Towpath is an eclectic group of haiku poets primarily living in the National Capital Region of the USA (DC, Maryland, and Virginia). Our members range from beginner haiku poets to veterans who have published books and edited haiku journals. We meet regularly via Zoom to workshop poems, learn about the craft, and enjoy each other’s company. We also welcome new members. If you are interested in haiku, live in the National Capital Region, and want to visit a meeting, please contact us

Bill Sette is retired and lives in Arlington, Virginia. He worked at EPA for just over 30 years as a neurotoxicologist. He began writing haiku in 2008, growing out of longstanding interests in poetry, taoism, zazen, and tai chi. A Towpath member since 2015, his haiku have been published in Frogpond, Modern Haiku, and in a number of anthologies.

Iowa Caucus
some assembly required

Modern Haiku #53.1 (2020)

movement in stillness
stillness in movement
green heron hunts

Frogpond #44.1 (2021)

Dana Gittings is a D.C.-area poet who has explored the world of haiku and related forms since joining Towpath in early 2020. Dana’s poetry has been featured in AbridgedAvatar, and iNK BLOTS, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, two compilations from the DC Poetry Collective dedicated to the multitudes who have perished and the deaths still to come due to COVID-19. She has also co-published a renku in Under the Basho and a rengay in Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu, and maintains an educational blog on alcohol sobriety. Find out more about Dana’s poetry at

shower time—
alone in hot water
I get the last word

faces masked
a fathom apart
only eyes
can reach


Elizabeth Black. Painter, poet, naturalist living in Haymarket, Virginia.  Art exhibited in private and public collections; poems, including numerous haiku, published in several journals; volunteers as a master naturalist in Prince William County working on restoration of native plants and trees and removal of invasive species.

winter woods
the geometry
of falling snow


november sun
the peeled bark
of a yellow birch

The Heron’s Nest

Julie Bloss Kelsey’s haiku, tanka, and scifaiku (science fiction haiku) have appeared in more than 40 poetry journals and 20 anthologies. Recent awards include the DC Area winner of the 2021 Golden Haiku Poetry Contest, winner of the 2020 First VSANA Haiku Contest, and co-winner of the 2020 COBKA Haiku Contest. Her first poetry chapbook, The Call of Wildflowers, was published in 2020 by Title IX Press. Julie is currently on the board of The Haiku Foundation, where she focuses on welcoming newcomers to the haiku community. She resides in Germantown, Maryland with her husband and kids.

free will to do what I say bully pulpit


2021 Marlene Mountain Memorial Haiku Contest, honorable mention

still searching
for the meaning of life…
cauliflower sky

Failed Haiku (October 2020)

Kathleen O’Toole is a longtime community organizer and the current Poet Laureate of Takoma Park, MD. Her haiku journey began under the influence of her friend Nick Virgilio in the 1980s. He haiku and haibun have appeared in Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Heron’s Nest, and Nothing in the Window, The 2012 Red Moon Anthology of English Language Haiku. They have also been featured in her two books, This Far (Paraclete, 2019) and Meanwhile (David Roberts Books, 2011). Kathleen co-edited the 2010 Towpath Anthology a few stars away, with Ellen Compton.

rowing home
his oars dipping
into stars

Modern Haiku #43.3 (2012)

mid July
two-bee harmony
in the lavender

The Wonder Code (2017)

Lee Giesecke, a retired government actuary, was one of the founding members of Towpath. He has been writing haiku for about forty years and has appeared most recently in bottle rockets, Frogpond, and Modern Haiku. He has also appeared in several post-publication anthologies including the Red Moon anthologies, A New Resonance (1999), and HAIKU poetry ancient & modern (2002).

reflected clouds
the window washer lowers himself
into the sky

SOUTH by SOUTHEAST, #10.2 (2003)

after joining
our malamutes’ howls
all of us feeling fresh

 A New Resonance (1999)


