Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Humbled by the Might of a Few Words:
An Interview with Glenn G. Coats
Since beginning writing haiku in the 1990s to his focus on haibun starting in 2009, Glenn Coats has had numerous haiku and haibun published in a variety of online and print journals. A New Resonance 6 (Red Moon Press, 2009) included Coats as one of the “emerging voices in English-language haiku.” At this point, were there a publication dedicated to 'emerging voices in English-language haibun' his voice would certainly be among them. While many interviews are focused on the recognized names in the field (aka writers whose work has been appearing regularly for many years), it's also instructive to explore the experiences and visions of newer writers who, like Glenn, are achieving success with a variety of editors. ~ Ray Rasmussen
Glenn, Why did you start writing? What were the beginnings and the initial genres?
I attended college in North Carolina (Mars Hill) and read a lot about music and listened to singer songwriters especially Eric Anderson, Tim Buckley, Tom Paxton, Joni Mitchell, Ian and Sylvia, and many others. I was eighteen years old and I remember reading a poem in a magazine called Circus and thinking I can do this. I started by writing a love poem and it looked and sounded like song lyrics. That is how I wrote for a long time. I had a friend (Leisa Foran) who played guitar and sang. I would give her lyrics and she set them to music. For years, none of my poems were published and I was content to include them in letters or give them as gifts to my wife. In fact, my first published works were songs published in The Black Sheep Review and Learning.
It wasn’t until I took the rhyme out of my poems that they began to find a way into journals. My work changed when I became fascinated with the lyric prose of Byrd Baylor. I liked the way her prose fell in thin lines like ropes down a page (I’m In Charge of Celebrations, If You Are A Hunter of Fossils, Everybody Needs A Rock, etc.) and I began to experiment with a similar style. I suddenly found a way to write that felt natural and the style has stayed with me through the years.
I began to expand my poems into stories written in lyric prose. “Highway Song” was published in this style in Highlights for Children (July 1999). A few editors asked me to rewrite stories in standard prose so I then began writing in a more traditional manner. My fiction was easier to place in journals and anthologies when I submitted in standard prose.
What were your beginnings in haiku, Glenn?
I began writing haiku in the 1990s as I taught the form in poetry classes. My first published haiku was in bottle rockets. Stanford Forrester was the first editor who offered suggestions and helped to guide my work as in the example below where he suggested that I break the habit of writing one long phrase (sentence haiku).
soaks the cracked cheeks
of a concrete boy
the cracked cheeks
of a concrete boy
(Naming the Boulders 2009)
I was drawn to haiku, Ray, because of its economy of words. It was amazing to me that just a few lines could send me into constructing an entire story. Haiku is hard to write well and I don’t think that I have reached a point in my writing where I can say this is it, I have this genre down. For me, it doesn’t work like that. I just keep reading and writing and trying to get my words down in a way that matters to me.
My interest in writing haiku also came from teaching students how to write poetry. It evolved slowly over time. I used books by many writers to inspire poems: Eve Merriam (Fresh Paint), Joanne Ryder (My Father’s Hands), Ntozake Shange (i live in music), Paul B. Janeczko (The Place My Words Are Looking For), Nancy White Carlstrom (Where Does the Night Hide?), among many others. After I read an article by William J. Higginson and then his books The Haiku Handbook and Wind in the Long Grass, I began to use what I learned about haiku in my teaching.
With each poet that I would introduce to the students, I would try a similar style myself. The final section in Eve Merriam’s Fresh Paint is titled “A Throw of Threes.” Each three line poem is a list suggested by the title. The idea inspired both adults and children to try their own.
twirling the star-shaped stem
biting into the ruddy globe
sliding out the satin seeds
Eve Merriam (Fresh Paint)
I used short poems by William Carlos Williams and Langston Hughes to encourage writing as well as an obscure book titled Photographs and Poems by Sioux Children (Rapid City, South Dakota 1971). The photographs were all taken by Sioux students of the Porcupine Day School in 1969-70. The students then wrote short poems inspired by photographs. These too, caused my own students as well as me to compose brief poems based on photos.
Winter in the hills
Cold and cloudy
Wind and snow
(Robert White Thunder)
Winter reaches toward light
At the end of the deep darkness
It is clear to me that by teaching short forms of poetry and seeing how they could influence the writing of both students and adults, that my own work began to move in a new direction.
