Karen Klein is a retired literature professor and a visual artist. Since retirement, she has become a professional modern dancer with the Prometheus Dance Elders Ensemble. A past secretary of the Haiku Society of America, her haiku and senryu have been published nationally and internationally. With Raffael DeGruttola and Judson Evans, she edited Wind Flow, a chapbook of the Boston Haiku Society, published December 2008.
1. Why do you write haiku?
In 1994, I decided I needed to be more observant of the world around me, and to do that I would write a daily haiku. I knew nothing about haiku, but thought it was three lines with a syllabic pattern of 5-7-5. Empowered by ignorance, I wrote for a year. At its end, a poet-friend (not a haijin)published a small book of my ink drawings and selected poems; naively, I titled it 'from the Haiku Year'. The same friend sent the book to Raffael who met with me and gently explained that nothing I had written was a haiku. He invited me to join the Boston Haiku Society; I did, learned how to write haiku there, and have been happily there ever since. What I try to do with my ink drawings applies to what I try to do with haiku: "to get the maximum expressiveness with a minimum of marks." I like that challenge.
2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?
I love renku and am part of a New England group, 'the immature green herons.' I also write longer, lyric poems; often a haiku is the nub or germ of the longer poem. My life has been enriched immeasurably by the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, W.B.Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens to whom I return again and again, and my spirit by the work of Adrienne Rich.
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 no idea what my top three are. I'm still often puzzled both by the acceptances and the rejections I get. Why these and not those? But here are three that have personal resonance for me.
news of his death
in an email
Modern Haiku, 35:1(2004)
empty bed blues
RAW NerVZ, VIII:1(2002)
18 month old
finds the moon
If you've been enjoying this weekly series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response to the three little questions that Karen answered. You must be a published poet in order to participate.
Carlos Colón will be our guest next week.