Darrell Byrd, age 71, is an agricultural biologist living in the Imperial Valley, California, a diverse agricultural oasis in the northern Sonoran Desert.
He became interested in Japanese culture while serving in the Pacific Fleet stationed in Sasebo, Japan.
He recently rediscovered haiku and contributes regularly to online haiku lists and photo-haiku sites. His haiku have been published in Frogpond, The Heron's Nest, Modern Haiku, Acorn, Simply Haiku, Paper Wasp, and WHCmultimedia.
Darrell takes advantage of the desert and mountain terrain of his environs, and of his years at sea, for inspiration in writing his haiku.
1) Why do you write haiku?
Haiku was a huge challenge for me several years back. First, I was somewhat familiar with haiku from my love of Japanese culture, which I developed while stationed in Sasebo, Japan with the US Navy in the mid nineteen sixties along with my beautiful West Virginia bride. That is another culture I gained much love and respect for. Together we found many similarities in Oriental and American folk culture which we treasured. I don't remember exactly where, but around the year 2000, I read some English language haiku and was fascinated by it. It wasn't in 5-7-5 syllable count, which I thought at the time was essential. After a little online research, I began submitting to online haiku forums and contests. I loved the concept of presenting an image that allows the reader to absorb and interpret the story without being told exactly what to think, an instant in time in nature. Do you see what I see?
2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?
I love to write cinquains, a form that is not Oriental with a strict syllable count pattern. Cinquains allow more freedom in expression and thought. I also write tanka, haibun and occasionally participate in collaborative renku.
3) Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three?
a kingfisher hangs
in the air
The Heron's Nest, Dec 2002
the dragon kite
rattles its tail
a sculptured salt lick
the mare left
If you've been enjoying this weekly series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response to the three little questions that Darrell answered. You must be a published poet in order to participate.
Geert Verbeke will be our guest next week.