Tribute to D. Claire Gallagher

D. Claire Gallagher



D. Claire Gallagher
1941 – 2009

D. Claire Gallagher, a woman of boundless energy and enormous talent, extraordinary haiku poet and friend to many in the community, passed away at home, surrounded by family, on Friday, July 17, 2009, after a long bout with cancer. She left this world as gracefully as she lived in it. Surviving her are her husband Patrick Gallagher, also a haiku poet, and loving children and grandchildren.

Claire became interested in haiku in 1991 after reading Wes Nisker’s commentary on haiku in his book Crazy Wisdom. Two years later she attended a meeting of the Haiku Poets of Northern California (HPNC) and quickly became active in that group, the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, and the Haiku Society of America, and remained so till the end of her life. She served as HSA Regional Coordinator for Northern California. She was co-editor of Mariposa, the membership journal of HPNC, from 1999 to 2007 and played a major role in shaping this fine periodical. She served also on the editorial staff of the Red Moon Anthology. Her haiku have been published in numerous journals and anthologies and have won or placed in many contests in the USA and abroad. Among her many honors were a First Place in the 2007 HSA Harold Henderson haiku contest and Second Place in the 1998 HSA Gerald Brady senryu contest, as well as top honors in the HPNC San Francisco International contests, the Snapshot Press Calendar Awards, the NLAPW Poetry Contest, the British Haiku Society’s Hackett Award Contest, and the Yuki Teikei Society’s Tokutomi Contest. As winner of the Virgil Hutton manuscript contest, her chapbook, How Fast the Ground Moves, was published in 2001 by Saki Press. A newer collection of her haiku, The Nether World, is forthcoming from Red Moon Press.

Claire described herself as having been “born a Californian in Wisconsin.” She was raised in Western Pennsylvania and it was 43 years before she arrived physically on the “Left Coast” in Sunnyvale, California. Her career included incarnations as a potter, educator, radio journalist, technical writer, and naturalist hike leader for a land preserve agency. In addition to reading and writing haiku, which contributed to her living “more mindfully and more heartfully,” among the joys and talents that enriched her life were hiking and traveling with her husband, gardening, ikebana, collage, Chinese brush painting, and spending time with her family and friends. She was always keenly aware of the world of natural wonders around her, and she delighted in sharing her excitement and knowledge with friends and family, most especially with her grandchildren.

She will be greatly missed.


A few of Claire’s outstanding haiku:


family reunion—
some of the beached kelp
in knots

1st Place, HSA Harold Henderson Haiku Awards (2007)



weathered bench—
I open my palms
to the winter sky

2nd Place, San Francisco International Haiku Contest (2007)



sunflowers
the tube of cadmium yellow
squeezed flat

2nd Place, San Francisco International Haiku Contest (2004)



the closer we get . . .
losing my friend’s heart-to-heart
to the waterfall

1st Place (tie), British Haiku Society Hackett Award Contest (1999)



budding maples—
how fast the ground moves
under his tricycle

How Fast the Ground Moves, Saki Press, 2001



blowing out
one birthday candle
the whole family

2nd place, HSA Brady Contest (1998)



his arthritis
guiding the hoe—
late tomatoes

The Heron’s Nest IV:2 (2002)



Advent altar—
a candle wick straightens
within the flame

3rd Place, NLAPW Poetry Contest (1999)



winter solstice—
the sunset incantations
of red-winged blackbirds

Frogpond XXIV:3 (2001)



the dark folds
of a greening mountain —
my sister’s locked diary

The Heron’s Nest VIII:2 (2006)



sultry day—
melancholy squeezed
from his accordion

Acorn #20 (2008)



slicing apples
into the dented pan—
howl of the wind

The Heron’s Nest X:2 (2008), Heron’s Nest Award
 
 
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