Charlotte Digregorio is a poet and author of four non-fiction books sold worldwide, and is a frequent media guest and interviewee. She holds graduate degrees in Italian and French Literatures, and has been on the faculty of universities, teaching languages and writing. She has also given workshops on the craft of writing non-fiction at libraries, bookstores, and colleges/universities throughout the country, as well as doing poetry readings. She hosted her own radio poetry program, “Poetry Beat,” on Oregon Public Broadcasting for two years.
1) Why do you write haiku?
I’ve been writing and publishing haiku since 1995, along with senryu and tanka, in various journals including Modern Haiku, bottle rockets, and frogpond. I write haiku because it helps to keep me focused on the present and on the simple things around me that are worth appreciating. Like many people, throughout my life, I’ve often dwelled on the past and spent too much time pondering the “What Ifs” of the future. I also write haiku because I like its brevity. I always carry a pocket notebook, and if a thought or image strikes me, I record it. Sometimes an image jumps out as I’m driving. Or, sometimes at night when it’s quiet, and I’m resting in an armchair, I think about a previous season that I long for, and a favorite image comes to me. I don’t labor over revising the haiku for months, as one might do with longer forms of poetry. It’s neat, clean, and manageable. I write it, review and revise it within a few days, or a week at most.
2) What other poetic forms do your enjoy?
I enjoy writing the sestina, and reading the sonnet, ballad, ode, villanelle, and rondeau. I don’t care much for free verse, as I see a lot of bad ones written. I prefer poems with a recognizable style and form, and I do consider haiku to have that.
3) Of the many wonderful haiku you’ve written, what do you consider to be your top three?
wooded hills . . .
the evening downpour
fogs distant city lights
Modern Haiku, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, Summer 1996
after confession . . .
my neighbor burns leaves
in autumn’s chill
Modern Haiku, Vol. XXVIII, No. 1, Winter-Spring 1997
bedridden mother . . .
International Herald Tribune, Asahi Haikuist Network, Feb. 17, 2007
If you've been enjoying the weekly Haiku - Three Questions series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response to the three little questions that Charlotte answered. You must be a published poet to participate.
paul m. will be our guest poet next week.