Thursday, May 21, 2015

Haiku Garden: Loree Griffin Burns

"talisman of hurt, of youth, of hope" by jenny downing

Loree Griffin Burns is a self-described beginner when it comes to writing haiku, though she's carried the form with her as a spiritual practice, if not a literary endeavor, for several years.

She tells me:
"It's how I keep myself connected to nature and to the now."

Loree was introduced to the practice by a 50 cent book that called to her from a used book shelf on a rainy vacation day in 2011. Since then, Seeds from a Birch Tree by Clark Strand has become her friend and constant companion. You can read Loree's review of Seeds From a Birch Tree in this blog post.

She pretty much kept the practice to herself until last month, when she decided to explore the form more deeply... and more publicly. She joined author and poet Liz Garton Scanlon in writing one haiku each day for National Poetry Month.

This is what Loree wrote on her blog after her daily haiku regimen was over. It's advice I've taken to heart:

Here’s the thing: writing haiku is something I’m new at. I’m still learning. And sharing work that is new and different from what you usually do means opening yourself up to the opinion of other people, to correction, and even to criticism. These are scary things!

But there is a law about scary things, you know. From what I can tell, it goes like this: being brave and working through scary things always works out for the best. Always.

How lucky we are that Loree's personal haiku journey has brought her to Today's Little Ditty.  I'm honored to present a small taste of her work here in the Haiku Garden.

"Kornblumen" by eLKayPics

taken in their prime
by a friendly guy and his
mower: cornflowers

© 2013 Loree Griffin Burns. All rights reserved.

Aside from her poetic wanderings, Loree is an award-winning writer whose books for young people have won many accolades, including ALA Notable designations, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book Award, an IRA Children’s Book Award, a Green Earth Book Award and two Science Books & Films (SB&F) Prizes. She holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and her books draw heavily on both her passion for science and nature and her experiences as a working scientist.

Loree shares her experiences as a scientist, a naturalist, and a writer in the classroom and with audiences of all ages. Visit her website for more information about books and research, teacher resources, and her public speaking programs.

Thank you for sharing your talent today, Loree.
Bravery is always welcome here. Always.


What a tremendous response to Nikki Grimes' DMC challenge this month! So far I've received 30 poems from 26 writers, several of whom are new contributors. Do you know how happy that makes me? Whatever you're thinking, double it.

Featured poems this week included my own, and ones by Linda Mitchell, Donna Smith, and Margaret Simon. With one more week to go, there's still time to send in your free verse poem. Click HERE for all the details.

  • I'm SO close to 200 likes on my Facebook author's page, I can taste it! I hope you'll help push me over the edge (grin). You'll find a "Like" button here on my blog, in the sidebar to the right.
  • Did you know I'm also on Pinterest? Would love to connect with you over there too!


Matt Forrest Esenwine is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. Good news, good poetry... he has it all!


  1. Thanks for sharing Loree's haiku -- she's such an amazing scientist and author. I love how she writes haiku to keep herself connected to nature and the now. Yes!

  2. See, the cornflower Haiku is my kinda Haiku. I know English has more syllables per word than the Japanese words, but I STILL can't help it - I like the rigid format of 5-7-5 and never have been able to consider anything else a Haiku.
    Scientists "grounding themselves" with poetry - I would not have thought it - like the physician at Laura Shovan's today....

  3. I too wrote a haiku all of April, and learned a little, need to write many, many more. Loree's haiku holds many layers, doesn't it? Thanks for sharing, Michelle, and the book Loree loves, too.

    1. Linda, SEEDS is out of print, but is fairly easy to buy used at places like BetterWorldBooks. It's a lovely book. Worth seeking out. I hope you like it!

  4. This is such a lovely poem. She may be new at this, but she sure nailed it on that one.

    1. Thank you, Rosi. I think it looks better in Michelle's garden than anywhere else!

  5. That is a great haiku. I'd like to write more. I've got a few books of haikus ordered through the library.

  6. Like Donna said, it is fascinating to see another side of a writer we know so well through science and nonfiction.

    The more I write haiku, the more I realize that there are infinite layers of subtlety one can work to perfect. Kinda like Tai Chi.

  7. Oooh! I have her bee book and want her butterfly book. And now I can admire her haiku and hope she creates a collection someday. :-) The haiku garden is blooming beautifully!

  8. Beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing. I'm another who like 5-7-5.