Michael L. Evans has been writing haiku since 1990, although he did not make his first publication submissions until 1997. His haiku have been published and/or received contest recognition in the U.S., Canada, England, Australia, Japan, Sweden, and Romania. His haiku have appeared in Frogpond, Modern Haiku, The Heron’s Nest, Hermitage, paper wasp, persimmon, RAW NerVZ, moonset, red moon anthology 2000 & 2002, 8th Mainichi Haiku Contest, the Basho 360th Anniversary Contest, and others.
1) Why do you write haiku?
I wrote poetry in High School- the usual depressing teen-age angst stuff. I then gave up writing for 30 years. In 1990, I decided to try poetry again. Knowing that my former attempts were verbose, I remembered a couple of Kerouac’s haiku from his novels I had read in the 60s, and decided to try them myself. I soon found myself addicted to them.
So, in the beginning, it was to restrain myself from again being verbose; later it was for the AHA moments that I realized through them- those sudden bursts of insight into universal connections. These days I very seldom sit down to write a haiku, being more involved in other forms – still, there are those times when a haiku presents itself, as a complete surprise, and I am always glad to have those moments.
2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?
For enjoyment, I read a variety of poets, in an ever expanding list: Langston Hughes, Lorca, Akhmatova, Yeats, Wallace Stevens, Paz, Borges, Neruda, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, W.S. Merwin, Sandburg, Frost, Richard Brautigan, Pushkin, Yevtushenko, and Voznesensky – plus many of the Romantics. As for writing: these days, while I still write haiku, I write more American Cinquains, and tanka, with some rhymed and free verse.
3) Of the many wonderful haiku you’ve written, which do you consider to be your top three?
My opinion of which are my best is constantly changing. Sometimes, they are those that received contest recognition – sometimes, those that never found a publisher – sometimes, those that are very personal. At this moment they would be:
a koi nibbles
at spring rain
Heron’s Nest – Vol. V: # 7 – July, 2003.
a thousand wishes
cross the sky
moonset – journal 2, issue 1, spring 2006.
the blue shadow
of a bare birch
Heron’s Nest – Vol. 10, 2008: Summer issue.
I look forward to seeing many more fine poets & haiku in Tobacco Road.
Michael L. Evans
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 Michael answered. You must be a published poet in order to participate.
Rick Black will be our guest next week.