My “Paper Roses” Haiku and the Story of the Very Special Artwork That Inspired It

Often we wonder how a poem is born, what aroused the choice of words or images. This post by Jennifer Hambrick explains it in depth and makes me appreciate even more her haiku “paper roses”, recently published on this blog.
Thank you Jennifer for giving us the chance to glance over it.


I love it when a project of unassuming origins takes on a life of its own.

My “paper roses” haiku, which the Italian haiku poet Elisa Allo recently featured and translated into Italian on her blog, Ama no gawa, recently found itself in the middle of such a project.  Little did I know that my haiku contains a pun that is impossible to translate into Italian.  Elisa presented the haiku with a beautiful graphic and an explanatory note about the translation:

Hambrick Paper roses haiku - 1

Hambrick Paper roses haiku - 2

My “paper roses” haiku might not have come about in the first place had it not been for the phenomenal artwork a group of Columbus-area elementary school students and a recent event of the Ohio Poetry Association.

In April, the Ohio Poetry Association published a statewide anthology of ekphrastic poems (poems inspired by other works of art), A Rustling and Waking Within.  The anthology was…

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Another haiku of Jennifer Hambrick


paper roses 

the joy of folding

clean sheets*

rose di carta

il piacere di piegare

fogli bianchi come lenzuola*

Jennifer Hambrick

* L’espressione inglese “clean sheets” ha un doppia valenza: significa sia “lenzuola pulite“, sia “fogli bianchi“. Pertanto, la traduzione letterale del ku originale è impossibile e mi sono avvalsa di una parafrasi e di una similitudine. Questo haiku è il perfetto esempio di come sia spesso difficile tradurre poesia da una lingua all’altra senza spogliare l’originale del suo significato più profondo.

Once again I thank Jennifer Hambrick for this small masterpiece and for giving me the opportunity to know and deepen her lines.

Haiku of Jennifer Hambrick



old wound

the sand in the oyster

still sand


vecchia ferita

la sabbia nell’ostrica

ancora sabbia


Jennifer Hambrick


A Pushcart Prize nominee, Jennifer Hambrick was a winner in the 2017 international Golden Triangle Haiku Contest (Washington, D.C.) and received the Merit Award in the 2017 Montenegrin International Haiku Competition (English). Her debut chapbook of free verse poems, Unscathed (NightBallet Press), was nominated for the Ohioana Book Award, she won the Ohio Poetry Association’s 2013 Ides of March contest, and she has received many other recognitions for her work, which has been published in Santa Clara Review, Third Wednesday, Mad River Review, Pudding Magazine, River River, Muddy River Poetry Review, 50-Word Stories, the major Japanese newspapers The Asahi Shimbun (The Morning Sun) and The Mainichi (The Daily News), Modern Haiku, Frogpond, World Haiku Review, The Heron’s Nest, Acorn, Cattails, Presence, Bones, Haiku Canada Review, bottle rockets, Shamrock, Wild Plum, Ershik, Ribbons, Eucalypt, Contemporary Haibun Online, Haibun Today, and in dozens of other journals worldwide, in English and in translation. Jennifer Hambrick is founder and editor of the International Women’s Haiku Festival. A classical musician and public radio broadcaster and web producer, Jennifer lives in Columbus, Ohio, USA. Her blog, Inner Voices, is at