1. How did you get started with haiku?
Things seem to find me, the significant precious things especially. They just appear. Sometimes they stay. It’s been like that with haikai. I was writing western forms of poetry and having some publication and award success, when one day I noticed a tiny poem in one of the journals I contributed to. The little poem grabbed my attention and I did all I could to find out more. This was the mid ’90s. With no Internet in our home at that time it was paper, post office, landline. It was fun. I’ve written haikai almost exclusively ever since, with just a smattering of longer poems.
2. Tell us more about yourself.
You will find me in my writings and paintings. Totem, my first collection of solo works (haikai and ink paintings), was published in 2016 by Yet To Be Named Free Press and is available at the iconic De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on the South East coast of England, where I now live. It is available via the internet from Amazon UK and Amazon USA. Totem was shortlisted for the Haiku Foundation Touchstone Distinguished Book Award in 2016.
3. What does NaHaiWriMo mean to you?
NaHaiWriMo is an inclusive, nonjudgemental space for haiku writers, experienced or beginner, to get together. I find it a great place to come to when my haiku habit is waning. The prompts, humour, and good company soon get me back into regular practice.
4. What one piece of advice would you offer to those who are new to writing haiku?
Oh, just to trust your innermost self. If you can access that place where the individual joins with the “all” and if you seek your writings there, you will not go far wrong. One practical observation I will offer is that haiku work best, for me, when they are a signpost rather than a specified destination. Don’t “tell” me your sadness, your joy, the mediocrity of your day: allude to it, “show” me, invite me in. That way I can experience it, or my version of it, for myself. That way we connect. I believe that however reclusive some of us might be, we write to connect.
5. Please share three of your favourite or best haiku.
a spider joins
Shiki Kukai First Place 2003
each breath her veil
Raw Nervz X:4, 2006
full of faces
Frogpond 34:1, 2011
I wave back to the girl
in odd socks
Upstate Dim Sum, 2018 (Route 9 Haiku Group Guest Poet)