Sunday, April 19, 2009

Deborah P. Kolodji - Three Questions

Deborah P Kolodji - Photo by Naia
Deborah P Kolodji moderates the Southern California Haiku Study Group which meets monthly at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena. She is also president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and moderates a quarterly speculative poetry workshop at varied locations around Los Angeles. She has published over 850 poems of various types, themes, and forms, including haiku in Modern Haiku, Frogpond, Acorn, Simply Haiku, bottle rockets, Moonset, Hermitage, Wisteria, Mayfly, Roadrunner Haiku, Mainichi Daily News, the Red Moon Anthology, and the New Resonance 4: Emerging Voices in English Language Haiku.

Her first chapbook of haiku, Seaside Moon, Saki Press, 2005 was a finalist in the Virgil Hutton Haiku Memorial Chapbook Award. Her second chapbook, unfinished book, Shadows Ink Publications, 2006, is a collection of haiku and cinquains and other short poems. She has also published a chapbook of speculative poetry, Symphony of the Universe, Sam's Dot Publishing, 2006 and a chapbook of speculative haiku, Red Planet Dust, Gromagon Press, 2006.

She is the editor of Amaze: The Cinquain Journal and edits Dwarf Stars, an anthology of speculative poetry 10 lines or less. She has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul.

1. Why do you write haiku?

Haiku has become a part of my daily life. It keeps me grounded, helps me through the hectic pace of my existence by taking the time to pause and notice the little things which happen in my world. I am much more observant of the things that happen around me than I was before I started writing haiku.

I started writing haiku as a way to learn to be less wordy in my longer poetry, to learn how to make each word count. It quickly became my preferred method of poetic expression. I carry a notebook with me everywhere.

My poetic muse tends to really respond to my environment. I once wrote a longer poem about the old Apollo-Soyuz mission while sitting in a museum in front of the actual Apollo command module from one of the missions. And because of this, and because I like to go on a lot of nature hikes and bird walks, this sort of environment stimulation naturally triggers haiku. I am a member of the local botanical garden and it relaxes me to go on walks with my haiku notebook.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I love all types of poetry, but am particularly drawn to shorter poetry. Even most of my non-haiku poetry is usually 20 lines or less. I usually prefer imagistic poetry over narrative poetry, free verse over rhymed, but I've been known to write a sonnet or two! I basically let the poem dictate the form it takes.

I enjoy the American cinquain, which is one of the reasons I started Amaze: The Cinquain Journal with Denis Garrison. It took me a while to get the hang of tanka, but it is another form I've come to love. But no matter what I write, somehow I always come back to haiku.

The speculative poetry I also write comes out of my interest in science, which is related to my interest in natural science. So, there's a sort of natural progression from my haiku and nature poetry to my poems on geology and astronomy, and from there to my science fiction and fantasy poetry. I can stand in a lilac garden after the bloom period has passed and write a haiku. Then I might notice a solitary bush still blooming the way the rest did a month ago and suddenly I'm writing a poem about time warps.

3) Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three?

morning tidepools
a hermit crab tries on
the bottle cap

World Haiku Review - Volume 2, Issue 2: June 2002
2nd Place - WHC Global Haiku Tournament

white marble
I am small at the feet
of Lincoln

The Heron's Nest - Volume V, Number 6: June 2003

pulsing sea jellies
a symphony orchestra
on mute

Modern Haiku, Fall 2004

If you've been enjoying this weekly series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response (whether it be for haiku or tanka) to the three little questions that Deborah answered. You must be a published poet in order to participate.

Allan Burns will be our guest next week.


Gene Murtha said...

hello Deborah,

this has always been one of my favorite poems of yours:

white marble
I am small at the feet
of Lincoln


Asakiyume said...

Wonderful interview! And those three haiku were just beautiful--I couldn't choose among them; they all say so much, so eloquently.

MikeA said...

I adore the bottle cap poem. Lovely poetry and interesting answers!

Anonymous said...

Bottle cap and Lincoln haikus are just wonderful. They all are.

Roswila said...

I, too, really enjoyed all three but this is my favorite:

pulsing sea jellies
a symphony orchestra
on mute

Alan Summers said...

Great to see:

morning tidepools
a hermit crab tries on
the bottle cap
This was one of my favourites from that time, even if we were on rival teams! I was one of the Seven Samurai! ;-)

all my best,
With Words.

Greg Schwartz said...

love that bottle cap poem. is "seaside moon" still available anywhere?