Praise for The Wonder Code


“In The Wonder Code, author Scott Mason reflects upon the basic elements of haiku and with diligence and intelligence extends ‘[t]he unwavering gaze of haiku poetry’ into contemporary life. The book is not only a substantial introduction to haiku as literature but a jolt (delivered with exuberance and élan) toward life-changing discovery and ‘seeing the world with new eyes.’


“There is not only a lover of poetry at work here but an accomplished and informed life-coach who has discovered in haiku something necessary to encourage and promote purely in the interests of self-realization and personal development.


“While Mason is careful not to cut contemporary haiku free from its historical moorings in Japanese culture, the book does successfully map its affinities and course through dozens of other influences, mostly Western, demonstrating the why and wherefore of its universal (and ever-growing) appeal. The unfolding of the book’s five chapters, each focused on a single theme and accompanied by a gallery of poems from the haiku journal The Heron’s Nest, is refreshing, powerful, and illuminating.


“For its contribution to appreciating and understanding haiku, we think The Wonder Code is a good bet to stand the test of time and take a special place beside titles by Blyth, Henderson, and Higginson.”


Touchstone Distinguished Books Award

The Haiku Foundation

(from the award citation)



“[T]his innovative and significant addition to our haiku libraries . . . is a welcome read for the novice and the experienced practitioner alike. The book is carefully organized into sections of five haiku ‘imperatives’ (e.g., ‘think small’). The prose is fresh, friendly, and engaging, and Mason also illustrates his imperatives with five ‘galleries’ of haiku from two decades of The Heron’s Nest that often include intriguing and insightful pairings with delightful connections. And to top it off, Mason includes a ‘Solo Exhibition’ of his own masterful haiku and witty senryu that we’ve been savoring in journals and contests for years.”


Merit Book Award (Prose)

The Haiku Society of America

(from the award citation)



“This is a fine book, very well written by a leading haiku practitioner and editor. The five central chapters focus on various aspects of haiku presented as paths—a code, if you will—to unlocking the abilities of haiku to create wonder. …


“[Mason] is a fine writer who has thought these matters through carefully and presents his theses on composing and enjoying haiku in a novel and engaging way. His style is lucid and engaging, light yet serious and informative. …


The Wonder Code [is] a book that I think will be influential in the years to come.”


Charles Trumbull

Modern Haiku (Winter-Spring 2018)



The Wonder Code is many things: a guide to writing haiku, a meditation on haiku practice, an anthology and a philosophical manifesto.


“Mason is a writer with his readers’ interests at heart. He is serious without ever being solemn; he is informative and celebratory. And his own haiku illustrate an absolute engagement with the deceptive simplicity of haiku writing: the challenge of creating two parts that ‘ignite’ and produce the startling heat of veracity.”


Lynne Rees

Wales Haiku Journal (Summer 2018)



“Life and literature are inseparable from each other. But literature may sometimes go beyond mere observation of life. It may actually put us on the path of self-realization. This is precisely what Scott Mason’s book The Wonder Code attempts to do. It is not merely a collection of the literary form called haiku but is also Mason’s attempt to make readers take a deep look into their basic philosophy of life.


“Each of the five chapters … is a distilled essence of the guiding principles of haiku explained in a lucid and engaging style. Besides being an inspiration for haiku poets, they are also a gentle but persuasive nudge towards personal growth.


“Haiku voices from all over the world have been represented in this book. Some of Scott Mason’s own works have also been showcased.


“For readers who wish to imbibe the spirit of haiku, this is an excellent read. Mason has made a strong case for haiku being a transformative experience in one’s life. And reading this book gives the reader more than a glimpse of that transformative experience.”


Vidya S Venkatramani

Narrow Road Literary Journal (August 2018)



“Ever since Blyth and Henderson published their groundbreaking translations and interpretations of Japanese haiku years ago many others have taken pen in hand to show how such a small form of poetry is able to create works that can move us more vividly and directly than longer ones. No one has been more successful than Scott Mason in this book.”


Cor van den Heuvel

Editor, The Haiku Anthology



The Wonder Code is a superb piece of work and a book that I think over time will be read and re-read for generations.”


Michael McClintock

Founding President, United Haiku and Tanka Society