Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tom Clausen - Three Questions

Tom Clausen lives in Ithaca, NY with his wife, Berta Gutierrez, and their son, Casey and daughter, Emma, in the same house Tom grew up in. Tom works in a library at Cornell University where he used to post haiku in an elevator for patrons. This has evolved to become a link at the Mann Library home page featuring a daily haiku. He became enchanted with haiku and other short poetic forms in the late 1980s after reading an article about Ruth Yarrow, a fellow Ithacan at the time.

Tom has five chapbook collections of haiku and tanka: Autumn Wind in the Cracks, Unraked Leaves, Standing Here, (self published) A Work of Love (Tiny Poems Press) and Homework (Snapshot Press, UK).

Tom is also a member of the Upstate Dim Sum Route 9 Haiku Group.

Tom shares his answers to Haiku - Three Questions with us this week.

1. Why do you write haiku?

I enjoy the challenge of trying to write something meaningful to myself and others in as few words possible. The human world is so bent on excess in terms of materials and expression and haiku has a refreshing antidote quality for all that is over the top too much! From reading haiku that have moved me and given me pause and solace I have fallen in love with the hope that serendipity might deliver me a few moments here and there that I can channel into something worthy to share. I like the brevity and always now concision of haiku. It is especially gratifying that haiku express appreciation for the qualities in our world that often are taken for granted or are so subtle that they often get missed. Just like my comments here may be overly wordy I love haiku for the simple reason that there must be discipline and avoidance of being overly wordy!

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I very much enjoy senryu, tanka, haibun and most any forms of poetry. I tend to be partial to free forms and anything that speaks to the universal in the utterly personal. When I read a poem that awakens in me an inner sense of truth or awareness or awakens me to something special I feel fortunate and renewed in my interest and gratitude for poetry.

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

Not sure I have a top three but for the sake of this question and being what I am most often not: decisive! I'll pick three. . .

sidewalk sale —
wind twists a lifetime
guarantee tag

- Woodnotes

in the dark —
through the window light
my wife and child

- Modern Haiku

on the way home
more geese
on the way home. . .

- Frogpond

How would you respond to the questions that Tom answered? Think it over; if you would like to participate in Haiku - Three Questions, send your answers to me and I'll post them in the coming weeks.

Next week, Jeffrey Woodward.

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