How did you go about teaching to students?
My administrators gave me five or six weeks each winter to work as a guest author with fifth grade students and their classroom teachers. I used that extended time frame to begin each session by reading poems to the students. I wrote down haiku on chart paper and tried grouping them by themes. I also added haiku of my own and the children began to write their own poems. My message to the classroom teachers was, “There are so many lessons to be learned from reading and teaching haiku: how to choose words wisely, how to say more with less, how to let the reader fill in the rest of the story, how to move a reader with emotion without ever once using words like happy, sad, angry, and how to be humbled by the might of a few words.”
What about haibun?
Haibun is a different story, Ray. I had read haibun in journals, especially Frogpond and bottle rockets for a number of years but never thought of writing my own. In the spring of 2009, my wife and I attended the Haiku Holiday in North Carolina. We met a number of fine North Carolinian haijin including Lenard Moore, Bob Moyer, Teresa Church, Richard Straw and many others. Richard gave me a chapbook of his haibun titled The Longest Time. As I read that collection back home in Virginia, it was as if I was struck by lightning. In that small collection, Richard was able to describe the small town in Ohio where he had grown up in the fifties and sixties with prose and haiku that I found both direct and accessible. Each sentence seemed pristine and each word carefully chosen. In “A Helping Hand,” he writes,
“The upside-down bakery and fruit stand across the street are locked in late afternoon shadows between the elms, whose tops are rooted in the darkening sky.”
The haibun ends with this haiku:
dad stands over me
long summer night
And as I read his haibun about family outings, factories, fishing trips as well as loss, I decided that I wanted to tell my own story in much the same way. I read The Longest Time many times and responded to Straw’s writing with my own words:
snap of wind
the toy gun hangs
to his knees
(White Lotus, 2009)
the shepherd blinks
at the manger
(White Lotus, 2009)
I spent the next few months rereading all the haibun that I could find on my shelves as well as the collection edited by Bruce Ross (Journey to the Interior). I wanted to follow in Richard Straw’s footsteps and write about hometown and childhood memories. However, I knew that my own story would not be so idyllic. I had lived in three towns, and experienced bullies, fights, abuse. I let my memory carry me back to both positive and painful moments. By summer, I felt I was ready to give the form a try and I started out writing, and for the next year I believed that I could not stop writing. There was no order to the events that I described—I bounced all over the place.
So haibun became your dominant, if not your only, mode of writing?
Yes, I am inspired by the world of haiku and haibun and that is how I tell my own story. They have become the way that I respond to the world around me. They are both honest and direct and that was becoming harder to do in my fiction.
Do you miss writing fiction?
The only thing that I miss about writing fiction is that I stretched the process over time–dreaming of the next section (what comes next). Haiku and haibun are intense like bursts of story; and at times I miss the ongoing process that longer fictional pieces demand.
Glenn, would you please share one of your favourite haibun and to tell us about it. What makes it special to you? What motivated you to write it?
“Signs” (HT 6:3, September 2012) is a favorite haibun and one that is important to me. It describes a point in my life where I had reached a crossroads.
When I announced in the fall of 2005 that I was going to retire from teaching, it came as a shock and surprise to friends and family who felt I would always remain in the classroom. I started teaching in 1972 and stayed in the same school system my entire career (Flemington, New Jersey). After thirty-four years, the schools, students, the calendar, and even the long commute had become part of my identity. My fellow teachers were like family. Teaching filled my conscious and unconscious thoughts and I had had dreams about teaching for much of my life. I didn’t realize just how great my bond with teaching was until I stopped and for the first few months away it was difficult: what to do, what to save, what next?
“Signs” harkens back to the thoughts that led to my abrupt retirement announcement: how the ride wore me down, how the meetings and conferences became things to dread, and how I handled comments by students, parents, and colleagues. The haibun reveals that the decision was not sudden at all.
The miles are the same this year as they were the year before and the one before that. Same detour around the highway where part of the road broke into the river. Same bright sunlight, head-on, along Route Twelve. Same pockets of cool air where the forest is dense beside the road. Why does the ride feel longer? Why am I always looking at my watch?
The steady repeat of back-to-school nights and parent conferences like the return of birds from the north. The daily grind of thirty minute sessions, of scheduling the difficult reading problems first to get them over with. Splash cold water on my face between periods three and four to wake up.
