Welcome to the American Haiku Archives Web Site
See our special online exhibit featuring donors Kiyoko & Kiyoshi Tokutomi.
About the Archives
The American Haiku Archives is the world’s largest public collection of haiku and related poetry books and papers outside Japan. This repository is housed at the California State Library in Sacramento, California, and is dedicated to preserving the history of North American haiku.
The American Haiku Archives (AHA) was originally the idea of Dr. Kevin Starr, former California state librarian, and haiku poet Jerry Kilbride. The archives took shape in 1995 and 1996 with the help of many additional volunteers and advocates, and was founded at the California State Library on July 12, 1996. At this time, the American Haiku Archives became the official archive of the Haiku Society of America. Initial major donations of books and papers came from Elizabeth Searle Lamb and from the Haiku Society of America. Since then, many other significant collections of haiku-related books, papers, and correspondence have been donated to the archives. Library archivists have meticulously catalogued and archived all donated materials using state-of-the-art archival processes so that these valuable materials will be available for generations of future haiku poets and researchers.
The haiku archives welcomes the public through the California State Library’s California History Room, where its rare and special book collections are accessible. The American Haiku Archives also welcomes donations of books, papers, letters, and other material relating to haiku, mainly in English, but also in other languages. The California State Library is primarily located at 914 Capitol Mall in Sacramento, California, and the American Haiku Archives is housed at the Library and Courts II Building at 900 “N” Street.
We invite you to read about our honorary curators, learn how to donate to the archives, conduct research, and more.
An invitation to the way of haiku
“A haiku . . . is a hand beckoning, a door half-opened, a mirror wiped clean. It is a way of returning to nature, to our moon nature, our cherry blossom nature, our falling leaf nature, in short, to our Buddha nature. It is a way in which the cold winter rain, the swallows of evening, even the very day in its hotness, and the length of the night become truly alive, share in our humanity, speak their own silent and expressive language.”
— R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 1, page 243