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Upstate Dim Sum

Upstate Dim Sum inaugural issue, spring 2001

Upstate Dim Sum is the biannual journal/anthology of the Route 9 Haiku Group published in the Capital Area of New York State continuously since 2001. Regularly featured are selections of recent haiku and senryu by each group member, John Stevenson, Hilary Tann, Yu Chang, Tom Clausen, and Mary Stevens; two haiga by group member Ion Codrescu; and six haiku by a different guest poet in each issue.  


Upstate Dim Sum is the biannual journal/anthology of the Route 9 Haiku Group. It was first published in 2001 and has appeared in spring and fall ever since then, recently celebrating its 20th anniversary of publication. The publication was inaugurated by Route 9 founding members John Stevenson, Hilary Tann, and Yu Chang. Tom Clausen joined the group in 2002 and Mary Stevens in 2021. Ion Codrescu, residing in Romania, began participating in 2006. Thus, an issue of Upstate Dim Sum usually contains 15–20 haiku and senryu from each group member and six more from a guest poet. Codrescu contributes two haiga to each issue, including one on a haiku of his own and another with a haiku by the issue’s guest poet. 

Selection of material for an issue of Upstate Dim Sum begins at the Route 9 Haiku Group meetings. The group gathers monthly at the Tai Pan Restaurant in Halfmoon, N.Y. (or online via Zoom during the Covid-19 pandemic). Each member offers a dozen or so new haiku or senryu, with each verse written on index cards, one for each member present. The first card is then dealt out, read silently and discussed by the group, followed by the next poet’s first poem, and so forth. At the end of the session, the favorite poems are added to a pool for the next issue of Upstate Dim Sum. Only about half of the poems in the pool are eventually used in the journal, but many others will be accepted by other haiku publications. Yu Chang is responsible for making the final selection and sequencing them in the issue (influenced by the principles of renku composition).

A centerfold spread in each issue presents six haiku by an invited guest poet. In the back of each issue, John Stevenson introduces the guest poet and provides an update on group members’ activities. A list of all UDS guest poets also appears at the back of each issue (see below). 

UDS cover art comprises photographs, most often black-and-white images by Yu Chang or Hilary Tann’s sister Helen.The journal is printed by Vincy’s Printing, Rotterdam, N.Y., in two colors, black and red, in Bernhard Modern Bold typeface. Trim size is 5″ by 7.5”. Tann and Chang handle arrangements with the printer, and Stevenson is in charge of fulfilling subscriptions. Clausen and Chang maintain the stock of back issues that are still available. Copies are $5 each, $8 for a year, and $20 for five issues; remarkably, the price of subscriptions has remained unchanged for 20 years.  The Upstate Dim Sum website is maintained by Yu Chang.

Haiga by Ion Codrescu
on a haiku by Lee Gurga,
Upstate Dim Sum 2020/I

Upstate Dim Sum issues, guest poets, and special features

Issue numberGuest poet / Special feature
2001/ITom Clausen
2001/IIJim Kacian
2002/IRuth Yarrow
2002/IIChristopher Herold
2003/IMichael Dylan Welch
2003/IIIon Codrescu
2004/IA. C. Missias
2004/IICor van den Heuvel
2005/IPeggy Willis Lyles
2005/IIMichael McClintock
2006/IWilliam J. Higginson
2006/IIFay Aoyagi
2007/Ivincent tripi
2007/IICarolyn Hall
2008/IJames W Hackett
2008/IIBillie Wilson
2009/Ipaul m.
2009/IIRoberta Beary
2010/IGeorge Swede
2010/IIA Celebration of Guest Poets
2011/IEmiko Miyashita
2011/IIPenny Harter
2012/I (Spring)Garry Gay
2012/II (Autumn)John Barlow
2013/I (Spring)Marlene Mountain
2013/II (Autumn)Randy Brooks
2014/I (Spring)Tom Painting
2014/II (Autumn)Ron C. Moss
2015/I (Spring)Richard Gilbert
2015/IISummer Nijuin Renku
2016/IScott Mason
2016/II (Autumn)Chad Lee Robinson
2017/I (Spring)Kala Ramesh
2017/II (Autumn)Gary Hotham
2018/I (Spring)Sheila Windsor
2018/II (Autumn)Michael Ketchek
2019/I (Spring)Charles Trumbull
2019/II (Autumn)Ferris Gilli
2020/I (Spring)Lee Gurga
2020/II (Autumn)A Celebration of Our Twentieth Anniversary
2021/I (Spring)Francine Banwarth

Upstate Dim Sum is unique in English language haiku, partly because of its longevity and partly because it showcases the work of just four poet-friends over the course of more than two decades. Over the years, readers of Upstate Dim Sum have come to know the poets as individuals and the group as an example of what is possible in haiku and friendship bridging time and togetherness. 

The Upstate Dim Sum team in 2013:
Hilary Tann, Tom Clausen, John Stevenson, and Yu Chang
Photo taken August 28, 2013, on the way to Onawa, Maine (from the Upstate Dim Sum website)

AUTHOR: Tom Clausen

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Updated on June 27, 2021