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Matthew Louvière

Matthew Louvière, date unknown
Photo from Stelly Family Tree, Ancestry.com

Matthew Louvière (born Anthony Matthew Louvière, April 14, 1930, Avery Island, Louisiana, U.S.A.; died May 2, 2003, New Orleans, Louisiana), American poet known especially for his haiku and senryu set in the Louisiana salt marsh and bayou country. His work was widely published and anthologized, especially after the mid-1990s. He resided for many years in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Anthony Matthew Louvière was born on April 14, 1930, on Avery Island, Louisiana, the fourth son and eighth of eleven children of Cesaire Peter Louvière and Lilly Mae Fontz. When Matthew was ten, the family was living at Avery Island, Louisiana, where Cesaire worked as a toll gate operator on the road leading onto the privately owned island (actually a nine-square-mile salt dome surrounded by bayous, wetlands, and swamps). Cesaire Louvière died on Christmas Day, 1947; at the time Matthew, aged 20 and known as “Sonny” to the family, was working as a gatekeeper at Jungle Gardens, a privately owned wildlife preserve and tourist attraction, established by Edward Avery “Ned” McIlhenny, son of the founder of the McIlhenny company, makers of the famous Tabasco pepper sauce.

On April 20, 1951, Louvière enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a medical technician with the 1st Cavalry in Korea.1 He was discharged on April 2, 1953.

Little is known of Louvière’s life after he returned from Korea. He never married and it is not certain that he held steady employment. His obituary mentioned only that “[h]e enjoyed a successful career as an internationally published haiku poet.” Possibly he lived off an Army pension. He settled in New Orleans, probably living first with an unmarried brother at 730 Josephine Street and later alone in a second-floor apartment at 1404 Josephine Street in New Orleans’s Lower Garden District. As recently as 2000, this area was residential and a bit run down, though now it has been spruced up and sports a number of museums and upscale restaurants.

Red Moon Press editor Jim Kacian remembers visiting Matthew Louvière in mid-September 2002:

We had tea in a breakfast nook beside a window from which he raised the shade, and the view, though sunny, was of the equally crumbling building next door. He served the tea—hibiscus tea with magnolia honey, as I recall, which I thought might have been an unaccustomed luxury purchased specially for my visit—in elegant matched cups, a contrast with the run-down interior of the apartment. Matthew kept the place quite dark. It looked like nothing had been changed in it for 20 years. The living room had high ceilings and no central overhead light. There was some art on the walls and no large pieces of furniture to obscure them. I remember lots of stuffed chairs of the fusty old-fashioned type with furniture covers. He was a cat person—there were a bunch of them—but whether they were all his or were neighborhood or feral cats that he fed, I can’t say.

I had prepared my visit with a letter a few days earlier, so he knew I was coming. I was sure he was home when I knocked on his door, and I waited for more than half an hour before leaving a note saying I’d come back the next day, which I did, and then only had to wait about 15 minutes while he mustered the will to let me in. So yes, I’d say he was a recluse. Once he relaxed, however, we had a really good time together, and I thought him a charming man, deeply committed to haiku, especially its traditional aspects, and to the natural world.

Matthew said he had grown up with the McIlhennys on Avery Island, which is a kind of natural paradise, and he was a complete and utter nature lover. I think he may have done some ecological work for the family somewhere along the line. We talked about the haiku topics of the day; he was well up on them, and had a regular correspondence with Bob Spiess. He definitely impressed me as a representative of his generation and its tastes in haiku.

In general, Kacian’s impression was that Louvière lived a solitary, reclusive life of genteel poverty.

It is known that he suffered from lung cancer in his final years. H. F. Noyes was not too far off base when he selected this haiku of Louvière’s for one of his occasional ”Favorite Haiku“ columns in 2003:

          fork in the road
          both branches

I somehow accepted this haiku as if it might be Matthew’s death poem. Though it was not his last, his friends are now no longer in contact, fearing the worst. He has long been losing his sight. My favorite of his work from bygone years is now all the more poignant:

          saying too much
          the deaf girl
          hides her hands2

Matthew Louvière succumbed to his cancer on May 2, 2003, aged 73. Modern Haiku published a short memorial notice in the autumn issue and included two of his haiku, both from The Marsh and Other Haiku and Senryu:

fisherman walking home
     firefly blinking
     in his creel3

year’s end
     an empty trolley car
     rolling through the night4

The only new haiku of Louvière’s to have been published after his death also appeared in Modern Haiku, in the Winter–Spring 2004 issue:

drifting clouds
    unknown birds
    leap from the fire5

Louvière’s Haiku Craft

Matthew Louvière is known to have been writing poetry in his early twenties, and he published a collection of prose poems titled The Terrible Stars in 1958.6

He shared some details about his early exposure to haiku in a feature titled Beginner’s Mind in the final issue of Woodnotes (1997):

