Mike Farley writes from Red Lodge, Montana, where he lives with his wife Shirlee on a hay and cattle ranch. He is 68 and has six grown children and fifteen grandkids. Mike's poetry is rich with the images of the mountains, plains, weather and animals with which he is daily surrounded.
He was introduced to haiku in 2002 by fellow haijin and long-time friend Darrell Byrd, and although he has contributed his work to many online haiku lists, he has not yet been published in print.
Mike's favorite haiku poets are those who have inspired him over the years, including Naia, Cindy Tebo, Tom Clausen, George Swede, Timothy Russell, Earl Keener and Johannes Manjrekar.
1. Why do you write haiku?
I write haiku for the sheer pleasure of it. I absolutely love reading good haiku and I've saved quite a long list of my favorites from other poets. Writing my own haiku, however, really good ones, is not easy for me. Juxtaposition and the images that can (and should) spring unspoken from between the lines is the key to the whole thing (for me anyway). It's so hard to do and so delightful when it happens.
2. What other poetic forms do you enjoy?
I enjoy almost all forms of poetry, but haiku is my favorite and the only form I've seriously attempted to write myself.
3. Of the many haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three?
I've gone through the several hundred I've written over the years, and tentatively ear-marked 50 or so I was really pleased with thinking that I would then pare down that group to "my three favorites". I'm delighted and surprised to report that it was impossible to do. There are many that I found to be my favorites, but here are three that are close to my heart and which I feel "do what they're supposed to do" as haiku.
a darker blue
in the hoofprints
the muddy puppy
wags its body
the warm spot where
the dental nurse leans
And here are my three favorite senyru . . .
when I used to smoke
just a splash
at the river's edge
just a glimpse
of her thigh
Peggy Heinrich will be our Haiku - Three Questions guest next week.
Enjoyed. As always Mike.
I've just heard that Mike passed away due to cancer.
He was a marvellous haiku and senryu writer as you can see on his Three Questions.
He had a terrific sense of humour and will be sorely missed.
the death of a friend
a lost jigsaw piece
i.m. Mike Farley
Curtis, can you compile a tribute at some point?
I revisited some of his haiku and can't believe he's gone from us.
I did not know Mike…One of his poems though is going to stay with me,
quiet morning . . .
some of the fence
Mike was my dad. I was as influenced by his haiku as everyone was. I even attempted to compose a few myself. I created this one for his funeral (forgive any mistakes in form -I'm not trained in this art):
Speed dial still set
for the old man.
That's a pretty cool haiku, in fact a very cool haiku.
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