Richard Stevenson

I made an impromptu trip to Nanaimo, British Columbia, but thanks to Covid fears, didn’t meet up with any local authors (you’ll recall that Robert Hilles lives there part of the year). Another local author who has lived abroad has been kind enough to share some of his haiku: Richard Stevenson, who has retired to Nanaimo after a thirty-year teaching career at Lethbridge College, and who taught for two years in Maiduguri, Nigeria (in the very city that Boca Haram has recently abducted women and children). Stevenson has published four books on his experiences from 1980-82 during the last throes of the Shehu Shagari regime: Driving Offensively (Sono Nis Press, 1985), Horizontal Hotel; A Nigerian Odyssey (TSAR Publishing, 1989), Flying Coffins (Ekstasis Editions, 1994), and Hot Flashes: Maiduguri Haiku, Senryu, and Tanka (Ekstasis Editions, 2001). He has several children’s books coming out in a cryptid critter series. The poems below are from his forthcoming Bature! West African Haikai, with Mawenzi House (formerly TSAR Publishing). We begin with the voice of a new arrival looking out on the Sahel outside his front door, at thorn trees, lizards, and birds, taking in his new home in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria. -DM

ba Toor ay –

Hausa for white man

European on tour



Abyssinian Rollers –

the rough and tumble

of his own vocalic runs

as he names the bird

Abyssinian Roller (#11) from A Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Williams and Arlott (London: Collins 1963 rpt. 1988, Plate 16.)

Haruna’s Take on Glasses


Haruna’s rule:

need Ed Ministry work done?

wear glasses


a man with glasses

has status, commands respect

knows folks


        pince nez

or sunglasses won’t work

one makes you a monk

the other hides

your eyes


a monocle?

sorry. you’re

Colonel Klink


All photo credits: Gepke Stevenson.

Posted by Debra Martens

author, editor