Chelsea’s mother says I am a fine teacher. Knows that I helped Adam with his confusions and showed him how to match words one-to-one. It’s just that Chelsea is a little afraid of me. Says that I am her first older teacher.
green of spring
the stop and start
of a new reader
the casts we squeeze in
The last haiku is significant to me—how we hold on to things (the light, routines) in order to keep going, in order to teach one more student, to cast one last line on the river before it is too late.
Was there a high school teacher or relative or writer whose work inspired you?
I have been inspired more by authors and editors than teachers, Ray. For example, Nights under a Tin Roof by James A. Autry inspired me to use dialogue in a new way. Autry recalls people and events from his southern boyhood and captures the voices that were part of his young life and those voices sound authentic. Words that someone says are indented from the body of a poem and written in italics. They are not introduced by says or said. They seem like characters just stepping up on a stage and talking. I began to use the same device in my poems.
I learned about honesty from Len Roberts. All of his volumes of poetry (Dangerous Angels, Sweet Ones, Counting the Black Angels, The Trouble-Making Finch, The Disappearing Trick) deal with a past that involved an alcoholic father and an abusive mother. They are the threads that tie most of his poems together and there is a beauty and honesty that shines through his words. I wanted my own work to reflect that quality and write without worry about what others will think. I believe I write that way now.
Menke Katz was the editor of Bitterroot (International Poetry Journal). He took the time to make suggestions and from him I learned to strip away non essential words, and to sometimes find two poems within the one that I had written. Katz published my first poem. It is called “The Gull” and I remember being crushed by his initial suggestions. Yet the images that he suggested cutting were not necessary and the poem is better because of his advice.
I wrote for The Journal of Reading Recovery for a decade. The second editor that I worked with was Judith Chibante Neal. She went on to edit all of the poems in Trying to Move Mountains. I learned many things from her. She taught me to be consistent in my use of capital letters and punctuation. Neal wanted my poems to be understood by teachers and clarity became very important. She would tell me when something did not make sense and I could not have asked for a better teacher.
I know that Peggy Lyles helped countless writers with their haiku. She too, took the time to make suggestions and to point me in the right direction. I have read her book To Hear the Rain many times and in 2010, I wrote these words on page 19:
prayers worn deep
in the wood
(The Heron’s Nest, December 2010)
Glenn, given that you only started writing haibun in 2009, I can say from my own early experiences in submitting my work to editors and as an editor regularly reading the work of new writers to the genre, that your work has found a rather impressive acceptance among a variety of editors. For example, in my first year, I think that I had perhaps one or two haibun accepted and far many more rejections. What was your reaction to finding that initial acceptance of your work? And how do you explain that your experience is so different than that of most new writers to the genre?
I had already been writing prose for a long time. My form of writing was short stories and I wrote in bursts (one editor’s words) so I was comfortable writing prose and at times criticized for my short sentences. I was influenced by writers whose work was precise: William Maxwell, Amy Hempel, David Adams Richards, Cynthia Rylant, and especially Sam Shepard (Hawk Moon, Motel Chronicles, and Cruising Paradise). So in a way, I may have been rehearsing for haibun. My fiction was divided into a series of stories about a farmer named Lowel Halloran and his extended family, as well as children’s stories (mainly about a boy named Charlie and his grandfather), and stories that I wrote for testing materials (Swalm & Coultas Educational Publishers). The stories for testing materials had a maximum word count and I had to use plain language.
So, although my earlier work was fiction, it was all based on true people and events. It had to feel real to me. I think that by reading so many haibun before penning my own, that I had a strong sense of the poetic prose that characterizes haibun.
Still, I was surprised, Ray, by the immediate acceptance of my work, and that encouragement only fostered a desire to work harder and write more. Lately, I have slowed down the process of sending work out. I will keep haibun for months reading and rereading them—trying to get it right. A single word or phrase has become very important to me.
Most haibun share personal experiences. Your style, Glenn, is also strongly self-revelatory—recounting experiences from your past and your present life. How does this affect your friends and family? What do they make of these personal accounts of your life? Or do you share them with family and friends?
