My Red: The Selected Haiku
of John Stevenson

by John Stevenson


My Red: The Selected Haiku of John Stevenson

ISBN 978-1-929820-21-4 • 2021
160 pages clothbound • $30.00 US

publication date: July 7, 2021

Brooks Books is pleased to publish My Red: The Selected Haiku of John Stevenson in our series of clothbound editions of selected haiku. As a selected haiku collection, it includes the very best haiku by an author who has spent a significant portion of his or her life’s work in this genre. Our selection process began with the author who reviewed all 2,183 haiku published by Summer of 2020. John made the initial selection of 774 favorite haiku for review by our team of readers. Special thanks are due to the several readers who have reviewed, evaluated and assisted the editors with the selection of the haiku to be included in this book.

Several accomplished haiku writers, editors and colleagues reviewed these 744 haiku — evaluating and responding with brief ratings of yes, maybe, no, or pass for each haiku. From the first round about 133 haiku were clearly in the YES category. We followed with another review of the MAYBE haiku resulting in another 97 being selected for inclusion in this collection. These enthusiastic readers have provided a valuable service, and it is my pleasure to publicly thank them for their assistance. The readers for this collection include: John Stevenson, Randy Brooks, Shirley Brooks, Richard Gilbert, Ferris Gilli, Jim Kacian, Hilary Tann, Alan Summers, Michael McClintock and Millikin University alumni, Niki Currati.

~ Randy Brooks, Editor
Taylorville, Illinois
April 20, 2021

ISBN 978-1-929820-21-4

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In order to celebrate the publication of this collection, John Stevenson commissioned a promotiona videol trailer. He hopes you will enjoy it and that this small sample of poems from MY RED will encourage you to read the entire collection.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkgX2o2zzZ0

This video reading of haiku by John Stevenson was produced by Logan Rando.

INTERNATIONAL PDF Edition

Due to the expense of shipping a clothbound book to international addresses, Brooks Books is pleased to offer a PDF edition of MY RED: The Selected Haiku of John Stevenson for haiku orders ONLY from addresses outside the United States. The price for the PDF edition is the same as the print edition, but this saves international customers the $25 postage cost.

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SAMPLE HAIKU

Christmas Day
the exchange
of custody

 

class reunion
everybody loved
my wife

 

full moon
I’ve never been
the only one

 

Oscar night
adjusting the cuffs
of my pajamas

 

 

since you moved
just a road
I don’t go down

 

never touching
his own face
tyrannosaurus

 

revising poems
a third cup of tea
from the same bag

 

in the pollen
on my car
her signature

“In New York State, in the land of the old Iroquois Confederacy, is a writer with a darker vision than most American haiku poets. John Stevenson, who was born in Ithaca on October 9, 1948, grew up in the wooded farm and vineyard areas of the Finger Lakes region, and has lived all his life in New York. Half his life has been spent in rural areas, the rest in Buffalo, Ithaca, and New York City.

Stevenson began as an art major at Buffalo State College but graduated with a degree in theater and was a professional actor for most of his twenties. Stevenson relates this activity to his haiku writing, believing that the two pursuits ‘have important areas of shared aesthetics.’ . . . it is not surprising that he admires the work of Samuel Beckett: ‘Beckett’s impulse toward ever briefer dramas both parallels and strongly contrasts with my sense of the motives that attract me and other Westerners to the brevity of haiku.’

Stevenson’s views of life and the world, and his choice of subject matter, result in haiku that suggest the cynical and ironic existential despair that Beckett’s plays relentlessly and broodily embody. Of course Stevenson writes other kinds of haiku as well, but this trend is apparent in much of his work.

~ Cor van den Heuvel

“No one has the authority to tell you what an English-language haiku should be, especially not me. This is an open question and still in the process of being answered. But since you are, at this moment, offering your poems to me, I can tell you something about what I like in a haiku. I like to see a simple but well-made poem that registers first as a clear sensory image and then suggests “something more.” If that “something more” resolves quickly into some particular thought or insight — an answer — that is less satisfying for me than if it remains an indefinite stimulation of intuition. I prefer this, not because I value the senses and intuition over intellect but because I believe that, once the rational mind is engaged, it tends to dull and even overpower any further input from the senses and intuition.”

~ John Stevenson


“It has long been my contention that at any given time there are only a few true poets working in any particular genre. They generally fall into one of two categories: poets who are ahead of their time, and will not be recognized until time has stripped away what is extraneous; and poets who are recognized as speaking so perfectly to their time that their work seems an embodiment of it. John Stevenson is of this latter camp.”

~ Jim Kacian