Walking Uneven Ground:
Selected Haiku of Bill Pauly

by Bill Pauly

Walking Uneven Ground:
Selected Haiku of Bill Pauly

ISBN 978-1-929820-22-4 • 2021
172 pages clothbound • $30.00 US

publication date: December 18, 2021

Brooks Books is pleased to publish Walking Uneven Ground: Selected Haiku of Bill Pauly in our series of clothbound editions. As a selected haiku collection, it includes the very best haiku by an author who has spent a significant portion of his or her life’s work in this genre.

It was our pleasure to first become acquainted with Bill Pauly and his creative literary art not long after Shirley and I started publishing High/Coo: A Quarterly of Short Verse in 1976. As young editors, we were very excited about recent experiments to expand the conception of haiku beyond the idea of it being a closed form following a rigid syllable count. We were interested in haiku, tanka and senryu that explored a wide range of the human condition beyond traditional Japanese seasonal images and tropes. Bill Pauly, as a former student, mentee, and colleague of Raymond Roseliep, embraced a creative exploration of the possibilities of haiku and senryu throughout his life. This collection of haiku, senryu and tan-renga is arranged, as much as possible, by the date of composition or publication so that you can follow his development and growth in this art.

It was also our pleasure to publish one of his last haiku in issue 70 of Mayfly magazine last January 2021, shortly before he passed on February 15, 2021.

walking uneven ground
to tend her grave . . .
Remembrance Day

To conclude, Shirley and I want to say what an honor it has been to know Bill Pauly and to celebrate a life well lived as a haiku poet. Bill signed my copy of Wind the Clock by Bittersweet with this inscription: “Wishing you many sustaining moments along your Haiku Way. Excelsior!” To Bill we are so grateful to say thank you for inviting us along your haiku walk. Excelsior indeed!

~ Randy & Shirley Brooks, Editors
   Taylorville, Illinois
   October 20, 2021

Honorable Mention - Haiku Society of America
Merit Books Awards for 2021

Honorable Mention Winner of the 2021
Touchstone Haiku Book Award

~ ~ ~

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We are also offering prints of the memorial portrait of Bill Pauly painted by Jessica Sebok.


The original is a watercolor painting, but you may purchase a print of this portrait (without the wording used on the book cover).

Contact her for queries about book cover design and originaly portraits.


Due to the expense of shipping a clothbound book to international addresses, Brooks Books is pleased to offer a PDF edition of Walking Uneven Ground: Selected Haiku of Bill Pauly for haiku orders. The price for the PDF edition is the same as the print edition, but this saves international customers the $25 postage cost.

ORDER the PDF edition from Brooks Books
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snowmelt . . .
she enters
the earth on her knees


not moving


sound of her voice
carrying eggs
across the ice


country field —
home run rolling
past the headstones



monarch wing,
please fly me back
to the time before snow
by special delivery
an amaryllis bulb


heart racing
you ask if I have
a pacemaker
who can know
the rhythm of fireflies


hearing your voice
now I know
that the heart makes sense
the meadow colored
by a handful of seeds

When Randy and Shirley Brooks asked if I would write a short reader’s/mentee’s introduction for Bill’s book that would reflect his Dubuque haiku legacy, I didn’t hesitate for a moment. I owe my haiku life to Bill, and as I write this I feel I’m speaking for a host of others who knew Bill as teacher, poet, mentor, friend. Bill received his MA degree from the University of Notre Dame and taught at schools in Illinois and Iowa; in the Peace Corps for two years in Sierra Leone, West Africa; and in the English Department at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, for twenty-five years. His lifelong passion for teaching was expressed in his words, “I have always been and will always be a teacher, however and whenever and wherever possible.”

~ Francine Banwarth
   September 1, 2021

Collaborating on Tan-Renga

Once a year we would meet at the Cradle of Haiku gathering in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Prior to the event, I would print our tan-renga of the previous year into a booklet using Lulu. From 2015 to 2020, Bill and I wrote nearly 250 tan-renga sheerly for the delight of the process and the anticipation of seeing how the other would respond. I treasure these little poems as a scrapbook of our time together and the dear friendship that was born through them.

~ Julie Schwerin (formerly Warther)
   August 8, 2021


Award-winning haiku poet Bill Pauly reads at the Cradle of American Haiku Conference III, held in Mineral Point, Wisconsin in July, 2012. Bill was a student of Raymond Roseliep in the 1960s, and taught for more than two decades at Loras College in Dubuque.

Ben Gaa provides an in-depth reading of Bill's "snowmelt" haiku in this touching tribute to Bill and Ben's recently deceased mother. This is from Ben's series of Haiku Talk videos on YouTube.

Video book review by Michael Rehling, Editor of FAILED HAIKU

Bill Pauly was a wonderful teacher and editor of student haiku. Here is a sample of his comments and edit suggestions from an editing workshop at Millikin University:

Haiku Workshop with Bill Pauly

Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois
April 20, 2004

Here is a link to a reader response essay by Millikin student Tricia Scholl:

Bill Pauly's Haiku of the Inner Spirit

Millikin University, Decatur, Illinoiso
Spring 2003