Theodoru, Șoaptele nucului bțărân: poeme într-un vers / The Whispers of the Old Walnut Tree: Romanian Liner (2001). []
  9. Translated by Alexandra Martin []
  10. “Das Haiku in Europe,” Sommergras 106 (2014). []
  11. Radu Șerban, Haiku in Romania (2015). []
  12. Trans. Corneliu M. Popescu. []
  13. Constantin Severin, in “Eminescu in Haiku,” Haiku 1:4 (1991), 10; []
  14. Ana Drobot, Haiku Magazine Haiku Contest, 2018, Mention. []
Updated on May 30, 2024