I have been asked this question before and it is one that I have thought a lot about. When I wrote Trying to Move Mountains (2004 Reading Recovery Council of North America, Inc.), I was writing about my observations of students who struggle with reading and writing. I was writing about real people and I changed all the names. I used the phone book and What Shall We name the Baby? to find names that felt true to me. Since the book was meant for teachers, I felt comfortable with the changes that I made. For the most part, I do the same thing with my haibun, I change names to ones I can believe are real.
However, I learned some painful lessons when Bullies (1995 Big Easy Press) was published. I wrote about difficult people and difficult situations in my life and for the first time members of my family were uncomfortable with my words. Especially “The Owl” and “Near Horses” which I could tell hurt some feelings. I decided that some subjects needed to either be off limits or heavily disguised. My family wished that I wrote only stories for children.
Most of the members of my family as well as my lifelong friends do not read or write poems, Ray. I will send a specific haibun or haiku to one of my daughters or my son if it is something they can learn from or connect with. For example, “Witherspoon Street” (CHO, July 2012) is about the night my daughter Heidi was born, so I wanted her to have it. “Shoes by the Door” (Contemporary Haibun Volume 13) was written about my friend Phil whose wife had passed away. I sent him a copy. But most things, I just keep to myself and share them with the readers of journals. Perhaps that is the safe road where I don’t have to risk revealing too much. For me, writing has always been to clarify and make sense of the life I lead. I don’t think I have any say in the matter; I am addicted to print, and have no other choice but to write.
What is your approach to writing haibun, Glenn? Some suggest starting with a haiku; others that the prose/storyline occurs first, then the haiku is added. What inspires you to write about an event in your past or present life?
For the most part, all of my haibun start with the prose. I will get an idea from a memory, a student, a conversation, or a news report. Then I will rehearse the story in my mind for a time—thinking of different sentences to start with, and I will lie awake at night imagining the whole thing. The process can drag on for several weeks and I actually prefer when it does. When the haibun is starting to drive me a little nuts, then I will put it down on paper (always with black ink). The haiku will sometimes be written as soon as the prose is on paper while at other times that piece takes a while to fall in place. The only exception that I can think of is “Borrowed Angels” which is about neighbors and relatives who brought me to their churches (HT, March 2010) where I wrote the three haiku first then the prose.
You’ve mentioned mentally rehearsing a piece for some time before putting pen to paper. But what about revisions once having done so. James A. Michener said, “I have never thought of myself as a good writer. But I’m one of the world’s great rewriters,” and John Irving that “Half my life is an act of revision.” But I’ve heard some haiku and haibun writers say that the first spontaneous burst that flows feels more alive, less contrived. Are haiku and haibun composition less demanding of revision than longer works of fiction? Do you do multiple revisions or do you mostly send off spontaneous bursts?
Most of my haiku are written in spontaneous bursts either on scraps of paper or a book that I happen to be reading. They are unrehearsed and quickly jotted down as is. When I feel that there are too many loose ends, I will round them up and type the haiku on my computer and as I do that, I will change words and images. If I am sending a page or two of poems out to a journal, I will print them out and leave them on my desk. Then I will read them over as the weeks pass by and change a few more words along the way. For example, I wrote the following haiku about a painting by Vetriano.
listens to her story
The poem never felt quite right and as the weeks passed, I changed one word:
bends to her story
(Shamrock Haiku Journal, where the wind turns; The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2009)
The process is different for haibun. The first version of a piece is never the final one although I enjoy the initial excitement of a first draft. Revision is writing too and I like to see a haibun improve with the changes I make. Alec Wilkinson wrote of the writer and editor William Maxwell, “When he considered that a story or novel or review he was working on was finished, he read it backwards, sentence by sentence, so that he could assess the writing without being distracted by the rhythm that builds up in a writer’s mind when he knows what’s coming.” (The American Scholar, Winter 2004). I never forgot that and I believe it is good advice for both experienced and new writers–that is to look at each line on its own (word choice, punctuation, meaning, etc.). I believe that it was also William Maxwell who said that he chooses words as if he is writing to a bright fifth grader. I have also followed that path which is to choose ordinary words (plain language) in my writing. For me, revision is no less important in haibun than in a children’s story. The idea is to seek writing that is as pristine as possible.
What are your thoughts about the haiku in haibun composition standing alone? Some suggest that the haiku should stand the test of standing alone; others that if it stands alone, why add prose, etc. And given the work that has been accepted by you as an editor of HT, do you see most of the haiku as capable of standing alone?
