Ann K. Schwader is a Wyoming native relocated to suburban Colorado. Her haiku have appeared in Modern Haiku, Heron’s Nest, bottle rockets, Frogpond, Roadrunner, WHR, Simply Haiku, Mainichi Daily News, one cycle of DailyHaiku, and the Red Moon anthology big sky.
She is also a widely published speculative poet and writer of dark fiction, with multiple Honorable Mentions in Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror. Her poetry chapbooks include Werewoman (Nocturnal Publications 1990), The Worms Remember (Hive Press 2001), Architectures of Night (Dark Regions Press 2003), and In the Yaddith Time (Mythos Books 2007).
1) Why do you write haiku?
I’m both a formalist (most of the time) and a science fiction poet. Haiku appeals to both of these interests: it’s a strict yet evolving form which offers insights into a culture very unlike my own. Writing haiku demands a completely different mindset than writing Western verse forms; I think it improves my writing of both.
I also appreciate the way that haiku allows me to write poetry more frequently. I love the experience of writing a poem, but can’t always organize my life well enough to devote hours to a longer poem in progress. The impulse to write haiku can be answered much more quickly, and moments can be preserved before they evaporate in the day’s concerns.
2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?
I work in several of the standard Western forms, but my lifelong favorite is the sonnet. Like a haiku, a sonnet is a concise, evolving verse form spawned by a specific culture (or set of cultures), yet infinitely variable. Those fourteen lines can be packed with meaning until they explode.
I’ve also begun writing haibun as an alternative to prose poetry, and I think I prefer it. There’s a bit more structure to a haibun, though at the same time there’s more actual poetry involved. My haibun so far have all been speculative – science, science fiction, or dark – and a fair number have found homes in small press magazines in print or online. They haven’t been in the traditional “personal journal” style, but some editors seem to appreciate this way of telling a brief story.
3) Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three?
nothing between it
and the moon
(1st place, Shiki Monthly Kukai, Free Format Jan. 07)
the sun is only
(Frogpond, Vol. XXX No. 2)
to the void
(Scorpion Prize winner for Issue VII: 3, Roadrunner)
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 Ann answered. You must be a published poet in order to participate.
Sasa Vazic will be our guest next week.