During the winter of 1951 I worked in a U.S. Army medical tent, as a technician, processing Korean patients from nearby villages. The interpreter in the tent, based just below the 38th parallel, may very well have introduced me to haiku: “parting / snow / mountain / tent / half-moon / your sad / smile / lingering.”7

A few hours later I boarded a ship that took me to northern Japan, armed with a letter of introduction to the Sasaki family that owned and operated a Japanese inn in Sapporo. And on New Year’s Day of 1952 I found myself ensconced in a room at this inn with a haiga scroll hanging on the wall. The Sasaki family was very gracious to me over a period of about 15 months. They introduced me to many of the Japanese arts: to koto music, gardening, flower arranging, architecture, the tea ceremony, the art of carpentry, art dealers, linen manufacturers, to Sapporo’s haiku poet—a Mr. Kondo and his family. I felt very much at home in Japan, for I grew up in Louisiana on Avery Island and was associated with its bird sanctuary and jungle gardens, with acres and acres of flora from both China and Japan. 1 felt especially drawn to haiku, indeed to the voice of ancient Asia, hearing haiku said by various voices—by Mrs. Sasaki, by her daughter Tsuyuko, by Mr. Kondo, and recitations in the tea houses. One of my efforts at haiku from the early 1950s was published in Dion #6 in 1966 (Inglewood, California):

     hopping out at noon
     the shadow of the tea bowl
     returns by nightfall

About 30 examples of my early efforts at haiku were published during the 1960s and 1970s in journals such as Janus-SCTH, Haiku Highlights, [Fireflower] (Whitehorse, Canada), Dragonflyand Modern Haiku (1976). And so it is that I have been enamored by haiku all my adult life. Early in 1986, however, I began a concentration on haiku writing and have been at it ever since.8

A glance at Louvière’s publication history confirms what he wrote in Woodnotes. The record shows that his work was first accepted in these poetry and haiku journals in these early years:

  • Dion, 1966 
  • Haiku Highlights, 1966  
  • Fireflower, 1968
  • Bonsai, 1976 
  • Dragonfly, 1976
  • Modern Haiku, 1976
  • Janus & SCTH, 1977

There was a nine-year break after 1977 during which he did not publish in any new journals, then a flurry of new activity beginning in 1986:

  • Old Pond, 1986
  • Frogpond, 1986
  • Brussels Sprout, 1986
  • Wind Chimes, 1986
  • Orphic Lute, 1987
  • New Cicada, 1987
  • , 1987
  • The Red Pagoda, 1987
  • Haiku Zasshi Zō, 1987  
  • Channels, 1987
  • Piedmont Literary Review, 1987
  • Haiku Headlines, 1988
  • Haiku Quarterly (Arizona), 1989
  • Woodnotes, 1990
  • Hummingbird, 1991 
  • The Archer, 1995
  • South by Southeast, 1996
  • Azami, 1996
  • Parnassus Literary Journal, 1997
  • The Heron’s Nest, 1999
  • Tundra, 1999
  • Point Judith Light, 1998

It does not appear that he was a member of any local haiku or poetry group or even had a regular haiku friend with whom to discuss his work. Thus it was of particular significance that 1986 marked the beginning of his active involvement with the new wave of organizations and journals that were moving away from traditional Japanese-style haiku and defining haiku in English. He joined the Haiku Society of America in 1986, was listed as a Friend (i.e., donor) until 2001, and began publishing in its membership journal Frogpond in 1987. The journal South by Southeast , founded in 1994 and associated with the Southeast Region of the HSA, began publishing Louvière’s haiku the following year.

He had his first success with Editor Robert Spiess at Modern Haiku in 1987, a relationship that proved particularly rewarding for both men in years to come. Spiess published about 125 of Louvière’s haiku and senryu as well as his only book collection (and the first book from his Modern Haiku Press not by Spiess himself), The Marsh and Other Haiku and Senryu, in 2001. For his part, Louvière bequeathed $2,000 for ten $200 scholarships for Modern Haiku to grant to high school students.

Clearly Spiess was instrumental in shaping Louvière’s conception of haiku, and it would be hard to miss the similarities between the work of the two men who enjoyed being on the marshes near their homes:


canoeing the bend—
     a fox in the evening dusk
          mouses in a field9

Autumn’s drying sedge;
     now and then the old canoe
          flushes wisps of snipe10


moonlit paddle
	—a pirogue
	rounding the bend11

along the coastal marsh;
a pair of summer ducks12

Also of interest in the mid-1990s were the appearance on his résumé of two Japan-based haiku journals, Kōko Katō’s (1987) and Ikkoku Santo’s Azami (1996). In fact it was Katō who first included Louvière’ work in an anthology, 20 haiku in her 1991 collection Four Seasons: Haiku Anthology Classified by Season Words in English and Japanese. From 1988 to 2000 the New Orleans poet was featured in Haiku Headlines, the monthly haiku bulletin compiled by Rengé (David Priebe), as well as four of the Timepieces Haiku Week-at-a-Glance haiku calendar competition books (1993–1997). H. F. Noyes selected seven for his occasional Favorite Haiku columns in journals and four volumes of critiques with the same title from Red Moon Press. William Higginson included the following two haiku in Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac (1996):

Early light—
the gravedigger sweats
over his spade13

Moonlit sky
—a white mallow petal floats
on the trap’s tongue14

The British anthology The Haiku Hundred (1992) published one haiku of Louvière’s, and fourteen were included in Bruce Ross’s Haiku Moment (1993).

