Saturday, March 15, 2008

Paul O. Williams - Three Questions

Paul O. WilliamsI had the pleasure of composing a rengay with Paul O. Williams during a workshop at Haiku North America 2007.

Mr. Williams shares his response to Haiku - Three Questions with us this week.

Hi Curtis,

In answer to your questions,

1. Why do you write haiku?

I write haiku because it is a form that allows me to address things I can't easily in any other form, because other forms invite elaboration, exploration, complication. There is a class of observations and musings that just cry out to be said and let go on their own. Those are my haiku sources.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I write a whole lot of other kinds of poems, including tanka, now quite a few haibun, sonnets, and a lot of free verse.

3. Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three? (Please provide original publication credits.)

I wish I could tell you what my favorite haiku are. I have quite a few, though, and don't think I could settle on three. My best known one is a memorial poem for Nicholas Virgilio, originally published in Frogpond many years ago:

gone from the woods
the bird I knew
by song alone

[Frogpond 12:2 (May 1989), 27, MHL Award per Charles Trumbull's Haiku Datbase.]

Another favorite of mine, though I don't recall where it was first published, is

for a moment
the dead apple tree bears. . .

[Frogpond 13:3 (August 1990), 35 per Charles Trumbull's Haiku Datbase.]

I won a best of issue designation in Frogpond for this one many years ago:

the old garden fence
keeps the goldenrod
from the goldenrod

[Frogpond 5:3 (1982), 13, MHL Award per Charles Trumbull's Haiku Database.]

But I wouldn't swear that was one of my very favorites either. It's a great puzzle.

Best regards,

If you would like to participate in my little Haiku - Three Questions project, submit your answers by clicking on the Contact link located on this page.

Next week, an'ya.

1 comment:

David said...

I liked Paul’s response to question #1. It reminded me of Robert Bly's essay, "Dropping the Reader," about why short poems are so powerful. Bly wrote: "… the American poet sitting at his desk writes a fine, intense poem of seven or eight lines, then a hand silently appears from somewhere inside his shirt and hastily adds fifteen more lines, telling us what the emotion means, relating it to philosophy, and adding a few moral comments."