Tag: Haiku Lessons

The Midwest

I have written about always living in the Midwest. Yet places vary, cities and towns. There have been many adjustments and “new learning curves” over decades. I am grateful.

These are a few poems from my archives.

no longer
a stranger
the joy of being able
to share long stories
of this area

home from Sheboygan
grateful for the same roads
this long

five roads
from this corner
now I know
my way home
on them all

Haiku Lesson Note:

Our Haiku Reading Plan for Grades 5 – 6 at The Haiku Foundation features haiku from the Midwest. The Goal for this plan is “To show beginning comprehension of haiku by a variety of poets; along with beginning to discover haiku history through examples of poems.”

Stuart J. Mentink Memorial Park
Oostburg, Wisconsin – July 6, 2019
Photo by Karl

Stars in the Sky

The early mornings inspire poetry. I sit quietly for a time. Today I looked for poems about the stars in my archives.

stars in the night
and colors
of garden mums
in the rain . . .
new poems begin

night sky
seeing stars
through leaves

short days
stars brighten
winter sky

the same poems
for the rest of my life
stars and tree branches
another sunrise

Haiku Lesson Note:

Our Haiku Awareness Plan for Grades 3 – 4 at The Haiku Foundation features a beautiful haiku about the prairie and stars by Billie Wilson.

As stated in the lesson, “For this Haiku Awareness plan, we feature haiku from the anthology, Montage: The Book, created and edited by Allan Burns (Winchester, VA: The Haiku Foundation, 2010, 2012).”

Robin at Night is courtesy of Reusable Art.

Poems with the Senses

Yesterday I wrote about the five senses and poetry in my post Winter Days. My post was inspired by work in the kitchen.

Today I reviewed my archives to see if I have written poems over the years with a few of the senses. My poems are visual, because I so often write about what I see through the days and seasons. I wondered about the other senses. This is what I found so far.

shoveling . . .
scent of mint
through snow

Time of Singing
25th Anniversary Volume

reading poetry
my coffee gets cold
guess I made it
for the fragrance

Time of Singing
Volume 43, “Intermezzo”
Fall 2016

Time of Singing poetry journal, edited by Lora Zill, has a new site. This print journal was one of the first to publish my short poems, in the 1990s.

fragrance of leaves
in the gardens
what good friends
we became
as we grew older

My poem has been published online:

Tanka by Ellen Grace Olinger

Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog
August 8, 2020

A book: They Gave Us Life: Celebrating Mothers, Fathers & Others in Haiku. Edited by Robert Epstein. Middle Island Press, 2017.

A poetry print journal: Time of Singing, Volume 46, Fall 2019.

reading the Gospels
a few verses at a time
raindrops on branches

My poem was published at Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog,
Daily Haiku: Nov. 17, 2017.

We hear the rain and I saw the poem.

poems we read
again and again
washing an old plate
the pattern
still new

I see to read, and sometimes I listen (hear) poems online. I often read aloud to hear the words of a poem. This helps with revision too. Washing dishes in warm water, rinsing a plate, and looking out the kitchen window inspires some of my everyday poems.

some years
I hear them first
and then see them
this year a cold day
on the way home
from errands
with a bouquet
of daffodils and food
we see them first
red-winged blackbirds

“some years” is from March 26, 2015 at this blog.

Haiku Lesson Note:

Our Haiku Awareness Plan for Grades 1 – 2 at The Haiku Foundation features a well-known haiku about the rain by Peggy Willis Lyles (1939 – 2010).

I learn again all the time.
And I love to learn. Thank you.

Ellen Grace Olinger

Images: wpclipart

Winter Days

blue-grey sky
light on birch trees
and evergreens
the icicles melted

kitchen window closed
no flowers nearby
the fragrance of coffee
and fresh vegetables
noticed more

Creative Note: The five senses are often mentioned in poetry. The haiku lessons I helped create at The Haiku Foundation (THF) include a plan that features the five senses: Haiku Writing Plan for Grades 5 – 6. “The overall theme for this plan is The Senses In Our Everyday Lives: what we may see, hear, touch, smell, and taste.” Jim Kacian is editor and the plans link to other content at THF. Many people contribute to education at the foundation.

Education Resources at The Haiku Foundation

For a few years, I served as a volunteer in education at The Haiku Foundation.

In 2013, their Education Resources feature was first published.  Jim Kacian and I wrote the first set of lessons for the elementary grades.  Montage: The Book, edited by Allan Burns, was a primary textbook.  Dave Russo and Billie Wilson also helped with this work.  Billie was the editor of the Haiku Registry, and I read there a lot, as I wrote lessons.

Brad Bennett and Jeannie Martin hosted the How We Haiku – Teaching Stories series.  The 19 stories are also listed on the Education Resources page, and you can link to the original posts at The Haiku Foundation.

Many poets, teachers, and scholars contribute their work.

Ellen Grace Olinger

Mother’s Day 2017: Reflections and Gratitude

My parents were teachers.  Dad taught history, and Mom taught English composition and literature.   I played school when I was a child.  Math and science are hard, but I don’t remember learning how to read. I still read as much as I can.

I studied and worked in special education for 20 years.  Then a chronic illness changed my ability to sustain the physical work.  It was also time to return to Wisconsin for my mother’s old age.  I am well within the quiet small town life we enjoy now.

At the same time, I did not realize what a missing piece teaching was in my life. 

The Haiku Foundation gave me an opportunity to write lesson plans.  I cannot think of a Mother’s Day gift my mother would enjoy more than knowing I am using my teaching gifts again.  My mother also encouraged me to learn a form, and that’s how I began with haiku in the early 1990s.


The latest plan at The Haiku Foundation:

Sharing Haiku Lesson 1: Book of the Week.


It is interesting how in a way I am in my mother’s literary world, and I also enjoy learning about haiku history.   The haiku lessons I am writing also reflect my work in special education, and include adaptations so all can participate.  The goal is for all students to have a positive experience with poetry.

In loving memory
Harold and Enola Borgh

Ellen Grace Olinger

Ellen Grace Olinger