Carol Purington 1949-2020

Carol Anne Purington of Colrain passed away on December 8, 2020 at home with family by her side after a period of declining health. She was 71 years old.

Polio may have crippled Carol's body, but it didn't control her mind or spirit. Carol's legacy is a testament to the indomitability of the human spirit. For someone so physically challenged, yet so accomplished as a writer and a person, she should be an inspiration to all, to strive in spite of what limitations we have, to make the best of the life we are given.

It is traditional for a haiku writer to leave behind a death poem:

Her final word -
a window thrown
open to the spring evening 


Carol Purington – Who I Am, What I Write

Welcome to my world of words. I am a writer, meaning that I find deepest satisfaction when fitting daily experiences into words. For more than three decades I have been exploring my natural and psychological worlds through haiku, tanka and other Japanese verse forms.

 Visit Carol Purington's page on Amazon.com

Contact Nancy Purington for ordering information for books not available from Amazon.

Meditations for Advent
Carol Purington
Woodslawn Farm
November 2011 – November 2015

Click here to read or download the 64 page pdf document.


With autumn comes the delightful harvest-feeling of having a new book in print. Faces I Might Wear is a gathering of 200+ tanka written over the past 20 years and published in various magazines and online sites.
Faces I Might Wear by Carol Purington
Unlike my previous tanka volumes, this new collection is neither narrative nor primarily autobiographical. All of the poems are spoken in a woman’s voice, and many are shaped from the substances and shadows that surround me. But the accent may belong to a woman I have known or read about or imagined, and she may speak from another generation that inhabited the landscape reflected in most of these tanka.

I have spent much of my life wandering the byways of imagination, and I remind the reader that a poet speaks with various voices, sometimes wears makeup, sometimes wears masks.

     Carol Purington
     Woodslawn Farm 2013

148 pp., perfect bound.
Photographs by Elizabeth Purington.
Published by Winfred Press, 2013.
Buy a copy from the Lulu.com online bookstore.

Cool and slippery
under my fingers
the globe
on my daughter’s desk
that spins her away from me
I rock the hammock,
watch bats
flicker away
from the empty barn’s blank windows

Falling in love
with a telephone voice
for a day
I ignore Sinatra
turn off Pavarotti

The neighbor
who swears me off her property
calls me to plow her drive
I turn the other cheek
against a sleeting wind
Carol co-edited Morning Song: Poetry for New Parents, published in April 2011 by St. Martin's Press.

More about the editors, Carol Purington and Susan Todd, and their book.


A Harvest of Words ― Carol Purington by Margaret Chula, published in Tanka Online.

Books by Carol Purington

Gathering Peace 

Gathering Peace is a memoir of Carol Purington’s inner life, chronicling a decades-long journey toward insight and acceptance. The movement is episodic rather than narrative, structured around emotions rather than events, because that is how her memory holds the past. Although all of the incidents are factual, some details have been adjusted, and the poems have been sequenced to reflect a personal logic, not the order of their composition. The poems follow the form of the Japanese tanka, a very short verse that links a flash of mood or a moment of awareness with an image of the physical Creation.

89 pp., perfect-bound.
Front cover photograph by Tasha Gilbert.
Published by Winfred Press, 2007.
ISBN 0-9766407-4-0
$16 ppd.

The Trees Bleed Sweetness:  A Tanka Narrative

A tanka sequence that tells the story of a Native American woman. These poems convey the physical and emotional texture of her life from childhood into old age through vivid natural imagery and the inner voice of this wonderfully imagined persona. Already called "a minor classic," this book will delight not only readers attuned to the tanka genre, but all lovers of fine poetry.

Ten tanka from The Trees Bleed Sweetness have been set to music by Alice Parker, an internationally famous composer with Western Massachusetts roots. Her suite of songs, "Singing at Dawn," was premiered as part of the Mohawk Trail Concerts Series on July 20 and 21, 2012, in Charlemont, Massachusetts. Gail Blache-Gill, mezzo-soprano, was accompanied by flautist Christopher Krueger and percussionist Sharif Mamoun.

60 pp., perfect-bound.
Illustrations by Walter Cudnohufsky.
Published by Winfred Press, 1997.
Second printing, 2012.
Buy a copy from the Lulu.com online bookstore.

A Pattern for This Place:  Words of a Pioneer Woman

This companion book to The Trees Bleed Sweetness focuses on the physical and psychological reality of a pioneer woman who has moved with her family from Revolutionary Boston to a cabin west of the Connecticut River. There she struggles to shape a new life for her husband and children while coping with the loneliness of geographical dislocation and the harsh joys of wilderness living.

80 pp., perfect-bound.
Quilt block illustrations by Stephanie B. Purington.
Published by Winfred Press, 2001.
$16.00 ppd.

Where the Schoolhouse Flag First Floated  -  The Story of Catamount Hill

The beautiful and historically intriguing section of Colrain, Massachusetts known as Catamount Hill is widely remembered for a unique flag-raising that took place in 1812. But there is much more to know about this area and its people, and in this prose booklet Carol Purington tells the story of a place fascinating for its natural beauty and unusual record of community life, as well as for its role in American history.

23 pp., staple-bound
Published by Carol Purington, 2005.
$6.00 ppd.

a spill of apples: tanrenga and other linked verse
by Carol Purington & Larry Kimmel

Two experienced haiku writers explore ways of linking images, moods and worlds in the unfamiliar but intriguing Japanese genres of tanrenga, rengay, renku, and tanka sequence. The poets’ words are given visual illumination in fine drawings.

49 pp., perfect-bound
Drawings by Merrill Ann Gonzales.
Published by Winfred Press, 2003.
ISBN 0-9743856-6-2
Out of print.

Family Farm:  Haiku for a Place of Moon

Winner of an Honorable Mention from the Haiku Society of America's Merit Book Awards 2000, Family Farm captures the seasons and individual patterns of life on a multi-generational farm. In thirteen sections, each identified by a Native American name for a full moon, more than 300 of Purington's skillfully crafted haiku are sequenced into an order that conveys both change and continuity.

100 pp., perfect-bound.
Illustrations by Shirley L. Horn.
Published by Winfred Press, 1999.
Reprinted 2015.
Buy a copy from the Lulu.com online bookstore.

Woodslawn Farm: Haiku for a New England Year

The 200-year-old farm where Carol Purington has spent her life is highlighted in this first collection of her haiku. With precise observations and vivid words she portrays the ever-changing details and panoramas of four seasons spent in the Berkshire Hills.

60 pp., perfect-bound.
Illustrations by Helen Chester.
Published by Carol Purington, 1989.
Out of print.


Awards and Other Honors

First Prize, Hawaii Education Association (1992)
First Prize, Haiku Society of America’s Harold G. Henderson Award (1992)
Frogpond Best of Issue Award, (1996)
First Prize, Haiku Poets of Northern California's International Rengay Contest, with Larry Kimmel (1996)
Hummingbird Featured Poet (March 1998)
Editors’ Choice, The Heron’s Nest (September 2001)
First Prize, Tanka Society of America Contest (2002)
Poem of the Month, Christian Science Monitor Online (June 2003)
First Prize, Haiku Poets of Northern California International San Francisco Tanka Contest (2003)
Red Lights Featured Tanka Poet (2008)
Ribbons Tanka Café Member's Choice (Autumn 2010)



Carol's poems have appeared in the following publications:

American Tanka
Bottle Rockets
Christian Science Monitor
Lynx Online
Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary
Pine Island Journal
Poetry in the Light
Red Lights
Simply Haiku Online
Tanka Online
Time of Singing