Part Two: Why Do You Write Haiku?

I received so many responses when I queried haikuists about why they write haiku, that I need to run a sequel. Maybe there will be even more!

Please read these additional, beautiful comments:

I read and write haiku because each poem connects me with the writer or reader. This connection centers on intuiting moments of personal experience, moments that celebrate the full range of what it means to be alive. Haiku gives me a frame of reference for everyday existence, a means to deepen my awareness of everything around me through my five senses. I’m also grateful for the vibrant community that revolves around haiku poetry.
–Michael Dylan Welch

Haiku makes me see and feel the world– this world that I care about so much.
— Lidia Rozmus

That is the hardest question I have had to answer in many years. I could answer, “Why do I breathe?”
–Mike Montreuil

I realise I’m a driven writer, and that despite the fact that I should have dropped haiku to make a living, I continued, and still do continue to write, even if it doesn’t produce an income. It’s only in the last five years that I decided to have a go at making a financial living from haiku and renga/renku. But I would continue to be driven, and it’s because I’m driven, that it has now become my main income.

My make up is that I’m not just driven to have a go at haiku, but to strive to be good at writing haiku, and to learn its cultural and literary history, including its ongoing history, both in Japan, and from outside Japan.

More than once I’ve put my home at risk by writing, and there’s the old cliche that it is in my blood, and that may be so, but it’s now part of my identity, and a means to establish where I am at in this world with its crazy politics and lack of understanding of other cultures. Where others establish themselves into a modern feudal system by joining more powerful groups and their leaders, I have no interest in that, but wish to write for myself, see my work go out, and hopefully help to make a difference for others who are not as literate, and don’t know how to express what happened in their life.
–Alan Summers

I wonder if people just write haiku because “they must.” I think it is a B. F. Skinner thing whereby there is ample reinforcement in the finished piece. The “glow” I get from any good art … Love Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” as much a finished piece of poetry. Vermeer painted on commission, and was well paid, so we never were able to see a “free painting” Vermeer. How does one feel about the finished piece of any good art? How did Dylan Thomas feel when he finished “Fern Hill” after 160 + revisions?
–John Wisdom

First, I like the form. It is spare and brief. This means I don’t have to look back to recall what I have written.

Another appeal is dealing with the gap between images. It provides space for me to move beyond rational, logical ordering of ideas as I tap into my unconscious. To do this I have to “let go,” maintain a deep trust, and be patient while in an almost meditative state. In the process I do not need to seek some logical connection between images. Haiku writing offers me the the experience of depth psychology within the realm of poetry.
–Joe Kirschner

I write haiku to slow down, focus, and improve my capacity to perceive.
–Charlie Rossiter

To preserve, share, and savor snapshot moments that are as fleeting as the small poems used to convey the experience to the reader. To me, writing haiku is akin to taking the finger off of life’s fast forward button, slowing the pace down, and revisiting events that struck a chord with my artistic soul.
–Curtis Dunlap

There you have it. The world-wide haiku community, including the Haiku Society of America, is a huge one with millions of poets. We hope that those who don’t write haiku, will soon discover the joys and rewards of writing it.

You can appreciate the Haiku Society of America through its website at http://www.hsa-haiku.org, and we are also on Facebook.

About Charlotte Digregorio

I publish books. I have marketed and/or published 55 titles. These books are sold in 46 countries to bookstores, libraries, universities, professional organizations, government agencies, and book clubs. In 2018, I was honored by the Governor of Illinois for my thirty-eight years of accomplishments in the literary arts, and my work to promote and advance the field by educating adults and students alike. I am the author of seven books including: Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All; Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes; You Can Be A Columnist; Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features; Your Original Personal Ad; and my latest, Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing. The first four books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, and Catalonia. They are sold in 43 countries, and are displayed in major metropolitan cultural centers. These books have been reviewed, recommended, and praised by hundreds of critics, librarians, and professors worldwide. I am also the author of a poetry collection: "Shadows of Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu by Charlotte Digregorio." Two of my books have been Featured Selections of Writer's Digest Book Club. I am regularly interviewed by major print, radio, and television organizations throughout the U.S. I regularly sign books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores, and do poetry readings at art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. I was recently nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in poetry. I have won fifty-nine poetry awards, writing fourteen poetic forms. My poetry has been translated into eight languages. I do illustrated solo poetry exhibits 365 days a year in libraries, galleries, corporate buildings, hospitals, convention centers, and other venues. My individual poems have been displayed at supermarkets, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I have been nominated and listed in "The International Authors and Writers Who's Who" in Cambridge, England and in the "Who's Who In Writers, Editors & Poets U.S./Canada." I hosted my own radio program, "Poetry Beat," on public broadcasting. My poetry has been featured on several library web sites including those of Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana and Cornell University's Mann Library. My background includes positions as a feature editor and columnist at daily newspapers and as a magazine editor. I have been a public relations director for a non-profit organization. I am self-employed as a public relations/marketing consultant, having served a total of 118 clients in 23 states for the past several decades . In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and libraries. I have been a writer-in-residence at universities. There have been about 400 articles written about me in the media. I have served on the Boards of writers and publishers organizations. My positions have included Board Secretary of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. I served for five years as Midwest Regional Coordinator of The Haiku Society of America, and for two years as its Second Vice President.
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6 Responses to Part Two: Why Do You Write Haiku?

  1. Several others I follow that present haiku have done a similar post. Every time I comment it is a haiku answer. I am surprised no one has so answered.

  2. Jim Sullivan says:

    Those responses are excellent, Charlotte. I had two drafts I was working on but I was too slow. I couldn’t believe how difficult this was for me to state clearly why I write haiku. Charlie Rossiter probably said it best for me.

    Sully

  3. P.Allen says:

    In a world that has lost focus and discipline, haiku is a genre that in one breath becomes just that.

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