The Heron's Nest

Memorial: Cindy Zackowitz

Cindy Zackowitz
May 28, 1965 - September 23, 2012

From her earliest work in 1998, Alaska poet and photographer Cindy Zackowitz wrote haiku as if it were her second nature. Most haiku poets say it took years for them to write quality haiku, but there is a striking quality to be found in Cindy's early seemingly effortless efforts. Serge Tom é, editor of Temps Libre/Free Times wrote "A haiku written by Cindy Zackowitz can be recognized even without seeing her name. . . . She describes for us the North, in a very simple way, with its silences, its coolness, its short summers, its snows and its rains. She writes our dreams of the North. [Her haiku are] always in detail. She has a strong connection to Nature, each haiku is an immersion in it. Her haiku give us the feeling of having been present. . . . Each haiku is self-sufficient. It is an enclosed world, a space of dream, autonomous. There is always an infinite sadness hidden under the words. . . . always an unforgettable image."

The Heron's Nest, with founder Christopher Herold as sole editor, first published Cindy's haiku in Volume I, Number 3 (1999):

the sound of rakes
in a neighbor's yard—
fingernail moon

Her work appeared regularly thereafter, and her first Editors' Choice haiku was published in 2000. Several more Editors' Choices followed, including

September sun—
a bubble wavers
between salmon bones

Some of her haiku received Special Mention in the Readers' Choice Valentine Awards, including this one:

autumn chill—
a butterfly swept up
with the leaves

Her body of work has been chosen for a number of prestigious anthologies, at least seven Red Moon best-of-the year books and Temps Libre/Free Times.

Paul MacNeil became her editor at The Heron's Nest in 2000. He comments: "The early death of Cindy Zackowitz is a tragedy. Cindy represents the naturalist-as-haiku-writer. Her eye for a photograph was the same as her penning a haiku poem. Her photos rose above mere craft to Art itself. Sympathetic and true images were framed to convey the essence of her subjects. So it was with Cindy's haiku topics. She carried both camera and pad of paper, it seems. We traded stories of moose, loons, butterflies, salmon and trout, even plants like fireweed. Cindy Zackowitz and I never met, but I got to know her pretty well over the years; she was a very regular contributor. Cindy had great cheer and was very modest. Also a giving person, she volunteered for a long time at a center for injured wild birds such as eagles. I nudged her for years to produce her own first haiku book."

Here are a few favorites published in recent issues of The Heron's Nest

daylight moon—
pregnant moose
settles into snow

sand covers
the salmon bones—
autumn begins

biting cold—
moonlight on the nail heads
of the old fence

Index of Memorials