Don’t Hide in the Shadows


I hope all of you are getting out and reading your work in front of live audiences. It doesn’t matter where you live. I guarantee, there is an appreciative audience there.  Don’t hide in the shadows! Meet your readers and prospective readers. Start by reading at open mics. Poetry and short stories work well at open mics. When people get to know you, they’ll ask you to perform solo at a reading. This is a particularly good activity if you’ve got a book to peddle.


Last weekend, at Madame ZuZu’s Café and Emporium in Highland Park, IL, (suburban Chicago), I  was honored in  “A Salute to Haiku.”  I spoke about haiku and senryu before doing a reading of my haiku/senryu and other forms of poetry I write.


Madame ZuZu’s is a funky place with retro décor. I always like meeting the public in popular gatherings. We had a good crowd in a huge event room with a stage.


The event was sponsored by Highland Park Poetry, founded by Jennifer Dotson in 2007, and  organized by Mary Beth Bretzlauf and her team. Mary Beth was the emcee who invited me to be a guest reader. I’m grateful to  people such as Jennifer and Mary Beth who work tirelessly at promoting poetry, despite having full-time day jobs. With all the work they do to promote poetry, they really have two full-time jobs. (Jennifer and Mary Beth even took photos of the event.)


I read from my two latest poetry books, “Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All,” and “Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing.” (If you haven’t heard of these two books after all my publicizing of them on this blog, you’ve probably been reading my blog in your sleep!)  You can scroll down to the end of this post to read a few of the poems I read.


Although this is hard for people who know me to believe, I grew up a wallflower, until I realized in my 20s, that being a wallflower doesn’t get you very far. I admit this now to give hope to those of you who shy away from speaking or doing anything  in public where you are the focus.


The only way to change is to force yourself to. I know that after you do, you’ll start enjoying being out in public.


I did a book signing of my two poetry books after my reading, and was heartened to even meet  poets in my own neighboring town that I’ve communicated with by email, but never had the pleasure of meeting in person before the event.


Out of gratitude for the support of many of you last week, I’m extending the discounts of my books that I offered at the event.


Special Discounts for My Books Extended


If you purchase one copy of “Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All” or one copy of “Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing” directly from me, you’ll receive free shipping via USPS with your signed copy, plus a $2 discount off of each title. A savings of $6 with free postage and the book discount. Each reference book retails for $19.95, so your grand total per book is $17.95. (USA residents).


Canadians, please inquire about your discount.


As an added bonus: I’ll provide an edit or revision of one poem of any form that a purchaser has written, so that it’s publishable to appear on this blog.


You may contact me directly at with questions and for ordering information.


Below are just a few of the best reviews of my two books.


Thanks to all who’ve taken the time to read my books and to comment! It’s much appreciated. And thank you for reading this blog.



Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All (232 pages)


Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All is the book that launched thousands of haiku poets and haiku teachers!


An altogether brilliant work that must be read by anyone with so much as a passing interest in haiku. Charlotte Digregorio has penned a masterpiece! She has written the definitive guide to one of poetry’s most fascinating genres. This work belongs on the bookshelf of any poet who is serious about writing the kind of haiku that editors want to publish.


-–John J. Dunphy, Author and Poet, Touching Each Tree


This book is overall the best one out there on the subject. The amount of information is extraordinary and exceeds that found in any other book. In particular, the commentaries on selected poems are very good, intelligent, and sensitive, and really place keys into the hands of readers for unlocking the mysteries and joys of haiku literature–from its roots in Japan to its present robust evolution in English and other languages.


-–Michael McClintock, Award-Winning Author/Editor of Haiku & Tanka Books

Former President of The Tanka Society of America


If a book about haiku inspires the reader to create haiku, then Charlotte Digregorio’s Haiku and Senryu guide has done its job bountifully. Digregorio calls this “A Simple Guide for All” and she isn’t kidding. Her basic instruction simplifies the process of writing haiku without sacrificing the beauty and the pleasure that are essential. The examples of well-known haikuists shimmer with perfection! If you are interested in pursuing this lovely, subtle art form, THIS is the guide you need. Fantastic guide! I can’t believe how much I learned.


-–Robin Stratton, Editor, Boston Literary Magazine


Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All is exactly what it says it is: a way into the reading, writing and publishing of the world’s favorite genre. Premised on the idea that one doesn’t need to be a professional poet to enjoy it, Haiku and Senryu will inform you on why poets and non-poets alike love the genre; how to read them for maximum enjoyment; where they came from; how to organize them; and how to get them into print and other people’s heads. Whether a newbie or a seasoned veteran, you’re sure to come away with a deeper appreciation of the genre. And it’s also a considerable anthology of some of the best English-language haiku to be found.


–The Haiku Foundation


A strong overview of haiku. A wealth of material on how to introduce and teach haiku to children, college students, and interested adults. For busy teachers the material will make it easier to provide guidance to their students. Any teacher would be thrilled for the helpful guidance, examples, and tools for presenting the form to the next generation. The pain and work involved in creating one’s own lesson plans is gone with the author’s well-honed presentations.