Let me answer this with an example, Ray: “Misdirection” by Melissa Allen (Haibun Today 6:1, March 2012).
My mind races in this haibun. I picture a funeral parlor and a child seeing but not believing the man in the casket is her father. She sees it all as a magic trick, the funeral director—the magician, and in the end, her father will spring back to life.
Melissa’s haiku bring us to other places—the winter weather outside—the future— and each one makes me stop and causes me to ask questions and to look at possibilities.
reading a thin pamphlet
about the future
last bus out of town ice moon
a blaze consumes
what’s left of him
Each part (title, prose, haiku) leaves strong impressions. Do I expect and see that in all submissions to Haibun Today? No, but that is what I hope for and strive for in my own writing—haiku that can stand alone.
Glenn, for a year now you've served as a haibun editor with HT. What has that been like for you?
When Jeffrey Woodward asked me to consider becoming a haibun editor, I did not think about it for long. I respect Jeffrey as both an excellent writer and editor and if he wanted me to give it a go, that was all I needed and I said yes. That was six months before I started, still time to read all the issues of American Haibun & Haiga and Contemporary Haibun, still time to develop a definition of haibun, still time to doubt myself. After all, my work as an editor is based on years of editing writing by children and adults that I taught, what did I know about working with as passionate a bunch as the writers of haiku and haibun?
I know there are very few markets where writers can place their work and there are not many haibun editors in the world, and that handful of editors is shaping the direction of haibun by what they choose to select or reject. So I see my work as an editor as an important responsibility. I try to keep an open mind as to what makes an acceptable haibun. I simply use the criteria that the prose is poetic, the haiku can stand alone, and the piece together has meaning.
What trends do you see, Glenn?
I do feel that there is a movement toward extremely brief haibun (a short paragraph and haiku) and I would not like to see that become the sole model. I enjoy the longer historical pieces by writers like Ken Jones and Dorrie Johnson. I enjoy the writing from far off places like New Zealand, Japan, India, Ireland, and the variety that brings to the journal. I enjoy the poetic words of Carol Pearce-Worthington and the creativity of Gary LeBel. New writers like Ryan Jessup and Laura Juliet Wood impress me very much.
Editing takes a lot of time. What has been the effect on your own writing?
Ray, it does take time to edit and send responses and sometimes between that and teaching, it is harder to get around to my own poems. But I have learned to look harder and ask more of what I write. The questions that I pose to other writers about titles, prose, and haiku are questions that I can ask of my own work especially the haiku. I want my own haiku to stand alone and at the same time take the prose to another level of understanding and that is not always an easy task. HT has given me a chance to try something completely new, to step into a new pair of shoes, and in the end the experience has led to a better understanding of the genre that means so much to me.
James Thurber said, “Editing should be, especially in the case of old writers, a counselling rather than a collaborating task.” As an editor, what is your standard practice with respect to giving advice? Some editors either accept or reject a writer’s work; others sometimes invite revisions and resubmissions (R&Rs). If you do offer suggestions, what’s your approach? Do you ever actually rework haiku or prose passages or do you limit yourself to general comments such as “this paragraph needs tightening up.”
I will offer advice and suggestions (revisions and resubmissions) if I believe there are just a few things to work on. I might suggest cutting and tightening the prose and provide an example. What I think is most difficult is the haiku. A prose story may show promise but the accompanying haiku may be weak or just an extension of the story. How can I teach someone to write an effective haiku when I know the process takes time and a lot of reading? I learned a lesson from one submission. I offered the writer a reworking of his haiku as a possibility and he went on to resubmit his haibun with the haiku as I suggested. He said the work no longer felt like his own and I understood what he meant. I had to learn how to ask questions and let the writer make his/her own decisions.
Glenn, your previous answer seems to focus more on the haiku than the prose part of the haibun. Doesn’t the writing of succinct haiku-like (aka haibunic) prose also take time to learn or do you see prose composition as easier to master than haiku composition?
There is poetry in haiku-like prose and I do think that does take time to learn. I don’t think the prose is easier to master than haiku composition since both take a great deal of time and patience. In the early issues of American Haibun & Haiga, the haiku were used as extensions of the prose and titles often did not add another understanding, so in a relatively short period of time, haibun has evolved quite a bit. Much of the prose that I am reading now in haibun is more poetic, more succinct than what was being written ten years ago. That is not to say that I didn’t find many worthwhile and strong haibun in those pages, just that I sense changes. So the same is true of my own or any haibunist’s work—the writing continues to take shape and sharpen over time.
