Monday, April 26, 2010

Thomas Heffernan - Three Questions

Thomas Heffernan has been making haiku since the mid-1980s in Okinawa where he co-founded the bilingual haiku magazine Plover/Chidori. His English-language haiku have received a number of Mainichi awards and also Itoen and JAL (Japan Air Lines) prizes; he was awarded the 2006 Kusamakura Grand Prize for haiku. He has published ten books and chapbooks. His The Liam Poems about an ancestral kinsman, the Irish-language Jacobite poet William Heffernan the Blind (as W.B. Yeats called Liam Dall O’hIfearnain), received the 1982 Roanoke-Chowan Prize.

[Photo of Thomas Heffernan and Roberta Beary by Curtis Dunlap]

1) Why do you write haiku?

To put into words traces of things I wonder at… to present what otherwise would be past.

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

Tanka. Ghazals. Sonnets: some are available on the Ploughshares website; others, here and there in my books.

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

Some haiku of mine, not necessarily favorites or even representative.

Such a being as this recalls the name of our Okinawan haiku magazine:

a one-legged plover
standing in the empty lot...

Mainichi Daily News, “Haiku Column,” March 9, 1991

even after
the operation
the midnight tomcat

International Herald Tribune/Asahi, July 24, 2002

shop window
reflecting the other side
of the street

Frogpond, Spring/Summer, 2007

now and then
night air moves
the reed curtain

Included in a haibun in Christmas Gifts in South Japan. Laurinburg, NC: St Andrews Press, 2003, 43.

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


Pris said...

I've been a student of haiku for around seven years now but still consider myself one with moderate skills. The grace of these haiku move me deeply. He's so very good.

my pen
crosses the page...stops
a mockingbird sings

snowbird said...

It's such a pleasure to "meet" you after finding your haiku. I particularly like "even after"...there's a certain spirit to it that gifts me. Thank you.

Jessie Carty said...

such terrific achievements! another great interview curtis :)