In the fall of 1997, I drove to Borders Book Store in Long Beach, California. I had read an item in Borders Newsletter stating there would be a haiku meeting that afternoon on the second floor. I took the stairs and expected to see a group of people gathering around. I looked all over but could not find what I expected. Then I saw a distinguished-looking gentleman sitting on a couch, reading. I approached and asked, “Excuse me. Would you happen to know if there is a haiku poetry meeting?” He looked up, smiled, and said, “I’m it.”
This is how I met Dojin Jerry Ball and I have enjoyed his dead-pan humor ever since.
I was the first to join the Southern California Haiku Study Group. It took us six months before we found committed members. After several years of meetings, we had to leave Borders because they were remodeling. Then, Jerry and his wife Sandy moved to northern California. We looked all over for a meeting place. Finally, Debbie Kolodji secured a spot for the SCHSG at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena. We’ve been there several years now and it has been the perfect setting.
1) Why do you write haiku?
Haiku is such a challenge for a small poem. The idea is to write something about nature that caught your eye. But don’t tell the reader how you feel about it. Let him add his own emotions. I had to learn a new vision such as perceiving a poem one way, and then something appears that wasn’t there before. At times it is other-worldly. I love to have my eyes opened wider reading someone’s haiku.
2) What other poetry forms do you enjoy?
I have written free verse for years. My best publication was a full page of poetry with a photo of me and my dog Jason in “The Chiron Review,” a national magazine. edited by Gerald Locklin. I have also published a novella about baboons living in Africa titled “Mystories of the Savannah,” available on Amazon.
3) Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three?
Here are some of my favorite haiku.
the thinness of her body
as we hug goodbye
in his touch
The Heron’s Nest 2007
wail of the loon pulls me
past the ticking clock
Modern Haiku 1998
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 Margaret answered. You must be a published poet to participate.