Given your experience as a new writer to the form and now as an editor, what advice do you have for the many new writers who are attracted to the haibun form?
The best advice that I can give to any writer is to read lots of haiku and haibun. I do much of my own writing in whatever book or journal I am reading and I keep a notebook handy when I am reading online. I feel that I am always learning from all that I read. If a poem really seems to make a difference or point out a direction, then I will write it down in a notebook I call Ones That Matter. In that notebook I keep samples of haiku and tanka by poets such as: Peggy Lyles, Jeff Hoagland, Fonda Bell Miller, Charles B. Dickson, Lenard D. Moore, Teijo Nakamura, Seishi Yamaguchi, Roberta Beary, Richard Straw, Gary Hotham, Wally Swist, Susan Constable, Ferris Gilli, Carolyn Hall, Sandra Simpson, Gary Gay, Janelle Barrera, and many others. I believe that in order to be successful in either haiku or haibun, one has to be a lifelong student of the genres. There are submissions that I read that I know in an instant—a writer hasn’t done his/her homework; and the prose and haiku both miss the mark. Decisions on those submissions are easy to make.
The other piece of advice that I can offer is to not write in isolation. That is what I have done for most of my lifetime and I do not recommend that road. It is better to join a writing group either in your community or online where one can share writings; receive and offer feedback. When I have experienced that at workshops, I always come away with new thoughts and ideas for sharpening my writing.
For example, when I read the following poem at a Haiku Holiday at Bolin Brook Farm, someone suggested that I change one word:
the sound of words
through missing teeth
The poem then became:
the whistle of words
through missing teeth
(Lyman Haiku Award 2010, North Carolina Poetry Society)
That one change made the difference and I don’t think I would have discovered that on my own.
As part of your advice to new writers, you’ve mentioned that on occasion you’ve been helped by editors, but in your answers above, you seem not to have asked for such help. Do you ever send your work out for comments from other writers or are you part of a writers group? If so, do you allow those comments to influence you, or do you feel as if following a fellow writer’s suggestions might, as some put it, steal your own unique voice?
For the most part, Ray, I use my own judgments and send out pieces that I feel are complete and make sense. To be honest, I have been blindsided a few times when haibun that I believed in were not accepted. I sometimes feel that the road I have chosen, which is to work in isolation, is not only lonely but a harder path to follow. Although I do not ask for comments, I always give them a go when I receive them from editors and in all cases those comments have led to stronger haibun. I think sometimes, we (writers) become so engrossed in the process of creating something new that it is at times hard to be objective about a haibun. Each haibun simply represents our thinking at a particular moment in time.
Once I wrote a children’s story called “Charlie’s Cricket” in verse. An editor asked me to remove the rhyme and write it over in prose. The story then became 1,500 words long. The editor said you have a story here but it is too long. So I cut it down and went on to cut it down five more times. When the story reached 500 words, I withdrew it saying that I no longer could see my story. Shortly after, Highlights for Children (June 1997) accepted the shortest version. So the first editor was correct all along and I just felt that I was losing my voice in that piece. So I think that sometimes revisions can be painful and we have to put aside pride and follow them. There can be a fine result waiting at the end of the road.
Glenn, this interview has been quite informative for me and I sense it will be of great interest and use to both new writers and those of us who are well established in the genre. Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts with us.
Thank you Ray. This interview led me to think about my own writing—how it started, how it evolved. Your questions sent me flipping through journals and searching for books that I had not read in years. The path I followed is clearer now because of this interview. I appreciate all of the time you gave me as well as your guidance and patience.
Notes: Glenn G. Coats' work has appeared in a variety of haiku and haibun journals including bottle rockets, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, A Hundred Gourds, Notes from the Gean, Contemporary Haibun Online, Multiverses and Haibun Today. His writing has also been included in several collections: Contemporary Haibun, The Red Moon Annual, A New Resonance: Emerging Voices in English-language Haiku, and Day's End: Poetry and Photographs about Aging. Coats’ first book of haibun and haiku, Snow on the Lake, will be released this summer.