Sunday, February 24, 2008

William J. Higginson - Three Questions

The Haiku Handbook by William J. Higginson with Penny Harter was among the first books I purchased when I began my haiku journey in 2002.

This week, Bill Higginson shares his response to my three questions:

Hi Curtis, here goes . . .

1. Why do you write haiku?

It's just a part of my life, now. I suppose that, 40+ years ago, I was intrigued by these little epiphanies that I discovered first in Japanese haiku, and later in some (very few) of the haiku North Americans were writing.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

All. From limericks to epics. My favorite writing mode outside of haikai-related poems is somewhere in the range from organic form (Levertov) to projective verse (Olson), though most of my poems, looked at objectively, have also a tendency toward more regularity than either of them. I've also written monosyllabic chants and Ginsbergian very long lines (think paragraph, not verse paragraph), not to mention a number of poems in various received forms. Whatever mode the mind-event seems to go with.

3. Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three? (Please provide original publication credits.)

I don't do "top three" or "the best". The following are among those with staying power for me.

Holding the water,
    held by it —
        the dark mud.

Haiku West, 3:2, edited by Leroy Kanterman, copyright © 1970.

wet snow —
another color or two
on the sycamore boughs

Modern Haiku, 22:2, edited by Robert Spiess, copyright © 1991.

a gun in the wildflowers
one young man
more or less

The Unswept Path: Contemporary American Haiku, ed. John Brandi and Dennis Maloney, White Pine Press, copyright © 2005.

You've got it!

If you are enjoying this weekly feature, please consider sending your answers to the questions that Mr. Higginson answered. I believe this little exercise is of some haiku historical significance. :-) Responses are posted in the order that they are received. You can submit your answers by clicking on the Contact link on this page.

Next week, Aurora Antonovic.

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