Robert F. Mainone

(1929 - 2015)

Robert F. Mainone was born on 11 February 1929 in Flint, grew up in Ravenna, and then lived in Delton, Michigan. He became a naturalist at an early age with miles of open space to explore. His father taught him how to hunt and fish which led to an interest in the life styles of Native Americans through books and the many arrowheads he found. He grew to appreciate the pre-Columbian Indians affinity with all of Nature. In his solo woodland wandering he found a diverse environment where something new might reveal itself at any moment.


In 1963, while stationed in Greenland during his service in the United States Air Force, he discovered haiku in Harold G. Henderson's An Introduction to Haiku and then Robert BIyth's Haiku series. Robert's artistic and reflective nature started to shine bright when he began writing haiku. He published his first of 11 books in 1964, and went on to receive numerous awards from the Haiku Society of America in 1976, 1977, 1980, 1985, and 1989. These can be found in many Michigan libraries. Some are in archives with his haiku diaries (1986 on-going) that record the changing seasons: changing seasons, bird migration, moon and star analogies, and one or more haiku per day. His haiku have also appeared on T-shirts, gift cards, and address labels "penny poems", etched on cobalt drinking cups, on large colour photographs, city buses and as a haiga over his back door. Robert’s haiku have also been presented in multimedia performances, set to music for a choral recital, and given as readings for Elderhostels, artist workshops, and memorial services. In 1966, he sauntered 60 miles in 8 days along the Lake Michigan shore, from Frankfort to Leland, sketching and writing haiku, resulting in his chapbook, Where Waves Were. The following year, he travelled to Japan to walk where classic haiku had been written. At Michigan State University he earned BS, BSF, and MS degrees in biology and forestry.

In addition to his accomplishments, Robert's other work experiences include working with the U.S. Geological Survey; the U.S. Air Force Weather Service, the Detroit Zoological Park, the Kalamazoo Nature Center, and the MSU Kellogg Biological Station Bird Sanctuary where he retired in 1991 after 23 years. In his free time, Robert enjoyed reading, all aspects of natural history, bird watching, and playing the marimba. He especially enjoyed listening to jazz, his preferred genre of music.

According to people who knew him well, Robert was one of a kind, sensitive and appreciative of everything around him. His character was a testament to his integrity and moral compass as he lived and enjoyed the life he was given to the fullest. In life Robert found true beauty, and in the moonlight of his life, may he have found the wonder behind a sky full of stars. Robert Mainone died peacefully in his sleep at his beloved Haiku Hut on 17 February 2015 in Delton, Michigan.

Awards and Other Honours:

Finalist, Japan Air Lines haiku (80 of 50,000 entries, published in the anthology Haiku '64);

Honourable Mention, Biennial Book Award [for High on the Wind] (Haiku Society of America, 1976);

Honourable Mention, Biennial Book Award [for High on the Wind] (Haiku Society of America, 1976);

First Place, Harold G. Henderson Award (Haiku Society of America, 1977);

First Place, Harold G. Henderson Award (Haiku Society of America, 1980);

Finalist, Japan Air Lines haiku contest (201 of 40,000 entries, exhibited in the Japanese Pavilion at the Brisbane Exposition (1988);

Honourable Mention, The R.H. Blyth Award for Haibun (World Haiku Club, 2004);

Honourable Mention, Gerald Brady Memorial Senryu Award (Haiku Society of America, 2008).



An American Naturalist's Haiku(Wonderland Press, 1964);

Parnassus Flowers(Wonderland Press, 1965). In addition, Mainone's haiku, articles, and other work have been published in Arts and Artists (Detroit Institute of the Arts, 1965);

Where Waves Were(Wonderland Press, 1966);

This Boundless Mist(Wonderland Press, 1968);

Shadows (Wonderland Press, 1971); Young Leaves (Wonderland Press, 1974);

High on the Wind(Wonderland Press, 1976);

Moonlight(Wonderland Press, 1979);

The Journey North(Wonderland Press, 1984);

The Spring within(Wonderland Press, 1989);

Seven Acres of Sky(Wonderland Press, 1997);

Art around Town(International Suiboku Society, Tokyo, 1968);

Poet(India, 1972);

Peninsula Poets(1974);

Science and Children(1975);

Haiku TranspIanted (Japan); The Communicator (1976);

Subsistence Living(1978);

The Jackpine Warbler(Michigan Audubon Society, 1978);

Journal of Interpretation(Assoc. Interpretive Naturalists, 1979);

Practices of the Wind(1979); Visions of the Wild (1980);

Convergence(1980); Michigan Natural Resources (1982 and 1988);

The Rise and Fall of Sparrows (1990);

Michigan Natural Resources(1990 and 1992);

A Haiku Path(Haiku Society of America, 1994);

Reeds: Contemporary Haiga(2004 and 2005). 

Biographical sketches appear (or have appeared) in Marquis Who's Who in the Midwest; International Who's Who in Poetry; National Register of Prominent Americans; The Writer's Directory; Dictionary of International Biography; Leaders in Outdoor Education; Contemporary Authors; Michigan Poets; International Academy of Poets; and Michigan Authors; and Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., (2013).


Selected haiku:

Ebb tide . . .
    a little sea
         in the shell


(Honourable Mention: Harold G. Henderson Memorial Award Collection – 1989)



old frog

up to his ears

in moonlight


(Harold G. Henderson Award, HSA– 1977)



two crows


I speak their language


(Frogpond 33:2 - 2010)



all around

light failing in a field

of fireflies


(Museum of Haiku Literature Award, Frogpond XXIV:2 -2001)



from dinosaurs

to summer reruns

this cosmic speck


(Modern Haiku42.3)



finding myself

in Einstein’s unified field

I enter the sky


(Modern Haiku42.3 - 2012)