Sunday, February 21, 2010

Robert Epstein - Three Questions

Robert EpsteinRobert Epstein is a licensed clinical psychologist who practices psychotherapy in the San Francisco Bay Area. Robert came to haiku via a longtime interest in Eastern philosophy, aided especially by Alan Watts and D.T. Suzuki. In addition, Robert greatly appreciates the scholarly works and inspiration of R. H. Blyth and Eric Amann. Over the years, his haiku and senryu have appeared in Acorn, bottle rockets, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, moonset, South by Southwest and other publications. Robert recently edited a book called, THE BREATH OF SURRENDER on the subject of recovery; he is presently at work on two books of death awareness poems called, CHECKOUT TIME IS NOON and an anthology called, DREAMS WANDER ON.

1) Why do you write haiku?

I write haiku to stay alive. As a chronically ill person, who used to write prose regularly, I need to remain in contact with my spirit, and haiku affords me the means to do so.

2) What other poetry forms do you enjoy?

Most of my poetry writing is limited to haiku and senryu. Once upon a time I used to write free verse... and, who knows, I may sometime return to that form of poetry. When my father died nearly eight years ago, I was cracked wide open and wrote haibun for three weeks straight in hopes of capturing whatever memories of him I could.

3) Of the many wonderful haiku you've written, what do you consider to be your top three?

zen garden
stands out

-- HSA Member Anthology, 2007

checkout time is noon
I turn in the key
and everything else

-- forthcoming book by same title

80th birthday
almost all her potted plants
still in bloom

-- Modern Haiku, 37:3, Autumn 2006

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 Robert answered. You must be a published poet to participate.


snowbird said...

Robert, Have you ever considered doing birth dreams? I know you are interested in death haiku, but for every death there is the seed of new life... Would you consider weaving the two together?

Editor said...

I enjoyed the read.


Area 17 said...

Dear Robert,

I enjoyed your haiku and your checkout haiku in particular.

Maybe a book of birth and death haiku isn't such a bad idea. ;-)

Alan’s Area 17 blog

Unknown said...

Dear Robert,

Bill [wjh] never understood why I gave up writing free form, possibly because Penny can bounce back an forth? I will write haibun, but that to me is more along the lines of a narrative, or a journey then free form. I
have always enjoyed your senryu. Possibly, we will both start writing free form again? I am pleased the your "Death Poem" anthology doesn't have a deadline
--grins-- and I will attempt to get more poems to you next month.

Jessie Carty said...

i really love the check out poem :)

Unknown said...


I love other-worldly poems. And yours are certainly of another reality.

Margaret Hehman-Smith

Theresa Williams said...

Enjoyed this interview very much; found and read it after seeing Robert's Re: Readings in the latest issue of FROGPOND. Just wonderful.