(1941 – 2009)



Donna Claire Gallagher was born in 1941 in Wisconsin.  In her 40s she moved to California and she described herself as having been “born a Californian in Wisconsin.” Claire has worked as a potter, educator, radio journalist, technical writer, naturalist hike leader for a land preserve agency, and as haiku poet. 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 was the editor in chief of Mariposa, the journal of the Haiku Poets of Northern California. She edited HSA’s .Crinkled Sunshine: Members’ Anthology 2000 and HPNC’s Flows down the Mountain: Members’ Anthology 1997. Reading and writing haiku contributed to her living more mindfully and more heartfully. Hiking with her husband, gardening, ikebana, attending musical performances and films, and participating in delectations with her family and friends are among the joys that enriched her life and work. She has long fantasized that if she were named in the traditional Native American way, her name would be Walking Heart. Unfortunately Claire passed away at home, surrounded by family, on 17 July 2009 after a long bout with cancer.


Contests & Awards:


Claire’s poems have won numerous awards in her years of writing: two James Hackett firsts as well as a Highly Commended from the British Haiku Society; English Haiku Convention on Water, River, Lake, and Sea 2001, Secretariat Prize, (Japan); ranking and HM’s in the Gerald Brady Senryu Contest from the Haiku Society of America; three firsts and other awards in the Haiku Poets of Northern California International Haiku and Senryu Contests and HM’s in HPNC renga contests; ranking and HM’s in the Hawaiian Education Association Contest; firsts, ranking, and HM’s in the National League of American Pen Women, Palomar Branch Poetry Contests; ranking and highly commended poems in the New Zealand Poetry Society Contest; two firsts in Peoples’ Poetry Haiku and Senryu Contest; two best of issue poems in South by Southeast; first, ranking, and HM’s in Yuki Teikei Haiku Society Kiyoshi Tokutomi Memorial Contest.




Claire’s work has appeared in: Basho Festival Dedicatory Anthology (1996, 1997, 1998);

Beyond Within: A Collection of Rengay, 1997, Ed. Cherie Hunter Day;

Haiku Troubadours 2000: A Contemporary World Haiku Anthology from Japan, 2000, Ban’ya Natsuishi;

Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac, 1996, William J. Higginson;

Paper Lantern: HPNC Two Autumns Reading; Poems of Feeling and Creativity, 1998, Mainichi Shimbun;

The Red Moon Anthology(1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001);

Where Sky Meets Sky: Toronto Haiku Splash Anthology, 1999, Ed. LeRoy Gorman;

and Young Leaves: Yuki Teikei Haiku Society 25th Anniversary, 2000, Ed. June Hymas.


Claire has also appeared in numerous members’ anthologies and contest anthologies:

 Albatross, Blithe Spirit, black bough, bottle rockets, Electronic Poetry Network (Shreveport, LA), Frogpond, Geppo, haijinx, The Heron's Nest, Honolulu Advertiser, Hummingbird, Mariposa, Modern Haiku, RAW NerVZ, South by Southeast, Starfish, Woodnotes, and others.



A selection of Claire’s haiku:

blowing out
one birthday candle
the whole family

2nd place, HSA Brady Contest (1998)


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

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



Advent altar—
a candle wick straightens
within the flame

3rd Place, NLAPW Poetry Contest (1999)


budding maples—
how fast the ground moves
under his tricycle

How Fast the Ground Moves, Saki Press, 2001

winter solstice—
the sunset incantations
of red-winged blackbirds

Frogpond XXIV:3 (2001)

his arthritis
guiding the hoe—
late tomatoes

The Heron’s Nest IV:2 (2002)

the tube of cadmium yellow
squeezed flat

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


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

The Heron’s Nest VIII:2 (2006)



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)

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