In addition to “first light” cited above,15 the following haiku were picked up for the Red Moon Anthologies respectively, nominally the best English-language haiku of the given year:


Dark porch
—sound of someone
snapping beans  (1996)16


     the knife goes all the way
     through the fish  (1997)17

blue hydrangeas
down the mountain path
suddenly the sea  (1997)18 


Summer stillness
—only a horse tail
out of the barn  (1999)19


saying too much
the deaf girl
hides her hands

fork in the road
     both branches

Despite this favorable attention, Louvière was passed over in an number of other important North American and English-language haiku anthologies: all three editions of Cor van den Heuvel’s The Haiku Anthology (1974, 1986, and 1999), André Duhaime‘s Haïku sans frontières: une anthologie mondiale (1998), and Allen Burns’s Where the River Goes: The Nature Tradition in English-Language Haiku (2013).

Louvière won his share of honors in competitions in the 1990s, including the in-house contests run by the journals The Haven, Haiku Quarterly (Arizona), and Haiku Headlines. Perhaps his most significant awards were as a “winner” in the English Section of the Iga-Ueno Bashō Festival contest in 1994:

Night wind
—fog leaving
with the geese

the Museum of Haiku Literature Award (best of issue) in Frogpond 18:2 (1995):

Lily pond
     with one step the snowy egret
     moves the moon

a prize winner in the 1st International Kusamakura Haiku Competition, 1996:

blue hydrangeas
down the mountain path
suddenly the sea

a 3rd Prize in the 3rd International Kusamakura Haiku Competition, 1998:

farmer pointing
to his upturned plow
     a meadowlark sings

and First Place and an Honorable Mention in the Parnassus Haiku Contest, 1998:

meteor shower
     a dog shaking off
     on the porch
She lifts the broom
as if to sweep
a gust of wind

Haiku language and style

Over the years, the format of Louvière’s haiku remained relatively traditional, showing his roots in the Japanese tradition. Of the 600 or so haiku that he published, all but one were in three lines. The verses he composed in the 1960s and early 1970s were usually written in language twisted to fit into in the then preferred 5–7–5–syllable format, for example:

With these friendly days
ending, yellow pollen stuffs
journey with the wind.21

A decade later, however, he had begun to forgo rigid syllable counting and arrangement, as seen in these two examples from 1976, the first haiku he published in Modern Haiku, one in 5–7–5, the second in 5–6–6:

      Up in his spring hut,
the old man stirs his rice pot
      with a bamboo flute.

Dimly through the mist,
over leaf-matted ground,
a white crane approaches.22

and this two-haiku sequence titled “In haiku manner” in Janus & SCTH (1977) recalling his days in Japan:

   Risen through packed snow,
the soldier’s bayonet points
   toward the rising sun.

   Gray, toward nightfall,
the city square fills with snow:
   two friends stand there, silent.23

The second haiku has a hypersyllabic third line. Note, too, that these early haiku were written with an initial capital letter and terminal period.

While remaining conscious of the syllabic structure and cadence of his haiku, Louvière soon loosened up his structure by shortening his lines, which made the work more direct and impactful:

Frost on the fence—
the crow stands
on one foot24

Just as he was always conscious of the syllabic structure of his haiku, so Louvière made extensive use of the traditional Japanese technique of kire (“cutting” or caesura). Kire is used to mark the break between the two images of the haiku—for example, the frosty fence and the standing crow in the example above—and to invite a comparison or contrast between the two. In English-language haiku this break is typically accomplished with punctuation—an em-dash or an ellipsis—or sometimes simply a line break will do. Louvière most often used the em-dash, but he also seemed to be experimenting with other ways to cut his haiku more effectively. One pattern was to place a dash at the beginning of line, which has the effect of causing the reader to make a fuller stop than if the dash were at the end of the previous line:

After the rain
—the full moon aglow
on each stepping stone25

Occasionally he would indent one or two lines to emphasize the break between images, for example:

a cross-roads village
     the baker’s roof 

and he was not averse to using indentation to facilitate inclusion of a modest visual trick in his haiku:

   Wind blowing hair
   into the barber shop26

Kigo, or season words, are another essential element in traditional haiku and an aspect that Louvière was aware of, even if his haiku and senryu were not always seasonal in nature. Poet and critic Patricia Neubauer called attention to the importance of season words in Louvière’s work, citing this end-of-the-year haiku:

