Carolyn Hall was an editor of Mariposa (the journal of the Haiku Poets of Northern California) and served as a member of the Red Moon Anthology Editorial Staff. She is currently the acting editor of Acorn: a journal of contemporary haiku. Her haiku have been widely published in the U.S. and abroad, and she has received numerous awards, including both Poem of the Year and Poet of the Year in The Heron's Nest Readers' Choice Awards. Water Lines, her award-winning collection of haiku and senryu, was published by Snapshot Press (UK, 2006).
Carolyn shares her response to three questions.
Thank you so much for undertaking this exciting project and for giving me the opportunity to participate.
1. Why do you write haiku?
Before I was introduced to haiku (by a friend) nine years ago, I walked through the world with my eyes half-shut. I grew up in a city, and, aside from the angleworms in the back yard and the occasional spider in the bath tub, I was oblivious to the living things around me--both flora and fauna. Haiku opened my eyes to it all--for which I am exceedingly grateful. The pleasure of learning the names and habits of things creepy and crawly and deciduous or evergreen is something I can't imagine having ever lived without. Haiku also taught me to see friends and family and neighbors in a way I never had before, and gave me a means of expressing those observations. Though haiku is often described as the relationship between Nature and human nature, for me it is all about human nature. Even my most purely Nature-oriented poems always reflect the human condition. Finally, haiku play an important role as a memory-jogger and diary of my life. I often draw a blank when asked to recite one of my own haiku from memory. Yet when I read or recall my own haiku I am taken immediately back to the time and the place and the emotions that were evoked and that inspired me to write that particular poem. In short, haiku allows me to express who I am, and to hold onto who I was.
2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?
I enjoy reading and writing senryu (which I can only sometimes distinguish from haiku) and haibun and rengay and, occasionally, tanka. I have written and published creative nonfiction and longer poems. But the poetry I return to again and again is haiku. It suits me--and satisfies me.
3. Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three?
This seems an impossible question because my answer will vary from day to day depending on my mood. However, these three have received some attention and appreciation from others, and I like them as well.
baiting one fish
The Heron's Nest IV:11 (2002)
so suddenly winter
baby teeth at the bottom
of the button jar
The Heron's Nest VII:1 (2005)
hand in hand —
the creek meanders
Modern Haiku XXXI:2 (2000)
Wishing you all best,
Pamela A. Babusci will be our Haiku - Three Questions guest next week.