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The Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration

The rolling haiku collaboration is an interactive linked poem on the World Wide Web composed of haiku or other short-form poems submitted over a very short time span by poets from around the world in response to a preset theme. It was conceived by Jim Kacian and members of The Haiku Foundation Board in 2015 and named the Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration. Earthrise has been held each year on April 17, International Haiku Poetry Day, under THF sponsorship; themes have typically been keyed to United Nations–designated “international years” and encapsulated in a “seed haiku” chosen by THF.


The Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration (Earthrise), one of the world’s largest collaborative poems, is an interactive event created and administered by The Haiku Foundation (THF), in which poets respond to a “seed poem,” or to the responses of other poets, or even introduce new threads aligned with the theme.

Each year since 2015, Earthrise has begun at one minute past midnight at the International Date Line on April 17 and runs through midnight in the time zone of the offices of the Foundation (Eastern Daylight Time)—that is to say, the entire activity is completed in 32 hours. The themes are generally aligned with the official yearly designations of the United Nations or other international organization. Hundreds of poets from around the world participate yearly, offering any number of poems in English by posting them directly as comments to the website post giving the seed poem. Contributors are encouraged to include their country of residence.

The resulting poem, though reminiscent of other cumulative web anthologies, or print senku poetry (1,000 linked verses), such as Carl Heinz Kurz’s, Das große Buch der Senku-Dichtung / The Great Book of Senku Poetry 1 has its own characteristic identity. Created within a very short time span, it lacks the formalism of renga/renku. As there is no insistence on responding to the seed poem (as in gunsaku), there may be digression and thus no continuity of theme. Verses are included in the order they are posted, and no selection or judging is involved (except for ensuring compliance with accepted norms of web behavior)—the emphasis being on celebrating haiku in the spirit of sharing poems among the global haiku community.

The Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration, administered and collated by Jim Kacian, is featured and archived on The Haiku Foundation website as well as by other related organizations involved in that year’s theme.

Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2020

Theme: “The Year of the Nurse” (as designated by the WHO)

Seed poem:

no visitors today
I call the nurse again

          Verse by William J. Higginson from “Lunar New Year,” a kasen renku.
         2

Respondents: nearly 500

Verses: more than 600

Text available here

Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2019

Theme: “The Year of Indigenous Languages” (as designated by the United Nations)

Seed poem:

FUJI CONCEALED IN A MIST.

Into a sea of mist whither hath Mt. Fuji sunk?

          Verse by unknown poet, trans. W.G. Aston
         3

Respondents: more than 500

Verses: nearly 1000

Text available here

Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2018

Theme: “The Year of the Bird” (as designated by the National Audubon Society)

Seed poem:

its ghostly cry
falls from the sky, invisible
skylark

          Ampū (1701 – ?), trans. J. Kacian  

Respondents: 779

Verses: more than 1000

Text available here

Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2017

Theme: “The Year of Reconciliation” (as designated by the THF Board)

Seed poem:

perfuming the man
who broke its branch
—plum blossoms

          Chiyo-ni (1703 –1775) (trans. J. Kacian)

Respondents: more than 200

Verses: more than 350

Text available here

Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2016

Theme: “The Year of the Foodcrop” (as designated by the United Nations)

Seed poem:

where culture
begins—a rustic
rice-planting song

          Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694) (trans. J. Kacian) 

Respondents: more than 225

Verses: nearly 300

Text available here

Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2015

Theme: “The Year of Light” (as designated by the United Nations)

Seed poem:

will anyone
not be taking up his pen?
tonight’s moon

          Uejima Onitsura (1661–1738) (trans. J. Kacian)

Respondents: more than 400

Verses: more than 500

Text available here

COMPILED BY: Jim Kacian

ADAPTED FROM: The Haiku Foundation Website

RELATED HAIKUPEDIA ARTICLES:

International Haiku Poetry Day

HaikuLife Haiku Film Festival

HaikuNow! International Haiku Contest

The Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems

The Touchstone Distinguished Books Awards

  1. Carl Heinz Kurz, ed., Das große Buch der Senku-Dichtung / The Great Book of Senku Poetry (Göttingen, Germany: Verlag Graphikum Dr. Mock, 1992). []
  2. “Lunar New Year,” a kasen renku by William J. Higginson, Elizabeth Searle Lamb, and Penny Harter, written February 8, 1997, Santa Fe, N.M. First published in Elizabeth Searle Lamb, Across the Windharp: Collected and New Haiku (Albuquerque, N.M.: La Alameda Press, 1999). []
  3. From W. G. Aston, A Grammar of the Japanese Written Language (London / Yokohama: Trübner & Co. / Lane, Crawford & Co., 2nd edition, 1877). []
Updated on September 22, 2020