Saturday, May 31, 2008

Werner Reichhold - Three Questions

Werner Reichhold, an artist of many talents, shares his response to Haiku - Three Questions with us this week.

Dear Curtis,

Thank you so much for inviting me to answer some questions about writing haiku, and for the work to install the questions and answers on your web site.

1. Why do you write haiku?

As an installation artist for the last sixty years, I received the gift of being introduced to Japanese genres in the early 1970s when I met my wife Jane. While I was used to combining all sorts of materials into a concept to fit the demands of a given space in the location of a city, in a gallery or in a museum, I realized that I could open myself up to that thought-transference idea into literature.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

In contradiction to most other writers who concentrated for a long time on writing mostly single haiku, I myself just switched from my 3-dimensional goals I realized working in the visual arts right into poetry. On a path along concepts that include always several different genres, I offered the advantages building bigger poetical structures by combining the powers of 5, 3, 2 and 1-liners, symbiotic poetry, ghazal, and free verse plus picture into a new form I called multi-genre poetry.

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

owl-eyed oak in a mouth-round hole the moon

light circling on a face
   the dreamer at home

bare foot
sleeping under a tree
                bare roots

(from Tidalwave, AHA Books, 1989)

Examples of those attempts have been published under, section AHA-Books, in the magazines Mirrors and Lynx, in books and magazines abroad, and now on my web site:, the page offering 2 separate books: one written in English with an introduction by Jeffrey Woodward, the other one written in German.

Next week, Naia.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Haiku Page Issue 1.1

Here's a message from JQ Zheng about a new haiku publication:

Dear Poets,

Haiku Page has a new e-mail address:

Please send your submissions to this new e-mail address or by snail mail to:

The Editor, Haiku Page

14000 Highway 82 W., #5032

Itta Bena, MS 38941-1400

We intend to publish each issue in PDF format. Poets who want to receive a hard copy please send an SASE. We are not ready for subscriptions (rate will be decided later), but willing to send a hard copy to anyone who will mail us an SASE.

The submission deadline for Issue 1.2 is September 30, 2008. Please send no less than 5 or no more than 10 of your unpublished haiku/senryu.

Thank you for reading Haiku Page.

JQ Zheng

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Baseball Haiku reading at the Chautauqua Institution

Cor van den Heuvel (co-editor), Alan Pizzarelli, and Ed Markowski will be reading from Baseball Haiku at the prestigious Chautauqua Institution on June 26 at 3:30 p.m.

This is another of those events (like Roberta Beary's book, The Unworn Necklace, being recognized by Ron Silliman) that brings haiku to the world at large.

If you are free, please drop in and support our fellow poets.

Best of luck to the three of you. Break a leg or hit a homer!

Here's a clip from NPR of Cor discussing Baseball Haiku.

And here's an article from the Washington Post about Baseball Haiku.

Jane Reichhold - Three Questions

Jane Reichhold, editor and publisher of the excellent linking journal Lynx, is our Haiku - Three Questions guest this week. Jane is also an artist, author, poet (of many forms), and publisher of numerous books.

To learn more about this remarkable lady, visit Aha Poetry.

1. Why do you write haiku?

Because they appear on my inner horizon and out of gratitude for the gift of insight or understanding, I write the poem down. I feel a certain obligation to take care of the haiku given to me by recording them, sharing them with others, and publishing them. I feel that in order to be given haiku I need to hold my inner antenna up in a very precise way. By being open and accepting of all I experience, by being attentive to the moment in which I find myself, and by being grateful for, not only the haiku, but for every thing and every one who touches my life, I believe even more, and perhaps even better, haiku will be given to me. I often put myself into places or situations where this inner attitude is easiest to maintain, as when visiting new and interesting places or viewing the full moon set or watching the several hours it takes for an iris to open.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I have written and enjoyed about every poetry form that is known, but I return most often to writing haiku and with the deepest pleasure.

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

Now the questions get really hard! Which gift is the best when the Giver is the greatest? The one most often published, after appearing in A Dictionary of Haiku, 1992, and The San Francisco Haiku Anthology: 1992 and The Haiku Anthology, 1999 by Cor van den Heuvel is:

coming home
by flower


waiting for guests
a corner of the rug
keeps turning up

or, from A Dictionary of Haiku, 1992, and The San Francisco Haiku Anthology, 1992:

river fog
untying the boat
from a long pier

All the rest are available in the online version of A Dictionary of Haiku.

Next week, Werner Reichhold visits Blogging Along Tobacco Road.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kirsty Karkow - Three Questions

Kirsty Karkow has two best-selling books in print: water poems: haiku,tanka and sijo and also shorelines: haiku, haibun and tanka. Both are published by Black Cat Press. Her haiku have won the Mainichi and the R.H Blyth Award and have placed in other contests. She is the past VP of the Tanka Society of America and past tanka editor for Simply Haiku.

