Millikin University Haiku Writer Profile

Paul Miller


  below the falls—
a stepping stone
just out of reach
by Paul M.

Biographical Background

Paul Miller, who is more commonly known as Paul M. in most of his haiku, discovered haiku through Yuki Sawa’s book Haiku Master Buson. He discovered this book while he was putting together an undergraduate poetry project he ironically entitled Seventeen Moments. He completed this project as an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego. A major theme that he developed in his research project was "poetry’s greatest strength is its ability to closely examine any brief, revelation-filled moment." Paul believes that because of the potentially small size of haiku, it is a form of poetry that can do a very effective job of mimicking and isolating such moments. Paul says that after reading Yuki Sawa’s book, he’s been "hooked on haiku ever since." After his undergraduate work, he moved to San Francisco in 1990 to pursue a Master’s Degree in English. Although he has undergone much literary education, Paul is an employee in Finance for a pair of Investment Banks.

Paul also says that he enjoys the Millikin Haiku website, and is very interested in the Eric Amann collection, which he has ordered as a reference.

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Author Awards

His work has been recognized in various contests. He received co-first prize recognition in the Suruga-Baikai Literary Festival in Japan.

He also received a third prize in the 2000 HPNC haiku contest. Paul is a member of the Haiku Society of America, and the Haiku Poets of Northern California (HPNC), which is a regional Society.

He will be one of the featured readers at the 2002 HPNC Two Autumns reading.

Author's Books

Paul has been working on haiku for about fifteen years. He has been published in periodicals such as Acorn, Frogpond, The Heron’s Nest, Mayfly, Modern Haiku, and Snapshots.

His work has also been included in the 1998 and 2001 Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku, which is edited by Jim Kacian, A New Resonance 2, which is edited by Jim Kacian and Dee Evetts, and How to Haiku: A Writer’s Guide to Haiku and Related Form by Bruce Ross.

Reader Response Essay

It is very clear that Paul M.’s focus is directed toward the moment that fuels the haiku. He discusses that haiku are a journey into us. That moment present in haiku is a very important aspect of what is written in the haiku. He also concentrates a great deal on that moment of discovery we get when we write haiku. Paul M.’s haiku do many things, but they are highly focused on the moment, as well as self-discovery. These elements are present in Paul’s haiku.

Here are a few examples of some of Paul M.’s haiku:

an elusive butterfly
the warm wind
through meadow grass

mountain shadow
river water runs
through my fingers

unpacking the map—
a mountain spring
crosses the trail

milky way
the thud of acorns
when they fall

uphill trail
the scarred trunk
of a giant sequoia

This haiku by Paul M. won the Heron’s Nest Award. Self-discovery is a major reason this haiku is so worthy of an award. There are two elements present, the trail and the tree. Uphill implies hardship or exertion in the journey. Also, this sequoia is giant, which means it is worthy of admiration. There are scars on the tree, which also imply hardship. There is some juxtaposition involved here; hardship involved with both the tree, as well as the man. Paul M. separates himself from the rest of the world, and when he admires the tree, he almost becomes an integral part of it. He, too, is struggling to survive in the many hardships of life.

Paul M. does a great job of presenting various elements of haiku to the reader. He obviously is a naturalist because of the presence of nature in many of his haiku. In addition, he truly captures the moment in his haiku. Often, simple language is used, but the meaning is worthy of reflection in all of the haiku he has written. If Paul’s haiku were only read once, it would be difficult to benefit from the many wonderful things his haiku does for us. Perhaps the most significant element of his haiku is the aspect of self-discovery. He puts us into the moment, and then shows us what that moment did for him, as a human. Readers can benefit from this too. Many different perceptions may be taken from one haiku, but the haiku always allow us to ask ourselves the question "What did that haiku allow me to discover about myself?"


Additional Web Links and Resources?



haiku conferences haiku courses at Millikin Modern Haiku magazine
speakers & readings haiku competitions at MU student renga
student haiku projects published haiku by students links to haiku web sites
student research on haiku haiku by Millikin students directory of haiku magazines


2001, Dr. Randy Brooks• Millikin University
last updated 8/16/01 • about this web site