The bibliography also contains a wealth of material. Buy a copy for teachers, students, or interested poets and just tell them to read it. This volume will not steer them wrong, and gives any reader something with meat to hang their hat on while they discover or further explore haiku. It will remain on my shelf.


–Mike Rehling, Book Reviewer, United Haiku and Tanka Society

Adobe Photoshop PDF 


Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing (236 pages) 


Benjamin Franklin Awards (2021): Independent Book Publishers Association


 Comments from Judge #1:


Life in all its aspects flows through Charlotte Digregorio’s buoyant poetry collection. For its healing and inspirational qualities, this is a book to keep and reread frequently. It inspires enhanced living and writing. Excellent!


 Comments from Judge #2 


This book is a very easy and pleasurable read.  I read every poem with delight in about six days. (236 pages). There are lines in the poetry that if they were fireworks would light up the night sky. This book is that good. The introduction is a marvelous bit of writing, explaining the author’s view on poetry, and about the title’s meaning. All through the book, when each new section is about to unfold, there is a prose explanation of what one is about to encounter. These preludes to the sections are one of the best features of the book.


Charlotte Digregorio’s indefatigable writing packs a strong poetic punch. This award-winning poet has the courage to face the truth about love, loss, aging, birth, death, and the upside down nature of life–the full catastrophe. Expect to be challenged and invigorated. Without question, Digregorio is a beneficial presence in this world, and I have a high regard for her fresh and poignant poems.


–Robert Epstein, Psychotherapist & Author, Healing into Haiku: On Illness and Pain


Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing comes in a year when healing is in even greater demand than usual. In this book, we not only get a well-written poetry collection that promotes healing, but a how-to guide for writing poetry that aids healing. As I read it, I often paused to implement Digregorio’s suggestions, jotting down poems of my own, and filled several pages. The author is particularly well known as an authority on the Japanese forms of haiku and senryu, and many of the poems in this book follow them. Others are in free verse and a dozen other forms. The collection is structured into sections containing poems about various subjects you can consider writing about. Each section is introduced by a page of prose that includes the author’s sage comments on why the subject is relevant and how the poems influence healing. The poems and writing advice are clear, accessible, and beautifully lyrical. Her point is: look, you can do this.  I highly recommend this book.


–Richard Allen Taylor, Author of Armed and Luminous

Book Reviewer, The Main Street Rag


I highly, highly recommend this book! I read a lot of how-to-write poetry books, but this is unique because it shows would-be poets like me the “why” of writing poems. For those who want to write the best poetry we are capable of, this collection encourages us to look for and create beauty, strength, and healing. Many times during the reading of this book, I put it down and wrote a few lines of my own. I read several of her poems out loud, luxuriating in the evocative language and the emotional effect it had on me. Her haiku is particularly inspiring and she is a master at it.  I love this book. It’s not just a collection of poems, but thoughtful essays about how poetry can heal. There are a lot of lines I would like to quote (or pretend I came up with).  I love the imagery.


–Robin Stratton, Editor, Boston Literary Magazine


This book is different from any poetry book I have reviewed before. We need this book! Who among us has not needed healing? Who among us has not spent time in the cave of despair? Who among us has not needed an outlet for anger or loss? This is great poetry, mature craftsmanship, written in an accessible style for all to savor. It’s easy to apply these poems to daily life. A professional observer, Digregorio sees and feels everything more deeply. She reveals her sensitivity to the human condition. The volume contains something for everyone: from compact oriental forms, to superbly-crafted sonnets, to the little known etheree, to fun forms such as acrostics and limericks, free verse and more.


Exhaustive Appendices: More than a collection of poetry, the author offers practical, hands-on support for beginning and experienced writers.  As poets, we also need to promote and sell our poetry, our books, and the author helps get us off the sidelines and into the promotional game. Treasures to be unearthed include multiple lists of publications that publish poetry; ideas for general print/broadcast media that feature poets; and ideas on types of associations, organizations, and businesses that promote poets through awards, interviews, readings, speaking venues, workshops engagements, and exhibitions of their work. This book has given me a real education.


–Michael Escoubas, Editor, Quill and Parchment


The bumper sticker on my car reads: “Nature: Cheaper than Therapy.” As an adjunct to nature’s treatment plan, I would prescribe Charlotte Digregorio’s  Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing. Her imagistic poems wind through diverse relational and emotional terrain, and never lose touch with the natural healing qualities of acceptance, wonder, gratitude, and harmony.


–Mike Stinson, Psychotherapist, Poet & Author, extra innings


What a treasure and a wonder from a mightily accomplished author. I always turn to this book with anticipation and peace in my heart, looking forward to the author’s life insights. A ponderous book. I am giving it the daily reading that the inspiring poems call out for, a page or two a day with meditative thought for the author’s many layered gifts of creativity. I love the titles of the multi-themed chapters. I am delving into this clear pond of healing, the book’s healing messages.


