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?”
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.
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?
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.
I write haiku to slow down, focus, and improve my capacity to perceive.
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.
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.