Global Haiku • Spring 2020
Dr. Randy Brooks

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Nicole Curatti

reader response essay:

Madeline Wilson's Haiku



Grad My Hand
A Collection of Haiku

Nicole Curatti

Niki Curatti learned about the art of haiku during her senior year at Millikin University. She took Dr. Randy Brooks’ Global Haiku class and fell in love with painting her view of the world she lives in, through her haiku. She enjoys spending her free time in nature and listening to psychedelic rock’n’roll. She views her haiku as light-hearted and thoughtful. She chose these haiku to include in her collection: Grab My Hand because they best exemplify the journey she wants to take the reader on.

Puddles all around Obstacles or Opportunities:
The Art of Writing Haiku

I was introduced to the Global Haiku class by a friend who took it the previous semester. I needed an English credit and she said that the class was a lot of fun and that learning to write haiku was really interesting. When I signed up for the class on scheduling day, I was completely unaware that the class would end up changing my outlook on life.

Haiku is whatever the artist makes of it. Some focus deeply on their technique, others let the haiku flow simply as they pop into their heads. Some people only write haiku about certain topics, while others leave their haiku open to whatever inspires them. Often, haiku acts as a mirror, reflecting the life that the artist lives and imagines. Reading and analyzing haiku is a beautiful way of getting to know someone. In just three short lines, readers can feel, see, taste, hear, smell, and imagine all that the artist had when writing the haiku.

Through the duration of the class, we were given the tools we need to become artists of haiku. We learned about the different types of haiku, senryu, haibun, and renga. We read haiku from over thirty different professional and student artists, teaching us different styles and techniques. We learned about the history behind haiku. And we learned how to become our own artists.

Learning to become my own artist was one of the most enriching experiences of my college career. Through guidance, I wrote in different settings, I wrote about different topics, and I wrote in different states of mind. I began to discover what my art looked and felt like. I began to understand my world and the things around me, on a different level. Throughout my life, I have struggled to find things that I felt good at, things that I could make my own, enjoy, and cherish. Haiku became that for me. Writing haiku makes me feel confident in my artistic abilities, something that I had been searching for at Millikin. Writing haiku connects me with nature and others. It inspires me to see and embrace my world to its fullest and that is something that will follow me for the rest of my life.

Writing haiku isn’t an activity, it’s a state of mind. Once you’re introduced to that state of mind, it puts down a down payment and moves right in. I may not write haiku as often, but I know that I will always be in the haiku state of mind, that is appreciating, questioning, pondering, and being present in the life around me. This state of mind will do me well in any haiku that I write down the road, as well as in being grounded and grateful. I’m grateful for the opportunities that this class has given me to explore my artistry and world, and I’m grateful for the ways that I know it will impact my life in the future.

~Niki Curatti, Spring 2020

backyard magnolia
its pink petals
we blush together

The other day, we read our collections to the class and got a bit of feedback. The feedback I got on this was great and helped me recognize something about my own haiku style. The reviewer mentioned that I tend to personify and fantasize nature a lot. I agree and I really like that about my haiku! I love nature and I love the way that I’m able to connect with it. It makes me feel accomplished and emotionally transparent when I’m able to convey that through my haiku. Niki Curatti, Spring 2020

they lose their heads,
their arms, their legs,
animal crackers.

This was one of the first haiku in which I truly felt confident. It shows my style perfectly in that it’s playful and quirky. It makes you think a bit, but leaves the reader feeling satisfied. I was and am really proud of this haiku. Niki Curatti, Spring 2020

grab my hand
said the sun
I’ll show you something

I chose this as my signature haiku because of how welcoming it is. The warmth of the sun, the excitement and curiosity of being led somewhere you haven’t been, and the connection it has to nature. I want to warmly welcome people into my little haiku world and I think this haiku does that wonderfully in itself as well as through its resemblance of my style. Niki Curatti, Spring 2020

plucking raspberries
in the backyard
taste-test casualties

This again was a haiku that wonderfully captured my playful nature. It has a touch of nostalgia and it appeals to multiple senses (in the sight and taste of red raspberries, the touch of picking them from the bush, etc.). It’s a bit dramatic, but in a goofy way, and the language used is appealing. Niki Curatti, Spring 2020

the backseat
a space shuttle to the moon
are we there yet?

This haiku is exciting, nostalgic, and imaginative. It brings me back to being a kid, sitting in the backseat, and imagining that our destination was somewhere just as exciting as the moon itself. It takes readers to a different place, transporting them to whichever distant land or memory they chose to indulge in. Niki Curatti, Spring 2020

haiku recipe book

Haiku Recipe Book by Niki Curatti

return to the ocean
wind in my hair
whispers of sandcastle dreams


flickering candles between us
whisper a secret
yours are hazel

the plastic yard flamingo
left leg

cold fingerpaints
rainbow turns

the oak
extends its branch
care to talk?

mud sunk
size four: red sneaker
tries to save its sole

hair shorter than before
the win still gives it a     toss

groundhog in quarantine
runs back to the porch
when I walk by

the whole family
takes a walk.
to check the mail.

buds into blossoms
we grow more fragile
but more beautiful

sitting on the ledge
the kitten poses
a gargoyle in training

phone poles stretching
from yard to yard
urban palm tree

soft yellow light
dripping through their window
she reaches for the coffee

my fingers
twirl a piece of grass.
the wind gives it a try

stones in her pocket
her dreams
don’t float away

her left eye
different from the right
black and blue

written in cursive
grandma’s recipe
calls for fresh blueberries


the calf glances up
at its grazing mother
am I doing this right?

not a human in sight
the trees feel free
to dance


he drinks beer
he heard
men drink beer

white picket fence
at high noon
our lonely walk together

pandemic poker
wager: one roll
royal flush

caps and gowns
tassels and diplomas
we walk to the fridge

and the Earth
took one big
deep breath

sand at the bottom of my pocket
from the sea shells
she asked me to hold

sweatpants grasping my hips
sweatshirt hugging my shoulders
we dance

red and white checkers
between us
and the grass

one arm per kid
a mother reads
bedtime stories

spinning out of control,
no one on it

puddles all around.
obstacles or

the jukebox played
across the checkered floor
we danced

fireflies bounce
a trampoline

as many branches as there are in a tree
are benches for


© 2020, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.