Kirsty Karkow has two best-selling books in print: water poems: haiku,tanka and sijo and also shorelines: haiku, haibun and tanka. Both are published by Black Cat Press. Her haiku have won the Mainichi and the R.H Blyth Award and have placed in other contests. She is the past VP of the Tanka Society of America and past tanka editor for Simply Haiku.
She lives with her husband in a Danish cottage on the midcoast of Maine USA.
1. Why do you write haiku?
Thank you for being interested.
This short, seemingly simple poem satisfies an innate need-- the attempt to capture a special moment in the world around me; an event that seems to have more meaning when written down and then shared. During a dry period, even though my surroundings are usually watery, there is a deep sense of loss. For me, the writing of haiku adds to a practice of momentary awareness. Each poem doesn't have to be a winner (and few are ) but the occasional gift arrives which adds to the delight.
I knew nothing of haiku, when, in 2000, a sudden obsession with the this little poem overtook me. It has been a amazing and wonderful trip aboard this haiku train. A trip made additionally valuable by the haiku poets that I have met, and grown to respect, via the Internet. All have been very generous with their time, knowledge and experience. . . and still are. I like to think I'm able to extend this favor to others from time to time.
2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?
I read all kinds of classic poetry as a youngster, a habit that slipped as life got more complex. It was not until the turn of the last century that interest was re-kindled, mostly with Asian poetry. Haiku, tanka and sijo. Also the ecstatic Sufi poets. Sadly, a lot of contemporary free verse doesn't seem to resonate though I love reading what to me are the more straight-forward works of Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Stanley Kunitz, Czeslaw Milosz et al.
3. Of the many wonderful haiku you've written what do you consider to be your top three? ( Please provide original publication credits)
I have a terrible time judging my own haiku and couldn't begin to choose. However, there have been many kind letters that have referred to favorites and three of these are shared here.
we wade into the current
of a great river
--The Heron's Nest May 2002
-- water poems: haiku, tanka and sijo Kirsty Karkow Black Cat Press 2005
my path to the hills
starts in mist
--Modern Haiku 33:2
--A New Resonance 3 edited by Jim Kacian and Dee Everts Red Moon Press
in aromatic loam
--Modern Haiku 36.1
--Haiku Society of America Anthology 2007
--shorelines: haiku, haibun and tanka Kirsty Karkow Black Cat Press 2007
Thank you for the opportunity to gather my thoughts for your interesting column.
Next week, Jane Reichhold.