London calling . . .

Who’s editing this journal?

Tanya McDonald (she/her) is known for her bright plumage and her love of birds. Her haiku, rengay, and haibun have appeared in various journals. She judged the 2014 Harold G. Henderson Haiku Contest (with Michael Dylan Welch), the 2016 Haiku Poets of Northern California Rengay Contest, and the 2018 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational (with Jacquie Pearce and Paul Chambers). In 2019, she edited the Haiku Society of America’s annual members’ anthology, A Moment’s Longing, which prepared her for the launch of Kingfisher. A Touchstone Award winner and a New Resonance poet, she lives near Seattle, Washington.

Formalities over . . .

A bit of background on the origin of Kingfisher.

I’ve wanted to start a poetry journal for years. In high school, I was on the staff of the literary magazine Choragos, and at Linfield College, I worked on what was then known as Testmarketed Downpour (it changed to the more dignified Camas after I graduated). Oh, we had some exciting, pizza-fueled editorial meetings! After that, I was fortunate enough to serve on the editorial collective for Calyx, A Journal of Art and Literature by Women out of Corvallis, Oregon. https://www.calyxpress.org

I moved up to Washington State in 2007, and after serendipitously meeting Michael Dylan Welch at a poetry open mic in Redmond, I became involved in the haiku community here. I took some haiku classes from Michael, attended monthly Haiku Northwest meetings, subscribed to the major haiku journals, and sent out my poems, at first earning plenty of rejections, but eventually getting a poem published here or there. Editors like Don Wentworth (Lilliput Review), Stanford Forrester (bottle rockets), Carolyn Hall (then editor of Acorn), and Charles Trumbull (then editor of Modern Haiku) all provided encouragement to keep at it, even when they rejected my poems.

Sometime around 2016, I began thinking about starting a journal of my own. Meanwhile, I continued to submit poems to journals and became further involved with the haiku community. 2019 was a huge haiku year for me. To my perpetual amazement, one of my haiku won a Touchstone Award from the Haiku Foundation, and shortly thereafter, I was asked if I wanted to edit the Haiku Society of America’s 2019 Members’ Anthology. I considered it for less than 5 minutes, then said yes. Shrieking and dancing may have been involved. And now that it’s been published (shameless plug: check out the HSA website for ordering information http://www.hsa-haiku.org/member-anthol.htm), I can admit that a major reason I agreed to edit it was to gain experience for when I started my journal, which by this point already had a name: Kingfisher.

Why Kingfisher?

From 1999 through 2002, my husband and I lived in England. We’re both birders, and every chance we got, we’d pack up our binoculars and British bird book and go looking for birds at a local lake. There were several hides, usually unoccupied, so we’d slip inside, sit on the bench in front of the window, open the blind as quietly as we could, and wait. Any guesses as to what we were waiting to see?

There is nothing common about the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis). It is, in a word, resplendent, as close to a hummingbird’s iridescent brilliance as one can find in the UK. We didn’t see one very often, so every time we did was an absolute treat. That flash of brilliant turquoise zipping across the pond on a gray English day is why I decided to name this journal Kingfisher, because that’s what the best haiku and senryu are like for me. Same delight, same thrill. I hope you experience the same wonder from the haiku and senryu in this journal.

by Tanya McDonald