     Year’s end—
     an empty trolley car
     rolling through the night

The empty trolley rolling through the night presents an interesting picture. But take away the season word, and the reader is unlikely to discover a satisfactory meaning in the haiku. It does occur to me that it might be done but it would tend to be a rather abstract and metaphysical interpretation.27

We might also point to this verse as a good example of the Japanese aesthetics of sabi (the beauty of loneliness) and yūgen (elegance, mystery, depth). Having first learned about haiku in Japan, Louvière was well versed in Japanese aesthetics. He used—perhaps overused—the sabi buzzword “empty” in haiku including these:

Night nearing
     the empty train is silent
     at the station stop28

Empty house
in all the rooms29

Empty cafe
—the stopped clock
in the mirror 30

The third of these haiku offers a triple serving of sabi: “empty,” “stopped clock,” and “mirror!”

For another example of yūgen one might look at the second haiku discussed in Neubauer’s article:

someone leaves a lantern
someone goes

This too is a faithful report of what has been seen; however the fog obscures all but the lighted lantern and the fact that someone has come and someone has gone. Readers cannot see more that the poet has seen. They cannot identify the one who comes or the one who goes, and interpretations will depend upon whether or not the one who brings the lantern is seen as the same person who departs.31

A few more of Louvière’s yūgen haiku:

country chapel
     the christening font
     filling with dusk32

Dark porch
—sound of someone
snapping beans33

Island store
—a lone sardine
in an open can34

no end
no beginning
      the snow-covered fence35

While not exactly in the category of Japanese aesthetics, mystery and the uncanny—things that both are and are not, things that appear and disappear at will—featured frequently in his haiku, for example:

ghost town
      clouds massing
      behind the stopped clock28 

A stranger on the road 
asks directions—
our breath clouds meet36

with the half moon
the visitor37

He was especially fascinated by shadows, for instance how how light-colored objects cast dark shadows and how the changing position of the sun creates the impression of shadows appearing or disappearing:

Dark shadow	
of the white chrysanthemum
—the quiet room38

Drifting snow
—nightfall darkens
the tomb39

high tea
     the empty vase
     swallowing its shadow40

Uncannily, a shadow can seem to be an integral part of a personality:

leaving home
without her shadow
autumn rain41

moving the lamp
     the dead man’s shadow
     stirs in the coffin42

An Appreciation

Poet of Place

Matthew Louvière was at heart a nature poet and poet of place. The place was Louisiana, specifically the bayous and marshland along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. In 1992, for example, he published a six-haiku sequence titled “Life on the Bayou” that included these verses:43

Circling gulls
dropping sounds
in the fisherman’s net 

Beside the cabin
dusk filling a basket
of crabs

Night clouds
rolling off
the wet wharf

In his review of The Marsh in Frogpond, Canadian poet and critic Edward Zuk presented a fine commentary on Louvière’s technique for making his work specific to the Louisiana environment:

The Marsh and Other Haiku and Senryu helps to remind us how powerful poetry can be if it is immersed in a particular place. These haiku revel in their invocations of slave cabins, pirogues, grouse, mallow petals, muskrats, egrets, and dozens of other local references that recreate the marshes of the American deep South. There is so much local colour here that I found it impossible not to be carried away by it all:

                    moonlit sky
                   —a white mallow petal floats
                   onto the trap’s tongue
old slave cabin
whiff of sweat
in the trunk                   

Even though I have never seen a mallow petal or a slave cabin, I can feel how hollow and thin these haiku would be if they were simply about a “white petal” or “the old cabin”; the local detail is the soul that animates the poetry. Louvière makes his local references so accessible and meaningful that it may be instructive to consider how he does it. The trick, it seems, is to include no more than a single specifically local reference per haiku: for example, the mallow petal is the only thing that would be unfamiliar to readers outside of the southern U.S. in the first haiku quoted above, while the slave cabin is the only specifically local reference in the second. The remaining images and the theme, meanwhile, must be universal.44

The apotheosis of Louvière’s poetry was his sole book of haiku, The Marsh and Other Haiku and Senryu, published by Modern Haiku Press in 2002, a year before his death. The final section of the book, also titled The Marsh, comprised 17 haiku, which were presented as individual poems but could equally be read as a sequence. A small sampling from that section:

 the nest just built
       moonlit egrets
               entwining necks

sipping water
from their father’s feathers
      chicks of the grouse

through the trees
      a boat lantern
      rising with the tide

mother-of-pearl sky
        the oyster shucker’s cabin
        surrounded by shells 

the trapper
—combing the marsh
out of his hair

Beyond treating the natural features and residents of Louisiana, Louvière’s work also touched more generally on the history and culture of the American South in haiku such as these:

Plantation ruins
—poison ivy vines
guarding the fence45

slave cabin
     hidden by acres and acres
     of sugarcane46

—taking out the toast
when it turns her shade47

morning meditation
     vapors rising
     from the gumbo pot48

Poet Marian Olson led off her review of The Marsh with a bold statement, “No one in our country writes better haiku than Matthew Louvière” and proceeds to justify her enthusiasm for his work applying several criteria. She acknowledges that the Louisiana poet “knows his marsh and leaves the reader with a sense of it,” but she also points out that he

is more than a trapper who hangs around marshes.… Based on the variety of poems in this volume, he is a multi-faceted artist whose appreciation of life can be found in a variety of places and under different circumstances:

      kneading sunlight
      into the dough

     leaves parting
     in the April rain
     the first wild strawberry

Since haiku is frequently derivative and poets write about the same subjects over and over, it is the mark of an accomplished poet who rises above the commonplace to find fresh expression in the ordinary. The two poems “daybreak” and “leaves parting” are not the only ones in the book that can claim such a distinction; the reader will find others scattered throughout the text.

Another quality of Louvière’s poetry is his use of sound to enrich meaning. Poem after poem displays this sensitivity. Listen, for example, to the liquid “l’s” and murmuring “m’s” in the next poem, sounds that ripple like the ethereal light of the moon and add to the mystery and loveliness of this natural setting:

at the waterfall
moonlight flutters
down the stallion’s mane

This poet belongs neither to the traditionalist school, nor to the minimalist which can squeeze all juice out of the words to achieve the bones of an image. This said, one of his minimalist poems is also one of his finest. Something about it reminds me of “Western Wind,” written about 1500. While his poem has an entirely different tone and voice, the parallel exists in the disturbingly beautiful image of wind as background to longing or suffering in the absence of one’s love and a shared bed. Whatever the surrounding circumstances, the poem lodges in the heart and is not easy to forget:

winter wind
—my head
on her pillow

In the earliest of H. F. Noyes’s Favorite Haiku columns he critiqued a haiku that Louvière had published in 1988:

He rolls up
the long scroll—
disappearing geese

The ancient scrolls unfold like life itself, depicting idyllic scenes of rustic courtship bordering a dispiriting one of urban poverty or aging courtesans, an appalling one of brutal assault. A wise man or woman like the scroll artist—accepts all of life as a whole, of which even death is an integral part. Musefully, the poet rolls up his scroll; what lingers to stab the heart is the wistful impression of disappearing geese. ((Noyes, “Favorite Haiku,” Modern Haiku 24:1 (Winter–Spring 1993); the haiku was originally published in Orphic Lute 38:2 (Spring 1988).))

Louvière showed special empathy for working folk who are at one with their environment; these verses often included a bit of humor. When read one after another, they could almost be a census of Cajun country. A sampling:

old fisherman
—sounding the water’s depth
with his finger 11

—his frog tattoo leaps
with each stroke49

Talking on the step
—mud drying
on the farmer’s face45

In the woodcutter’s handshake
the swing
of his axe38

night watchman
unfolding shadows
from his handkerchief50

The heat—
seamstresses sewing
their sweat51

The maid—
polishing the star
on the dark floor52

Rainy day
—the gravedigger
polishing his shovel53

deeper into the marsh
the trapper’s grave54

Louvière showed special empathy for the homeless, disadvantaged, and handicapped, again often portraying them with irony or wry humor:

Fish truck
the deaf girl
turns around55

Summer drought—
the blind man’s cup
filling with sound56

in spring morning rain
—the young bag-lady rises
from her bright poncho

About “in spring morning rain” Patricia Neubauer wrote :

Most haiku about bag ladies evoke from the reader either feelings of sadness and pity, or a sense of the comic and the absurd. But Louvière has surprised us out of our conventional notions, for his bag lady is young, perhaps beautiful. Out of night shadows into tender dawnlight, she comes into being. Our mind’s eye suddenly swerves from the picture of a half-crazed, old woman to that of veritable goddess of spring.57

Louvière rarely mentioned himself in his work, adhering to the belief that haikai should be objective rather than subjective in nature. Still his emotional involvement is sometimes evident; haiku like these, for example, might suggest an unrequited relationship or even an assignation:

Searching for words
—her footsteps

Lantern light dimming
—we part
on the bridge59

She left at dawn
—a sparrow’s footprint
at the gate60

Another common theme—possibly personally significant for the poet—was a woman aging. Could this be the poet’s mother?

Coarse wrinkles 
in her open jar 
of face cream61

An old woman 
for her face lift34

dappling white bones 
her sunken eyes62

and he wrote many haiku about the end of life:

beside the patient’s bed
	               light bulb
	               flickering out63

Last rites
—someone steadies
the aging priest64

walking back
     my footprints
     in her ashes65

The poet himself died of lung cancer on May 2, 2003, at age 73 at his residence in New Orleans. His remains were cremated that month and, after a private memorial service in August, were deposited alongside those of his parents in the Broussard Cemetery in New Iberia, Louisiana.