She lives with her husband in a Danish cottage on the midcoast of Maine USA.

1. Why do you write haiku?

Thank you for being interested.

This short, seemingly simple poem satisfies an innate need-- the attempt to capture a special moment in the world around me; an event that seems to have more meaning when written down and then shared. During a dry period, even though my surroundings are usually watery, there is a deep sense of loss. For me, the writing of haiku adds to a practice of momentary awareness. Each poem doesn't have to be a winner (and few are ) but the occasional gift arrives which adds to the delight.

I knew nothing of haiku, when, in 2000, a sudden obsession with the this little poem overtook me. It has been a amazing and wonderful trip aboard this haiku train. A trip made additionally valuable by the haiku poets that I have met, and grown to respect, via the Internet. All have been very generous with their time, knowledge and experience. . . and still are. I like to think I'm able to extend this favor to others from time to time.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I read all kinds of classic poetry as a youngster, a habit that slipped as life got more complex. It was not until the turn of the last century that interest was re-kindled, mostly with Asian poetry. Haiku, tanka and sijo. Also the ecstatic Sufi poets. Sadly, a lot of contemporary free verse doesn't seem to resonate though I love reading what to me are the more straight-forward works of Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Stanley Kunitz, Czeslaw Milosz et al.

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

I have a terrible time judging my own haiku and couldn't begin to choose. However, there have been many kind letters that have referred to favorites and three of these are shared here.

we wade into the current
of a great river

--The Heron's Nest May 2002
-- water poems: haiku, tanka and sijo Kirsty Karkow Black Cat Press 2005

gnarled oak
my path to the hills
starts in mist

--Modern Haiku 33:2
--A New Resonance 3 edited by Jim Kacian and Dee Everts Red Moon Press

wrist deep
in aromatic loam
new potatoes

--Modern Haiku 36.1
--Haiku Society of America Anthology 2007
--shorelines: haiku, haibun and tanka Kirsty Karkow Black Cat Press 2007

Thank you for the opportunity to gather my thoughts for your interesting column.


Next week, Jane Reichhold.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Paul David Mena - Three Questions

Paul David Mena is very active in the haiku community. Paul is the webmaster of The Heron's Nest and a member of the Metro West Renku Association. He maintains and writes poetry at his free verse web site and blog and his haiku web site and blog. Paul and his wife, Mary Melodee Mena, frequently collaborate and together have produced a number of striking haiga.

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

1. Why do you write haiku?

I actually wrote an article for called "Why do I haiku?" In it I say "The concise nature of haiku, which should never be longer than the length of a breath, constrains the writer to get to the point." I've been pressed for time for as long as I can remember; haiku enables me to paint a complete picture on the tiniest canvas, with no waste and no mess.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I still write what I jokingly call "grown-up poetry", but I have a tendency to lose patience with myself. Unless I am working with a very strong image or experience I often lose focus and meander to an unexpected destination. I wrote the chapbook "trainsongs" when I first began commuting in Boston, and I'm still happy with much of the longer poetry I wrote during that period.

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

These three haiku were published in "Brussels Sprout" in the early to mid-90's:

three jazz pianists
for ghosts

at a blank sheet of paper —
a night without words

military jet
carves a white scar
in the sky

Next week, Kirsty Karkow.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Peggy Lyles - Three Questions

During the warm months, I enjoy sitting in an old rocking chair on my front porch with a magazine or book of poetry. One book that has made several trips with me to my reading spot is a wonderful collection of haiku entitled To Hear the Rain: Selected Haiku of Peggy Lyles.

Peggy Willis Lyles, haiku poet, Magnapoet, and co-editor of The Heron's Nest responds to Haiku - Three Questions.

1. Why do you write haiku?

Vince Tripi asked me that question many years ago, and after considerable thought I answered, "To participate." That may be as close as I can come to the nearly impossible answer. I could add, "Because I want to and need to." Writing haiku is a way of partaking and sharing, of contributing to and becoming one with humanity, the earth, the universe. Searching, being, expressing, and discovering merge in this life-enriching habit that sharpens observation, intuition, and experience.

2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

A great many! I came to haiku from a love of British and American poetry, studied in some depth, and world poetry sampled in translation. Although haiku has become my "specialty," I continue to read and enjoy a broad variety of classic and contemporary poems.

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

I hope the best ones are still ahead of me. I know that other people remember and value these:

summer stillness
the play of light and shadow
on the wind chimes

first published in Modern Haiku XI, 1980


shimmering pines
a taste of the mountain
from your cupped hands

first published in Mayfly
, 2001



in spite of everything forsythia

first published in The Snapshot Press Haiku Calendar 2008

Next week, Paul David Mena.