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Susan Antolin


The Years That Went Missing

First Place in the Backbone Press Haiku Contest 

Fist Place in the Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards 

Winner of a Touchstone Distinguished Book Award

"This second outstanding collection of haiku and senryu from Susan Antolin is brimming with wit and wisdom. Here is someone who understands language well enough to sometimes turn it on its head to great effect. But beneath each playful phrase is a deep emotional sensitivity. With a keen eye for the quotidian moments of life, the more personal these poems, the more universal their impact. Though Antolin often addresses those closest to her, you will surely come away feeling yourself one among them. This is a gem of a book, well worth waiting for."

—Carolyn Hall, Editor, Mariposa

"The reason Susan Antolin is so loved as a poet, and editor, and cheerleader for the work of others is that she is the child, the spouse, the parent, the poet, and the caregiver we all want to know in our own lives. And lucky we are to know her in this volume."

—Touchstone Distinguished Book Award panel commentary

"Susan Antolin's chapbook, The Years That Went Missing depicts a daughter's lost years with her mother. Her mother's health is as delicate as the snowfall, as delicate as the nurse's care, as delicate as the words. At the same time, the daughter's husband shares the experience with her. Still, Antolin reveals quietness and strength amidst all the health issues. She finds reverence in birdsong and blossoms and other natural world things. These fifty-two poems are full of intelligence and grace. This collection of poems is highly recommended because it matters and brings healing."

—Lenard D. Moore, Former President, The Haiku Society of America, and Author of The Open Eye and A Temple Looming

"A more interpersonally relational presence creates coherence in Susan Antolin’s second full length collection, The Years That Went Missing. For Antolin relationship is the locus of her art."

—Dan Schwerin, Modern Haiku (read full review here)


Artichoke Covers.jpg
Artichoke Season

"In these spare and soulful poems, Susan Antolin makes everyday moments, family routines, and passing seasons shimmer. Gardening, spring-cleaning, cradling her baby's cheek or eating cherries with her son--she invites us to see familiar rituals with fresh eyes and an open heart." 

—Elizabeth Fishel, author of Reunion and co-editor of Wednesday Writers and Something that Matters

"A wonderful, nourishing book of haiku and tanka that does what fine poetry should: it stills the mind on a single image and holds it there for a clarifying moment--of beauty, enlightenment, and--most importantly, of selflessness. I dissolved into the poetry."

—Anastasia Hobbet, author of Small Kingdoms

Susan Antolin (she/her) fell in love with modern Japanese poetry while living in Japan in the late 1980s. She has served as the newsletter editor for the Haiku Society of America; newsletter editor and past president of the Haiku Poets of Northern California; a frequent judge of haiku contests; and the job she loves most, editor of Acorn: A Journal of Contemporary Haiku. She recently joined the Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards Panel for the Haiku Foundation.

She holds a BA in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, a JD, cum laude, from the University of San Francisco, School of Law, and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1995 (currently inactive status). In 2023 she became a student again and is pursuing an MFA in poetry in the low-residency creative writing program at NYU. She and her husband live in Walnut Creek, California, where they enjoy hiking in the foothills of Mt. Diablo with their two dogs and any of their three grown children they can cajole into joining them.



Huge thanks to Nayana K. for producing the following video and to her teacher, John O'Connor, who teaches a 9th grade Media Production class in a Chicago area public school. And thanks also to Alex K. for the original music!

2021 Interview with Mike Rehling, editor, Failed Haiku  

Love Letters In Light, Selected Poem, 2021

Haiku featured on NPR, Beach Adventures and Falling in Love: A Summer In Haiku, 2019, selected by Kwame Alexander

Featured Poet, May 2017, Mann Library's Daily Haiku, Cornell University



summer clouds

I pull the rope ladder up

behind me

                  Modern Haiku


 Selected Essays and Commentary

Book review: Ea's e by Scott Metz, Modern Haiku, vol. 53.3

Haiku Aesthetics: A Look at Understatement, Modern Haiku, vol. 47.3

Commentary on winning poems for the Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards, 2020

Commentary on winning manuscripts for the Turtle Light Press Haiku Chapbook Contest, 2019


Readings and Events


British Haiku Society (June 6, 2021)

Online presentation on Understatement in Haiku


Seabeck Haiku Getaway (November 1, 2020)

Online panel of four poets on “Vision” in haiku


Evergreen Haiku Study Group, East Lansing, MI (October 24, 2020)

Online presentation: “Why Do We Write Haiku?”


Book launch for The Years That Went Missing (August 30, 2020)

Online reading


Haiku North America Conference, Winston Salem, NC (August 9, 2019)

Presentation: “The Role of the Editor”


Haiku Poets of Northern California, San Francisco, CA (January 20, 2019)

Featured Reader


Project Artaud, San Francisco, CA (November 12, 2017)

Reading with poet Stephanie Baker


South San Francisco Public Library (April 15, 2017)

Presentation: “Reading and Demonstration on the Art of Creating Haiku”

Diablo California Naturalists, Walnut Creek, CA (January 30, 2017)

Presentation: "The Art of Seeing"


Haiku Society of America Regional Meeting, Portland, OR (August 12, 2016)

Group reading


Haiku Society of America, Asia Pacific Museum, Pasadena, CA (March 19, 2016)

Talk on Haiku Aesthetics


Haiku North America Conference, Schenectady, NY (October 17, 2015)

Presentation: “Haiku Aesthetics: Understatement in Haiku”


Haiku North America Conference, Schenectady, NY (October 16, 2015)

Editors’ Panel


Haiku Society of America Regional Meeting, Santa Rosa, CA (July 19, 2015)

Featured Reader


Books Inc., Berkeley, CA (July 18, 2015)

Group reading


Haiku Pacific Rim Conference, Asilomar, Pacific Grove, CA (September 8, 2012)

Presentation: “A Look at Cutting and Shifting in Haiku”


American Literature Association, San Francisco, CA (May 25, 2012)

Moderator for panel: “African American Haiku”


Yuki Teikei Haiku Society Tea House Reading, San Jose, CA (May 12, 2012)

Group reading


Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore, Berkeley, CA (May 15, 2011)

Group reading


Cafe Revolution, Mission District, San Francisco, CA (November 22, 2010) 

Reading with haiku poets Fay Aoyagi and Carolyn Hall. Hosted by Caveat Lector.


Haiku Society of America, Asia Pacific Museum, Pasadena, CA (February 20, 2010) 

Reading from Artichoke Season 


Haiku Poets of Northern California, San Francisco, CA (October 25, 2009)

Featured Reader


LitQuake 2009, Anthony’s Cookies, Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA (October 17, 2009)

Reading with poets Fay Aoyagi, Garry Gay, David Grayson, Carolyn Hall and Ebba Story.  


Haiku Poets of Northern California Two Autumns Reading, San Francisco, CA (August 20, 2006)

Group reading

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Susan Antolin

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