Sunday, May 10, 2009
Colin Stewart Jones - Three Questions
Colin Stewart Jones lives and writes in Aberdeen, Scotland. He studied Gaelic language and literature at the University of Aberdeen. His final dissertation for his MA was on points of contact between Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean and the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. Colin went on to study an MLitt in Irish and Scottish Studies under Professor Tom Devine at the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies.
Colin first started writing haiku in 2005 when he realised that it was not just about counting syllables. He has had some success with publishing haiku, tanka, haiga, renku and haibun; appearing in many online and print journals. His work has also appeared in white lies: The Red Moon Anthology of English Language Haiku 2008, contemporary haibun Vol 10 and he placed joint first in the 2008 Haiku Poets of Northern California International Rengay Competition. Colin has been experimenting with one-word haiga which were published by The World Haiku Review. In a recent review of Colin’s book A Seal Snorts out the Moon, published by Cauliay, Robert Wilson, managing editor of Simply Haiku, described his writing as a cross between Bukowski and Kerouac.
Colin is also one of the editors for Notes From the Gean: A Journal of Japanese Short Forms.
Samples of Colin's published work can be read at:
1) Why do you write haiku?
I write haiku because I have a short attention span. Seriously, this is true but not for the reasons you may think. I have a mental health problem and I sometimes find it hard to concentrate. Haiku makes me stop and think and actually take in what is around me. I find the concentration on image and the distillation of thought to be very beneficial to me. Therefore, I do not believe in the “haiku moment”, I think they are there all the time, one just has to notice them.
2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?
I wrote my university dissertation on a Gaelic poet, Sorley MacLean, which sparked my interest in poetry of other cultures. Unfortunately university killed my love of reading for a long time but I got over it. I like haiga, haibun and tanka. I am currently experimenting with one-word haiga and minimal haibun but I really do struggle with tanka, though I can appreciate it when it is done well. I regard the Book of Job to be a masterpiece on the human condition and I enjoy reading the Psalms. All art is poetic, however, especially dance – I love to dance.
3) Of the many wonderful haiku you have written, what do you consider to be your top three?
I am still learning my craft and will probably never get there but I hope the next one will be better than the previous one. I have chosen three for very different reasons:
a horse clears
featured on the front page of Simply Haiku, Spring 2006, vol 4 no 1
Robert Wilson said this one was reminiscent of Buson and this made me feel proud – who says haiku does not contain ego?
now for another
glass of Shiraz
paper wasp, Spring 2008
I have chosen this because I believe the fragment to be unique.
crescent moon –
tonight the man
Haibun Today, January 7th 2009
This is part of a very political haibun that I thought would never get published but I was very pleased when Jeffrey Woodward published it.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.
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 Colin answered. You must be a published poet in order to participate.
Djurdja Vukelic Rozic will be our guest next week.