Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bruce England - Three Questions

Bruce England is our guest today for a round of Haiku - Three Questions. He writes:

I live in Santa Clara and work as a Librarian in San Jose, California. My embrace of (and commitment to) haiku has been a long, drawn-out affair. I became aware of haiku in 1962 through one of those Peter Pauper books. I started writing haiku seriously in 1984. I published a chapbook, Shorelines, with my friend Tony Mariano in 1998. My publishing career otherwise remained at a low-level until 2008. Other interests include haiku theory and haiku practice. In the last few years I also began writing and publishing tanka. My fever for these forms might cool within the next sixteen years.

1) Why do you write haiku?

A haiku is like a short diary entry. Accumulate hundreds and possibly thousands over the years, and you have your life and your world, as lived and imagined, in telegram form.

There is a certain satisfying work and surprise in writing haiku. You can wrestle an initial raw haiku into a worthy form. Sometimes, you can literally yank a haiku out of your head and onto a piece of paper through your hand.

On paper
a startled haiku
still wet

My goal is to write haiku that covers the ground around and between realism and magical realism. I want to remain somewhere in the public realm, even if minimally. I don’t want to veer off into the too, too private abyss of surrealism and abstract symbolism. Beyond a certain point, words and meanings become blank, white stones.

My stones
and your stones don’t speak
to each other

One extreme position tends to lead to its extreme opposite position. A certain amount of novelty and risk over time is always wanted and needed. Some English haiku writers are heading off into a long infatuation with gendai haiku. They are following after the Japanese again, and the Japanese have probably moved on elsewhere. So what. There's a momentum to this desire to do something different, so it sort of has to happen. But be prepared; it will get weird.

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I can best answer this by naming some poets and books I enjoy: Juan Ramón Jiménez; Theodore Roethke; Technicians of the Sacred; Eskimo Poems from Canada and Greenland; News of the Universe; Rumi; Han-Shan; and various translations of the Tao Te Ching. Also, there are individual Zen and non-Zen poems in books and anthologies too numerous to mention.

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

As I walk
stones leap into butterflies
land back into stones

Frogpond, 33.1, Winter 2010

How quietly
the roses wither –
no screaming here

Mu, Online Issue 1, February 2011

Standing naked
in a blizzard and thankful
for my cup of tea

Haiku Now!, 2011 Noteworthy Mention in Innovative Category

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


Peter Newton said...

Good to meet you Bruce. Especially liked your haibun-esque approach to question #1. Great stuff. I'll look for you in the various pages out there in the haiku ether.


Lorna Cahall said...

Thanks for the "startled Haiku." So right.

Area 17 said...

I see you mention Eskimo Poems from Canada and Greenland:

Tom Lowenstein is the guest speaker for my Haiku Sessions at Quest Gallery:

I see you like stones, which I haven't written too much about except for:

this delicate rain
the petal makes a typo
of a gravestone date

Alan Summers
Publications credits: tinywords, haiku & other small poems ( July 2011)

And at NaHaiWriMo:

the Allalonestone
just you, Great Auk
and me

Alan Summers

Inspired by the Water Babies:

I would say that some of your work here could be gendai territory, and even surreal e.g.

Standing naked
in a blizzard and thankful
for my cup of tea

Haiku Now!, 2011 Noteworthy Mention in Innovative Category

Which I enjoyed immensely.

It reminded me of this one:

through the blizzard
particles of me

Alan Summers
Publications credits: The Haiku Calendar 2012 (Snapshot Press); The Humours of Haiku (Iron Press 2012)

Award credits:
Winner, The Haiku Calendar Competition 2011 (Snapshot Press)

Also enjoyed your:

As I walk
stones leap into butterflies
land back into stones

Frogpond, 33.1, Winter 2010

Look forward to reading more from you.

Pleaes do take a look at Bruce England's article:

Conceptual Frameworks for Place-Name Haiku Sequences and Unity Sequences



P K Padhy said...

Wonderful haiku.
"My stones ..... " is a haiku that scripts a lot of poetic interactions.

Pravat, India

snowbird said...

What a delight! Thanks for this interview with Bruce. Many good points to ponder and see how they work...

When I shared this on my FB page a funny thing happened... Alan Summer's photo came up with the title of Bruce's interview.
Computers - really strange things! :-)