Susan Marie LaVallée
(1950 - 2011)

Haiku "is a way of connecting to the universe. A little song. A postcard to God. . . . There are as many ways [to write haiku] as there are stars, yet only one really matters—your own."

(Susan Marie LaVallée in Haiku Headlines)

Susan Marie LaVallée was born in Santa Monica, California in 1950. Following a Catholic school education, she achieved a BA in English, an MA in Education, and teaching credentials in English and Psychology from UCLA.  She taught for many years in elementary schools in California and Hawaii and gave poetry and creative writing lectures, including haiku workshops. In her youth she travelled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. She fell in love with the Hawaii islands and moved to Kailua in 1987. Susan Marie published five books of poetry and her haiku, senryu, and tanka had increasingly been appearing in print as well. She was especially proud of being elected Regional Coordinator for the Haiku Society of America's Hawaii/Pacific Rim/Guam Region for 2010-2011 and she also served as a haiku contest judge.  

Susan Marie wrote about her passion for writing in one of her published poetry books..."I will write until my breath turns to vapor and my flesh to bone..." She did not fuss over her illness and continued to write daily. Sadly she passed away of lung cancer on 27 October 2011.

Books Published:

  • Find Me (Shelters Press, 1975);
  • Stitching Up the Distance
  • No Turning Back
  • Memoirs for Mother (Birnham Wood Graphics, 2003).

Selected poems:


under the bird
unhatched eggs

(Asahi Haikuist Network, January 26, 2004)


chasing butterflies
a faint breeze rises
with the thunder

(Modern Haiku 36:3, 2005)          


Lahaina dusk—
the sound of a flute
drifting out to sea

(28th Hawaii Education Association Contest, 2006)


full moon---
she describes
the tumor’s size

(Honourable Mention at Winter Moon Awards for Haiku 2009)


one bead at a time
on an afterlife

(Frogpond 32:1, 2009)


was it the dark
we shared
or the candle

(bottle rockets 25, 2011)


power outage:
everything goes out
but the wind chimes

(HSA Newsletter, Volume 27, Number 1 — March 2012)


some nights
someone screamed
for us all
in the dark
down the hall

(Red Dragonfly, 14 July 2011)



One day

she felt

small as an island

compared to the sea

it sits





She remembered




(though there

was no closet

in the room)

she was

in one

like a broom.

(Poetry Bay online magazine, Fall/Winter 2012)