Sources / Further Reading

Books and chapbooks

  • Louvière, Matthew. The Terrible Stars. New York: Litzenberger Press, 1st ed., 1958. Collection, prose poems.
  • Louvière, Matthew. The Marsh and Other Haiku and Senryu. Madison, Wis.: Modern Haiku Press, 2001.

Work in anthologies, calendars, etc.

  • “Haiku ’88,” Winning Poems of The Haven’s 1987 contest, in Michael McDaniel, ed., The Haven—New Poetry 4:1, 1988.
  • Higginson, William J. Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac. Tokyo, New York, and London: Kodansha International, 1996. 2 haiku.
  • Kacian, Jim, and the Red Moon editorial staff, eds. The Red Moon Anthology 1996. Berryville, Va.: Red Moon Press, 1997. 1 haiku.
  • Kacian, Jim, and the Red Moon editorial staff, eds. The Red Moon Anthology 1997. Berryville, Va.: Red Moon Press, 1998. 2 haiku.
  • Kacian, Jim, and the Red Moon editorial staff, eds. The Thin Curve: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 1999. Winchester, Va.: Red Moon Press, 2000. 1 haiku.
  • Kacian, Jim, and the Red Moon editorial staff, eds. The Loose Thread: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku [2001]. Winchester, Va.: Red Moon Press, 2002. 1 haiku.
  • Kacian, Jim, Philip Rowland, and Allan Burns, eds. Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years. Introduction by Billy Collins. New York and London: W. W. Norton & Co., 2013. 2 haiku.
  • Katō Kōko, ed. Four Seasons: Haiku Anthology Classified by Season Words in English and Japanese. Nagoya, Japan: Kō Poetry Association, 1991. 20 haiku.
  • Kirkup, James, David Cobb, and Peter Mortimer, eds. The Haiku Hundred. North Shields, Northumberland, U.K.: Iron Press, 1992. 1 haiku.
  • Priebe, David, comp. and ed. Timepieces: Haiku Week-at-a-Glance 1995. Los Angeles: Cloverleaf Books, 1995. 2 haiku.
  • Priebe, David, comp. and ed. Timepieces: Haiku Week-at-a-Glance 1997. Los Angeles: Cloverleaf Books, 1997. 3 haiku.
  • Ross, Bruce, ed. Haiku Moment: An Anthology of Contemporary North American Haiku. Boston, Rutland, Vt., and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1993. 14 haiku.
  • Santo Ikkoku, ed. and trans. 心の四季 / Soul of the Seasons: East and West. Osaka, Japan: JDC, 1999. 
  • Young, Virginia Brady, with Joe Nutt and Matthew Louvière, judges. “1991 Harold G. Henderson Awards. Frogpond 14:3 (Autumn 1991). 

Reviews, critiques, and commentary on Louvière and his works

  • Boynton, Bruce R., and Anita Virgil, “The Irrepressible Senryu: Prune Juice Feature,” Prune Juice 13 (March 2014).
  • Franke, Ruth. “American Death Poems.” Blithe Spirit 17:1 (2007). Reprinted reprinted in Dust of Summers (The Red Moon Anthology 2007), and with the German version as “Amerikanische Haiku: jisei—death poems—Sterbegedichte / American Death Poems (jisei),” Chrysanthemum 5 (2009).
  • Higginson, William J. “Seasoned Haiku: Summer.” Frogpond 13:2 (May 1990), 14–18. 
  • “In Memoriam Matthew Louvière, April 14, 1930–May 2, 2003. Modern Haiku 34:3 (Fall 2003), 76.
  • Louvière, Matthew. “Beginner’s Mind.” Woodnotes 31 (1997), 35–36. 
  • “The Marsh, and Other Haiku and Senryu, by Matthew Louvière.” Frogpond 24:3 (2001), 86. Book note.
  • Neubauer, Patricia. “Go to the Pine: The Making of a Haiku. Woodnotes 17 (Summer 1993), 4–9. 2 haiku.
  • Neubauer, Patricia. “Primavera (haiku by Matthew Louvière).” Modern Haiku 25:1 (Winter–Spring 1994), 30.
  • Noyes, H. F. Favorite Haiku, Vol. 2. Winchester, Va.: Red Moon Press, 1999. 1 haiku.
  • Noyes, H. F. Favorite Haiku: Vol. 4. Winchester, Va.: Red Moon Press, 2001. 1 haiku.
  • Noyes, H. F. Favorite Haiku: Vol. 5: Collected Essays. Winchester, Va.: Red Moon Press, 2002. 3 haiku.
  • Noyes, H. F. “Favorite Haiku.” Frogpond 22:1 (1999), 75. Two haiku by Matthew Louvière.
  • Noyes, H. F. “Favorite Haiku.” Frogpond 26:1 (2003), 67. Two haiku.
  • Noyes, H. F. “Favorite Haiku.” Modern Haiku 24:1 (Winter–Spring 1993).
  • Olson, Marian. “The Marsh and Other Haiku and Senryu, by Matthew Louvière.” Modern Haiku 32:3 (Fall 2001), 66–67. Review.
  • Spiess, Robert. “Ecopoems: Winners of the Rhyming Haiku Contest, edited by David Priebe.” Modern Haiku 23:1 (Winter–Spring 1992), 90. Review. 1 haiku.
  • Trumbull, Charles. “Matthew Louvière—Cajun Haikuist.” Paper read at the Haiku Society of America South Region Conference, Hot Springs, Ark., November 11, 2022.
  • Zuk, Edward. “Four Seasons,” Frogpond 25:1 (2002), 63–68. Joint reviews of The Marsh and Other Haiku and Senryu by Matthew Louvière [4 haiku], some sticks and pebbles by Robert Spiess, The Haiku Year by Tom Gilroy et al., and The Haiku Bag by Naomi Wakan.

