1. How did you get started with haiku?
I was an avid reader since childhood and that evolved into writing in my early teens . . . journaling, poetry, short stories. It was the 60s and 70s and the music revolution was a big influence. Musicians and artists like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Harry Chapin, and Carol King captured my imagination. Through the years, I experimented with many different poetry forms but nothing seemed to fit just right. Everything I tried seemed weighted, lacking substance and truth. In the early 90s the Internet came along and I discovered the World Haiku Club, Bashō, Issa, and Masajo Suzuki. Haiku came to me then and I’ve studied the short forms ever since. And the magic of the universe is what keeps me interested in haiku. The way every sunset paints a different picture. The way every friend I’ve made in the haiku community sees the sunset through different eyes. For me sharing is a big part of what haiku is all about.
2. Tell us more about yourself.
I earned a Bachelor’s degree from Kean University in the writing program and had my first poem published in their literary journal, Grubstreet Writer. New Jersey has always been my home. For the past twenty years, I’ve lived in coastal Ocean County where the Atlantic Ocean is my primary muse. The sea is the perfect backdrop for my other passion, photo-haiku. Photography is the perfect companion to writing short-form poetry. They both capture a moment. Some of my haiku and photo-haiku appear on my very sporadically updated blog, My Ninth Life.
3. What does NaHaiWriMo mean to you?
I started writing haiku with the NaHaiWriMo Facebook group during its premier month in 2010. The idea of writing a haiku every day for a month, based on daily writing prompts, was such a challenge for me. That group grew into a family of poets sharing their lives through haiku. The friendships, the feedback, and the inspiration are priceless.
4. What one piece of advice would you offer to those who are new to writing haiku?
Read, read, and read some more. Read both the classic haijin and the modern. Pick up a few how-to books but keep in mind that almost every book you read will have a different spin on what makes quality haiku. In the end, it’s what speaks to you personally that will make for your best writing.
5. Please share three of your favourite or best haiku.
An old favorite, one of my first haiga, and one of the first published, in Simply Haiku, 2004:
still the well-creased love letter
tucked between her books
A Hundred Gourds, June 2012:
in the seconds
between lightning and thunder
our plans recast
World Haiku Review, April 2012:
the ache in my bones
as I lay them down
The following were the final haiku and photo-haiga Kat posted to Facebook, just before she died:
impossible to distinguish what is
from what isn’t