Originally from Vancouver, kjmunro moved to the Yukon Territory in 1991 & now lives on the
traditional territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation & the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council. She is
Membership Secretary for Haiku Canada & a member of The League of Canadian Poets, The
Federation of BC Writers, & The Haiku Society of America. In 2014, she founded ‘solstice
haiku’, a monthly haiku discussion group in Whitehorse that she continues to facilitate. Since
2018, she has curated a weekly blog feature for The Haiku Foundation, now managed with
guest editors. She is the recipient of the 2023 Borealis Prize – The Commissioner of Yukon
Award for Literary Contribution, her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, & her
debut poetry collection is contractions (Red Moon Press, 2019). kjmunro1560.wordpress.com
Hi kj. Thank you so much for joining me. How were you first introduced to haiku?
When I was first investigating journals & magazines to submit my poetry, (around 2010), I
looked into haiku journals, because people had often described my short, condensed style as
“haiku-like.” I was very surprised to discover so many of them, & also to learn more about the
genre – I quickly realized that there was so much more to this type of poetry than the length of
the poem & I was hooked! I read voraciously, & spent many hours revising my poems, with
limited success. Eventually, I started submitting, & also attending haiku conferences & events –
such an amazing community – &, of course, I’m still learning!
I’ve never had the opportunity to attend a haiku event. What would be your favorite part?
My favourite part of a haiku event – seeing friends again that I haven’t seen for a while, &
meeting poets I have only corresponded with, or whose work I have read & admired…
It is always wonderful to discover a poet whose reading inspires you to buy their book.
At the larger events, there can be quite a variety of presentations – so much to learn & discuss! –
& there are often extra events at a conference to celebrate the location – a tour of a regional art
gallery or sculpture garden, for example – & it’s wonderful to experience these as well!
My next question is two parts. Your debut collection of haiku is called “contractions.” Other than
Amazon, is there a place it can be purchased? Secondly, for people just starting out in haiku,
what would be your best book recommendations?
I have copies of all my publications for sale, so people can email me to arrange delivery, &
contractions can also be purchased directly from the publisher, Red Moon Press:
My recommendations for reading – I always encourage reading to become a better writer… & I
also recommend reading more of any poet that resonates… I highly recommend the many
offerings on the website of The Haiku Foundation (https://thehaikufoundation.org/) & also
Graceguts, the website of poet Michael Dylan Welch (https://www.graceguts.com/). For print
publications, I would recommend Modern Haiku. Also, both Haiku Canada & the Haiku Society
of America include their publications in the membership fee (Haiku Canada Review; Frogpond)
My early influences: in mainstream poetry – Robert Bringhurst; in haiku – Michael Dylan Welch,
Naomi Beth Wakan, Susan Constable, George Swede, Susan Diridoni, Terry Ann Carter, Jim
Kacian, Roberta Beary & many others – the more I read the more poets I admire!
Thank you, kj. Some great references there. Why is it important to be part of a haiku group?
I think it’s human nature to want to be part of a group! But when it comes to writing, it can be
extremely helpful to have a group of other writers who we can depend on to share the ups &
downs, & also share with & learn from… we all have different experiences & strengths that
others can benefit from.
Sometimes it can help to just confirm our own suspicions about things we already know – about
writing situations & about our own writing specifically. Feedback from poets you trust is
As I may have already mentioned, the haiku community is well-known to be helpful & supportive
- maybe the most important reason to be part of a haiku group is to make new friends!
What advice would you give to someone wishing to start a haiku group in their own area?
Oh – great question!
I strongly recommend giving this a try! Of course, it helps if you know a couple of people already
who are interested & will commit to attending a group, at least for a while! I have found this to be
a most rewarding experience, & I have learned a lot in the process.
In order to explain concepts to people, you learn them better yourself – & it’s fun to share the
interesting things you have read with other people. A group can evolve in different directions, so
I suggest starting small, & regularly checking in with participants to ensure that your plans for
the group mesh with what they want to do. Existing haiku groups can be a wonderful resource
for those just starting out.
Since the solstice haiku discussion group began in 2014, I have learned some things that have
nothing to do with poetry – evaluating venues & advertising the meetings, for example. But the
poetry part has been substantial – we have enjoyed ginko (haiku walks) at art galleries &
sculpture gardens, we have written several renku that have gone on to be published, & we have
collaborated with our local community garden, resulting in an upcoming chapbook. Several
members have started submitting their own work & have been published, which is extremely
exciting! As a group, we support each other – we celebrate & commiserate, as required! Highly
Would you be willing to share a haiku or two from your collection?
These are all from contractions (Red Moon Press, 2019) by kjmunro
the outdoor runners
(first appeared in DailyHaiku Volume 9: Cycle 18 Fall 2014/Winter 2015)
warming all ten fingers
on your mug
(first appeared in Frogpond 41:2, 2018)
ice in the driveway
into something more comfortable
(first appeared in DailyHaiku Volume 9: Cycle 18 Fall 2014/Winter 2015 followed by big data
Red Moon Anthology 2014)
Again, thank you so much for your time. I’m sure our readers will appreciate your responses,
and I look forward to seeing you again!
- About the Author
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Sally Quon is a disabled poet and photographer living in the Okanagan Valley of beautiful British Columbia, Canada. She is an associate member of The League of Canadian Poets and a member of Haiku Canada. Her work has been published in numerous journals including The Heron’s Nest, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, First Frost, and Time Haiku. She is currently working on her first book of haiku, haibun, and haiga, tentatively titled, “My Valley, My Home.”