Periodicals that published Louvière’s work

  • Dion, 1966 
  • Haiku Highlights, 1966–1969
  • Fireflower, 1968
  • Bonsai, 1976 
  • Dragonfly, 1976–1989
  • Modern Haiku, 1976–2004
  • Janus & SCTH, 1977
  • Old Pond, 1986– 1988
  • Frogpond, 1986–1999
  • Brussels Sprout, 1986–1995
  • Wind Chimes, 1986–1989
  • , 1987–1992
  • The Times-Picayune, 1987
  • Orphic Lute, 1987–1993
  • New Cicada, 1987– 1997
  • The Red Pagoda, 1987–1988
  • Haiku Zasshi Zō, 1987
  • Channels, 1987–1988 
  • Haiku Headlines, 1988–2000
  • Piedmont Literary Review, 1987–1996
  • Haiku Quarterly (Arizona), 1989–1991
  • Mainichi Daily News Haiku in English, 1989
  • Woodnotes, 1990–1997
  • Hummingbird, 1991 
  • The Archer, 1995
  • South by Southeast, 1996–1997
  • Azami, 1996–1998
  • Parnassus Literary Journal, 1997–2001
  • The Heron’s Nest, 1999–2000
  • Tundra, 1999
  • Point Judith Light, 2000


  • Member & Friend, Haiku Society of America, 1986–2001.
  • Co-judge (with Virginia Brady Young and Joe Nutt), Harold G. Henderson Haiku Awards, 1991.

Awards & Contests

  • Michael McDaniel, ed., The Haven—New Poetry 4:1 (“Haiku ’88,” Winning poems of The Haven’s 1987 contest), 1988, 33
  • Haiku Quarterly (Arizona) June 1989 Contest, Honorable Mention
  • Haiku Quarterly (Arizona) September 1989 Contest, 2nd Prize
  • Haiku Headlines Rhyming Haiku Contest, 1991, 2nd Honorable Mention
  • Haiku Headlines 53 (5:5, August 1992), Readers’ Choice Honorable Mention
  • Haiku Headlines 57 (5:9, December 1992, Readers’ Choice Honorable Mention
  • Haiku Headlines 60 (5:12, March 1993) #36, Readers’ Choice Honorable Mention
  • Haiku Headlines 61 (6:1, April 1993) #34, Readers’ Choice Honorable Mention
  • Haiku Headlines 62 (6:2, March 1993) #33, Readers’ Choice Others with commendable scores
  • Iga-Ueno Bashō Festival 1994, English Section, winner
  • Museum of Haiku Literature Award, Frogpond 18:2 (1995)
  • 1st International Kusamakura Haiku Competition, 1996, prize winner
  • 3rd International Kusamakura Haiku Competition, 1998, Nyūsen (3rd Prize)
  • Parnassus Haiku Contest 1998, First Place and 1 of 2 Honorable Mentions

Author: Charles Trumbull


  1. Bonsai 1:3 (19 July 1976). []
  2. H. F. Noyes, “Favorite Haiku,” Frogpond 22:1 (1999), 75. “Fork in the road” was first published in Modern Haiku 32:1 (Winter–Spring 2001), and “saying too much” appeared in a slightly different form in The Archer 32:3 (1995?) and in this version in Louvière’s The Marsh and Other Haiku and Senryu in 2001. Ruth Franke included “fork in the road” in her article “American Death Poems” in Blithe Spirit 17:1 (2007), later reprinted in Chrysanthemum and Dust of Summers: The 2007 Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku (2008). []
  3. Modern Haiku 34:3 (Autumn 2003). The haiku was originally published in Modern Haiku 32:1 (Winter–Spring 2001). []
  4. “In Memoriam,” Modern Haiku 34:3 (Autumn 2003); the haiku was originally published in Katō, ed. Four Seasons (1993). []
  5. Modern Haiku 35:1 (Winter–Spring 2004). []
  6. Per Marian Olson, “The Marsh and Other Haiku and Senryu, by Matthew Louvière,” Modern Haiku 32:3 (Fall 2001). We have been unable to locate a copy of this book or any additional information about it. []
  7. Louvière published this haiku in Haiku Highlights 5:2 (March–April 1969), 9, in this form:

              Parting from Yoon: snow,
        mountain, tent, half moon and his
              sad smile, lingering. []

  8. Louvière, “Beginner’s Mind” (1997). []
  9. From the sequence “Canoeing the Bend,” Modern Haiku 8:3 (August 1977). []
  10. Spiess, The Turtle’s Ears (1971). []
  11. Louvière, The Marsh. [] [] []
  12. From the sequence “Summer Ducks,” Dragonfly 14:3 (Summer 1986). []
  13. First published in Higginson, “Seasoned Haiku: Summer” Frogpond 13:2 (May 1990). []
  14. First published in Modern Haiku 23:1 (Winter–Spring 1992). []
  15. Jim Kacian et al., eds., The Loose Thread (Red Moon Anthology 2001). []
  16. The Red Moon Anthology 1996; first published in Modern Haiku 27:1 (Winter–Spring 1996). []
  17. The Red Moon Anthology 1997; first published in Modern Haiku 17:3 (Autumn 1986). []
  18. The Red Moon Anthology 1997; a prizewinner in the 1st International Kusamakura Haiku Competition, 1996. []
  19. The Thin Curve (The Red Moon Anthology 1999); first published in Santo Ikkoku, ed. and trans., Soul of the Seasons, 1999. []
  20. “Saying too much” and “fork in the road“ were chosen by H. F. Noyes and featured in his Favorite Haiku column in Frogpond 26:1 (2003), and the whole column was republished in Edge of Light, the Red Moon Anthology 2003. “Saying too much” was first published as “Catching herself / saying too much—the deaf girl / hides her hands” in The Archer 32:3 (1995?), reprinted in several places, and chosen for inclusion in Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (2013). []
  21. Haiku Highlights 2:9 (September 1966). []
  22. Both haiku from Modern Haiku 7:3 (August 1976). []
  23. Janus & SCTH 8:3 (January 1977). []
  24. Brussels Sprout 4:2 (1986). []
  25. Modern Haiku 17:2 (Summer 1986). []
  26. Brussels Sprout 4:3 & 4 (1987). []
  27. Neubauer, “Go to the Pine, (1993). The haiku was published in Katō, ed., Four Seasons (1991). []
  28. South by Southeast 3:3 (1996). [] []
  29. Woodnotes 19 (Winter 1993). []
  30. Azami 10 (1993?). []
  31. Neubauer. The haiku was first published in Haiku Quarterly (Arizona) 2:4 (Winter 1990). []
  32. Woodnotes 29 (Summer 1996). []
  33. Louvière, The Marsh. []
  34. Parnassus Literary Journal 18:1 (Spring 1994). [] []
  35. Parnassus Literary Journal 20:3 (Fall 1996). []
  36. (Autumn–Winter 1991). []
  37. Katō, Four Seasons (1991). []
  38. Modern Haiku 22:2 (Summer 1991). [] []
  39. Woodnotes 12 (Spring 1992). []
  40. South by Southeast 3:4 (1996). []
  41. Haiku Quarterly (Arizona) 1:3 (Autumn 1989). []
  42. Parnassus Literary Journal 21:1 (Spring 1987). []
  43. Orphic Lute 42:2 (Summer 1992). []
  44. Zuk, “Four Seasons,” Frogpond 25:1 (2002). []
  45. Piedmont Literary Review 17:4 (1994). [] []
  46. The Heron’s Nest 1:3 (November 1999). []
  47. New Cicada 10:2 (Summer 1997). []
  48. Modern Haiku 32:3 (Fall 2001). []
  49. Modern Haiku 25:2 (Summer 1994). []
  50. Haiku Quarterly (Arizona) 2:3 (Autumn 1990). []
  51. Dragonfly 14:7 (Summer 1987). []
  52. New Cicada 4:2 (Winter 1987). []
  53. Parnassus Literary Journal 17:3 (Fall 1993); Best Haiku of Issue. []
  54. Modern Haiku 21:1 (Winter–Spring 1990). []
  55. Frogpond 12:3 (August 1989). []
  56. Dragonfly 15:2 (Spring 1989). []
  57. Neubauer, “Primavera” (1994); the haiku was Louvière’s first contest win and was first published with different text in McDaniel, “Haiku ’88,” and first published with this wording in Mainichi Daily News Haiku in English, April 9, 1989. []
  58. Parnassus Literary Journal 18:4 (Winter 1994). []
  59. Parnassus Literary Journal 18:4 (Winter 1994). []
  60. Woodnotes 20 (Spring 1994). []
  61. Modern Haiku 25:1 (Winter–Spring 1994). []
  62. Haiku Quarterly (Arizona) 1:1 (Spring 1989). []
  63. South by Southeast 4:2 (1997). []
  64. Modern Haiku 24:3 (Fall 1993). []
  65. Parnassus Literary Journal 20:1 (Spring 1996). []
Updated on January 28, 2023