Saturday, February 25, 2012

David Jacobs - Three Questions

David Jacobs was born in London in 1949 and has lived there since.  He has published several collections of mainstream poetry, the most recent of which "The Gardens of Onkel Arnold" (Peterloo) appeared in 2004.   In the last two years he has concentrated exclusively on haiku. His work has appeared in many of the english language haiku journals including Modern Haiku, Acorn, Haiku Presence, Bottle Rockets, Paper Wasp and The Mainichi Daily News.

1) Why do you write haiku?

Why not?  It might be something to do with the fascination of what's difficult.  I have an interest in Zen, and it may be that haiku is akin to the unravelling of a koan - not that I have ever unravelled one. I read somewhere that you have to write 100 bad haiku in order to write one good one - I sometimes think you have to write 100 bad drafts in order to arrive at one average one.

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I like senryu,  although like many others, I find this barely distinguishable from haiku.  And of mainstream poetry I tend to like specific poems rather than forms. If the poem works it has found its form. Kipling's "If" which is pretty well one sentence, just about says it all.

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

I haven't written any wonderful haiku (yet!),  but I'm still hoping for the one that will survive the next 500 years.  The following will not, but my thanks to the editors who took them up.

bomb shelter -
my old belongings
huddle in the dark

(Heron's Nest vol.13.04 December 2011)

coming ashore
at their own pace -
oarsmen's ripples

(Paper Wasp 17(4) Spring 2011 and "Carving Darkness" (Red Moon Press, February 2012)

new dementia wing
Mum insists
on the guided tour

(Modern Haiku vol 43(1) winter/spring 2012)

If you are enjoying this series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response - whether it be for haibun, haiku or tanka - to the three little questions that David answered. You must be a published poet to participate.


Ed Baker said...

"why not' attitude
much to my liking

&, do tell (me) : wheat ex
actly IS "mainstream poetry" ?

Unknown said...

the "Why Not" attitude is fine, although I rather like Hortensia Anderson's reply: "because I can" or something along those lines? I guess that I was in my early forties when I crossed over from the mainstream? 1999, and if I were to do it all over again, I believe that I would start writing tanka rather than haiku. Haiku is almost like a state of mind, a way of life, and I feel the image, if the poem happens to come to my way.
Rudyards "If" is one of my favorite poems: "If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And-which is more-you'll be a Man, my son!"

-Rudyard Kipling

I tend to like poets rather than poems: Allen Ginsburg, Gary Snyder and [how did he get in here?] William Stafford are among my favorite poets.

Trust me on this, if you can be a regular at The Heron's Nest; you will be good!



Unknown said...


mainstream poetry is Modern poetry.

Read Stephen Levin.

Ed Baker said...


a Bill Stafford fan ?

if I had your email address I'd send you something
that just might be of interest to you ..

my email address is over there on my web-site...ntstagat hicalwa

Ed Baker said...

p.s. on "mainstream poetry"

remember bookstores ? whatever they hand in their poetry sections THAT PEOPLE BOUGHT ... the SOLD

was/is "MainStream Poetry"

so mainstream poetry is what is readily available
and sells ( Maya Angelo, , etc),
never challenges the reader nor is there ever a 'push' towards extending either language or form, is easy to understand, is
quiet, AND BORING is, loaded-down with tritenesses, cliches, tricks, gimmicks and socially-politically-religiously correctness ... ad nauseum ...

"mainstream poetry" certainly would never include
kathy Acker or Djuna Barnes or Lorine Niedecker, or
Diane DiPrima, or Al Huffstickler or {anyboddhi whosde work doesn't sell...

"mainstream poetry" .... "poets" continually copying other "poets"

:the blind, deaf and dumb leading
the blind-deaf-&-dumb

Unknown said...

of course, my poem: To Whom This My Concern, was totally inspired by Ginsburg's: Howl. Who else out there can write: War Saw A Song?
let alone perform the poem? gene

h. gene murtha

snowbird said...

I found David's "bomb shelter" a haunting memeory of WWII.... Even if these do not last 500 years, they are well worth sharing and I thank Curtis for bringing this artist to my attention.

Area 17 said...

Very enjoyable haiku. I found the dementia wing haiku poignant and very moving.

The bomb shelter haiku is intriguing as I see that David Jacobs was born after WWII. But London did have a number of terrorist attacks from the 1970s onwards, and it reminds us that violence of that degree is never far away.

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