–Donna Bauerly, Professor Emeritus

Loras College




Note: Charlotte Digregorio is a retired Writing and Foreign Language Professor, winner of 66 poetry awards, and a four-time nominee for Pushcart Prizes. She has more than 800 poems in print and writes 14 poetic forms. “Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing,” a reference book, will inspire you to write many forms of poetry. Among them: cinquain, etheree, acrostic, sonnet, free verse, limerick, and the Japanese forms of tanka, haibun, haiku and senryu sequences.  Digregorio has organized poetry conferences throughout the country, and speaks and gives workshops at national conferences. Her popular solo exhibits of healing poetry are featured at libraries, corporate buildings, hospitals, galleries, and park districts, among other venues.


Some of Charlotte Digregorio’s delightful senryu:


leaving the bank

with six figures

on the odometer




snowed in . . .

after the piña colada

dreaming in color



“Season’s Greetings” . . .

braggart’s annual letter

fuels the yule log



Some of Charlotte Digregorio’s  poignant haiku:



Mother’s Day . . .

wrapping the pink dress

for the funeral home



mother’s last breath . . .

my dog leaves us



Charlotte Digregorio’s Tanka:


this summer evening

strolling neighborhood streets

i pick up my swollen feet

and run through the sprinklers

into my youth



Free Verse:



Another Draft


Forty-eighth or fiftieth?

I lose track again.

Scraps of scribbling

scattered, far-flung

behind the toaster

beneath the bedboard.


One moment, wordless,

next, wordful–

pummeled by an avalanche.

Buried under divisive devices

beneath the desk,

I choke on alliteration,

assonance, onomatopoeia,



Creeping, crawling,

trolling, drawling,

hacking up restless syllables

parched to the tongue

too garbled to slide

onto smudged paper.


On my knees,

breath spent,

I open the window

for a few whiffs.

Through pine-scented sky,

hearing a warbler’s refrain,

I crumple and pitch

my stale gibberish.



Copyright 2022 by Charlotte Digregorio.














About Charlotte Digregorio

I publish books. I have marketed and/or published 55 titles. These books are sold in 46 countries to bookstores, libraries, universities, professional organizations, government agencies, and book clubs. In 2018, I was honored by the Governor of Illinois for my thirty-eight years of accomplishments in the literary arts, and my work to promote and advance the field by educating adults and students alike. I am the author of seven books including: Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All; Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes; You Can Be A Columnist; Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features; Your Original Personal Ad; and my latest, Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing. The first four books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, and Catalonia. They are sold in 43 countries, and are displayed in major metropolitan cultural centers. These books have been reviewed, recommended, and praised by hundreds of critics, librarians, and professors worldwide. I am also the author of a poetry collection: "Shadows of Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu by Charlotte Digregorio." Two of my books have been Featured Selections of Writer's Digest Book Club. I am regularly interviewed by major print, radio, and television organizations throughout the U.S. I regularly sign books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores, and do poetry readings at art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. I was recently nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in poetry. I have won fifty-nine poetry awards, writing fourteen poetic forms. My poetry has been translated into eight languages. I do illustrated solo poetry exhibits 365 days a year in libraries, galleries, corporate buildings, hospitals, convention centers, and other venues. My individual poems have been displayed at supermarkets, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I have been nominated and listed in "The International Authors and Writers Who's Who" in Cambridge, England and in the "Who's Who In Writers, Editors & Poets U.S./Canada." I hosted my own radio program, "Poetry Beat," on public broadcasting. My poetry has been featured on several library web sites including those of Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana and Cornell University's Mann Library. My background includes positions as a feature editor and columnist at daily newspapers and as a magazine editor. I have been a public relations director for a non-profit organization. I am self-employed as a public relations/marketing consultant, having served a total of 118 clients in 23 states for the past several decades . In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and libraries. I have been a writer-in-residence at universities. There have been about 400 articles written about me in the media. I have served on the Boards of writers and publishers organizations. My positions have included Board Secretary of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. I served for five years as Midwest Regional Coordinator of The Haiku Society of America, and for two years as its Second Vice President.
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8 Responses to Don’t Hide in the Shadows

  1. Jennifer Dotson says:

    Great motivational message for poets to get brave and get out there!

  2. Thanks, Jennifer, for all your work.

  3. MaryJo says:

    Sometimes we all need a pep talk and this is a good one. You have done so much for haiku appreciation and also for encouraging writers to get out there and read. Thanks, Charlotte.

  4. Looking forward to hearing you read again, Jo!

  5. MaryJo says:

    Thanks, Charlotte.

  6. A very interesting post, Charlotte, with sound advice.

    When I first started writing poetry seriously (over a decade ago) I went with my writing group to an anthology launch in a Belfast pub. At the door, the publisher asked if I’d like to read the two poems I’d had accepted. To my horror, our writing tutor replied, “Of course she would!” I did it but, being senryu, it took me longer getting to the mic than it did to read them—very embarrassing! 😄

    So now, when invited to read, I tend to focus on haibun, with a sprinking of haiku, senryu and tanka.

    However, over lockdown I didn’t like the idea of Zoom readings so decided to look into filmmaking software. I produced a short video using my haiku, artwork and photography. It went down very well, so I continued with this and have since made several short films for an online poetry project using my haibun and artwork—I’m hooked now!

    Thank you for all you do for short form poetry.


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