How did you get started with haiku?
I was drawn into haiku by my good friend and haikuist, Terri L. French. Though I had always thought of haiku as 5-7-5, thanks to Terri’s guidance I never did fall into that trap. But I wince as I remember some of my early attempts to write. Too many words! Too many adjectives! Too sentimental! The process of learning when enough is enough is still an on-going process, but I continue to read and listen, and hone my skills.
Tell us more about yourself.
I grew up in the U.S. west but have lived in the south for more than fifty years. My three children were born and reared here, and this is where my career as a Spanish teacher took place. After my husband and I both retired in 2007 we started traveling around the globe. Our favorite city in the world is Paris, but we ended up buying a casita in a little town in Italy, which means that now I am studying Italian as well as writing haiku and other poetry. My other obsessions are yoga and art. The pleasure of retirement is that I can do as much or as little of any of that as I wish.
What does NaHaiWriMo mean to you?
I discovered NaHaiWriMo soon after I began writing haiku, at least as far back as 2013. The daily prompts keep me in my “haiku” mind and give me a concrete starting point to guide my writing. Responding to the prompts daily means that I have hundreds of questionable haiku and a few decent ones. Even when I don’t post a poem, I save the prompt for inspiration. I am especially glad to have met haiku friends from around the world through NaHaiWriMo and to follow some stellar writers on NaHaiWriMo.
What one piece of advice would you offer to those who are new to haiku?
Read, read, and read. Read haiku journals and articles on English-language haiku. Read good haiku, and when you read one that you think isn’t good, think about why it doesn’t work and what you could do to make it work. When you see a poet who writes great haiku, follow their writing and see what makes it excellent. Be open to suggestions for improving your work. You might be surprised how another person’s perspective can help you find the perfect word, or the right order for the lines. Perhaps hardest of all, remember to show, don’t tell. If you can find an interested group of haiku writers, join them and share your work and participate in workshopping everyone’s haiku.
Please share three of your favorite or best poems.
These are three of my haiku recently accepted for publication.
the smell of smoke
Contemporary Haibun Online 19:3, 2023 (part of a haibun)
leaping through the ocotillo
All Ears, 2023
minor chord along the lines starlings
Scarlet Dragonfly, 2023