Linda Weir is a biologist and poet living in Maryland. Linda has been reading and writing haiku and related forms since 2016. She enjoys the distilled nature of haiku, its ability to say so much in so few words. Her poems have appeared in FrogpondBlithe SpiritPresence and various anthologies.

night skies
of another world
Chichén Itzá

Frogpond #42.3 (2019)

flattened toad
all the things
we can’t unsee

Towpath Anthology (2020)

Matt Snyder‘s journey has taken him from Indiana to Washington, DC and some interesting places along the way. Matt is an avid reader of poetry who took up the pen in recent years, and spends his moments planting things, feeding the cats, reading widely, running, working, and listening to and playing music (currently seeking like-minded music-makers in the DC area).

away from the house
quiet in the pines
a lonely child

always surprised
by a Midwest sunset
mom and dad’s porch

Penny Showell (Ellen Pennington Harvey) has authored fantasy and ghost stories for children, inspired by her surroundings when growing up in West Virginia. She has composed musicals and other plays performed by children and, for adults, autored a play about the death penalty. She worked as a writer/editor for the VISTA and Peace Corps programs. Now most of her time is taken up with haiku, sumi-e painting and developing a picture book. She lives in a retirement community in Springfield, VA, enjoying walks by a stream in the nearby woods. Being a member of Towpath gives her a highly valued connection to the world of haiku poets. 

walking into a spider web
… break of day

waving grass
hair tickling my face


Richard M. Titus, Ph.D. started his training in architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.  There, at that time, everything Japanese  was holy.  He read a lot about haiku, started scribbling them, and never stopped.  He visited Japan twice to lecture and became a nihonaphile.  Lots wrong, but lots more right.

my tiny garden
even here
earth moves the shadows

Cambridge summer sundown
shadows creep
ancient buildings reminisce

Robert Forsythe took up haiku in 2007 for reasons that remain lost in the mists of time. In 2014 he discovered HSA and began submitting poems for publication. Since then he has appeared in the usual array of journals and anthologies, won recognition in the 2018 H. Gene Murtha and 2019 Golden Triangle contests, and become a regular attendee of HNA and Seabeck. His poetry crosses a range of styles but often betrays the bias toward senryu of someone who spends too much time indoors, or the ambivalent detachment of an imperfect Taoist.

the length of the train
the length of our silence
unprotected crossing

Last Train Home (2021)

suburban darkness
only the rumble
of garbage can wheels

The Heron’s Nest #17.4 (2015)
The Wonder Code (2017)

Roberta Beary writes to connect with the disenfranchised, to let them know they are not alone. Her haiku collection, The Unworn Necklace (Snapshot Press, 5th reprint 2017) and haibun collection, Deflection (Accents, 2015) are multiple award winners. Beary coedited the international women’s haiku anthology Wishbone Moon (Jacar Press, 2018) with towpath co-founder Ellen Compton and haiku poet Kala Ramesh. Her second collection, Carousel, (forthcoming) won the Snapshot Press Book Award. A frequent haiku contest judge, anthology editor, and conference presenter, Beary lives in County Mayo, Ireland where she is the longtime haibun editor for Modern Haiku.

born this way . . .
the orientation
of winter stars

Acorn Issue #35 (Fall 2015)

abortion day
a shadow flutters
the fish tank

(from the haibun Genetics)
Rattle Issue #47
Tribute to Japanese forms

Ryland Shengzhi Li is an environmental lawyer and poet living in Northern Virginia. His work juxtaposes the natural with the human and suggests the interdependence between all things. Ryland writes predominantly haiku and tanka, and his work has been published in Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Ribbons, Presence, and many other journals. 

raindrop window—
the starry skies
of my childhood

Towpath Anthology (2020)

the values
of light inside
a children’s slide

Modern Haiku #52.2 (2021)


Susan Burch is a good egg. 

medicinal weight gain the blob returns

MahMight Haiku Journal (Dec. 15, 2021)

something to cling to life preserver moon

Cold Moon Journal (June 6, 2021)