1. How did you get started with haiku?
My interest in haiku began twenty-five years ago while teaching at a Waldorf School in my hometown, Ithaca, New York. My students were curious about haiku and they inspired me to learn more. While parenting my two daughters all efforts at creative writing went on hold. And then around 2010 I felt drawn to haiku again and delved into this genre after my writing mentor suggested my haiku were worthy of publication. His encouragement took me by surprise, but also spurred me on. When I discovered just how much I loved reading and writing haiku I didn’t need anything else to keep me going. Even now, each time I read a new haiku or write one I rediscover my passion for haiku. I never grow tired of it. Haiku are both my solace and inspiration.
2. Tell us more about yourself.
I have lived in central Pennsylvania for seventeen years where my husband and I raised our two wonderful daughters. I homeschooled Sena and Delali throughout their entire education. Once they became young adults I began teaching creative writing and tutoring students in English. I think of myself as an educator and a teacher. I both guide and instruct. My work as a homeschooling parent and educator has led me to an interest in children’s literature. Presently I am working on four children’s literature projects. I use portions of these projects as instructional materials in my three creative writing circles for children. I am also preparing them for future publication. One of them is about haiku! Other interests of mine include native plant gardening, sustainability, nature studies, etegami art, helping others, and handwork. My younger daughter and I are hard at work on my website, which should be live soon.
3. What does NaHaiWriMo mean to you?
NaHaiWriMo is a wonderful way for haiku poets around the world to connect and share. I have participated in the February writing challenge since its inception. Each year I make a Japanese stab-binding book with handmade paper covers for my NaHaiWriMo poems. It’s so enjoyable and rewarding to hand-write the 28 or 29 haiku in each book. In addition, it’s easy to avoid writing haiku every day, but NaHaiWriMo encourages me to keep at it.
4. What one piece of advice would you offer to those who are new to writing haiku?
The advice I would offer new haiku writers is simply to read haiku. Purchase a subscription to a haiku journal or visit online journals and read, read, read. I think well-written haiku are our best teachers.
5. Please share three of your favourite or best haiku.
I appreciate the fact that you have asked me to choose three of my favorite or best haiku, something I haven’t given much thought to until now. Writing one-line haiku and blended word haiku interests me, as does writing more traditional haiku. What follows are three of my haiku that I like very much:
blue sky in unexpected places memories of you
an orchid blossom’s
Thank you for taking the time to read this interview and for your interest in my work.
Photo credit: Delali Agawu.