1. How did you get started with haiku?
I thought I learned from school all that I needed to know to write a proper haiku until I stumbled on Berry Blue Haiku, an online haiku magazine for kids, in 2010. The magazine’s submission requirements and recommended books and articles opened a new window of learning for me. Intrigued and captivated by its charm, I voraciously read all the books about haiku I could get my hands on but I easily gave up when I had rejections along the way. Haiku had a way of wooing me back into its arms, though. I became friends online with the editor of Berry Blue Haiku, Gisele LeBlanc. She directed me to different online journals. I soon went back to writing and submitting haiku, especially when I discovered haiga. It was love at first sight! I was thrilled to incorporate my love for photography into my haiku writing. The “Collaborative Photo-Haiku Project” by Tif Holmes and “I Doodle, You Ku” by Aubrie Cox were great sources of inspiration. By participating in these projects, I met some poets to emulate such as Sanjuktaa Asopa, Cara Holman, Kathy Uyen Nguyen, Rita Odeh, and Sandi Pray, to name a few.
2. Tell us more about yourself.
Since migrating from the Philippines to the United States, I have been drawn to nurturing my artistic side. Children’s story writing, poetry, photography, and jewelry-making are my main interests. I’ve recently published a children’s story DVD, The Eskalets, and an early chapter book, The Magic Paintbrush. You can read about them on my website. This year my goals are to publish my poetry book about grief and loss and to keep improving “Frameless Sky,” a video journal of haiga and tanka art, of which I am the founder and editor. I blog my haiku, tanka, and haiga at “Blossom Rain.”
3. What does NaHaiWriMo mean to you?
NaHaiWriMo is a warm community that I love to go back home to whenever I need a jumpstart, a refresher, or a place to share and give support. February is my favorite time of the year for taking part because it reconnects me with friends and familiar names who have played an important role in my haiku journey. This is also where I met Michael Dylan Welch. Because of his generous advice, patience, and honesty, I have remained an inspired and dedicated haiku student.
4. What one piece of advice would you offer to those who are new to writing haiku?
Read, write, and read some more. Graceguts.com has a wealth of information to keep you on the right track. The most effective poems I’ve written came from my own experiences, so be receptive to life around you. Carry a small notepad wherever you go. And when you act on these little “gems” that you have recorded, try to remember what James Hackett said—“haiku is a finger pointing at the moon, and if the hand is bejeweled, we no longer that to which it points.”
5. Please share three of your favourite or best haiku.
My favorites keep changing, but these are the current ones.
notes from his guitar
perfume the air
a bird song
no need to know
the color of its wings
how a touch feels
when it isn’t you