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August 2006 Issue VI:3

Southwestern Haijin Spotlight

Victor Ortiz

Victor Ortiz, born in Southern California, currently resides in San Pedro, CA with his wife Mimi. He graduated from UCLA with a Ph.D. in Classics and though he only occasionally teaches Latin, he continues to read ancient Greek and Latin literature for fun! He first discovered haiku along with his students at an independent school in Los Angeles when he decided to have them write 5-7-5 haiku in Latin. It was so much fun he continued to write haiku in Latin and even published some in The Classical Outlook. Soon writing haiku became a way of life and now he writes almost everyday, but rarely in 5-7-5, and only in English. He was lucky enough to have had his first English haiku published in Frogpond and has managed to keep publishing in haiku journals ever since. Into Breath (Red Moon Press, 2002) was his first chapbook and his first haiku collection is due out in 2007.  Although a few of his haiku have received special recognition, he considers himself a neophyte because the more he writes haiku the more he realizes there is to discover. He does consider himself a member of The Southern California Haiku Study Group, though they may not realize it since he misses far too many meetings.

Haiku is short enough to suit his attention span, but long enough for him to experience lasting truths. Haiku connects him to life, helps him establish relationships with his world, and when he listens closely enough it transforms him.

winter evening
faded pictographs
in shadow

 

 

windy ridge
a rusty bed frame
in winter light

snail trail
grinding holes
in a granite boulder

 

 

recess
children count
police cars

sunrise
clouds at the foot
of Los Angeles

 

 

late winter storm
refried beans buried
under melted cheese

wherever
I walk I walk
in the sky

 

 

desert petroglyph
autumn rain falls
on the sun

Black Mesa
a water serpent winds
around the clay pot

 

 

snowmelt
down the arroyo
her laughter

spring rain…
the rattle of seeds
in a painted gourd

 

 

bees among
the desert lavender
winter song

Some of these originally appeared in Modern Haiku, The Heron's Nest, and Acorn.

Copyright © 2004-2006 by Roadrunner Haiku Journal. All rights revert to the authors upon publication.