Haiku Keeps You Sane

Adobe Photoshop PDFDoes haiku keep you sane?

I recently queried haikuists about this. I think it is often true that when you write something down about a problem you’re having, it either helps you to solve it, or it at least offers you solace.

Personally, “thinking in haiku” often helps me through a difficult time or a problem that needs solving. I don’t need to specifically write about that problem, though. Further, writing haiku regularly keeps me sane, even when I’m not experiencing problems. It’s a peaceful exercise.

When I’m faced with a problem, though, whether minor or major, I usually end up taking a walk or going someplace to divert myself. I always try to see humor around me or in life’s ironies, even when I have a major problem.

Not so long ago, I faced a problem connected with my work. One Sunday afternoon, I decided to do something that would give me a break from thinking about it. I went to the zoo alone to enjoy myself, carrying my notepad, as I always do, to record anything that came to mind.

I wrote this senryu, pronounced sen-ree-yoo. Senryu is a humorous haiku that often reveals human nature, human weaknesses, or simply allows us to chuckle.

walking through the zoo . . .
i keep my problems
in proportion

Charlotte Digregorio
Modern Haiku, 41.1, Winter-Spring 2010

Below, exceptional haikuists ponder haiku and my question. They offer a haiku or senryu to illustrate how looking at the world through a haikuist’s eyes allows them to accept life as it is.

Alicia Hilton responds:

Haiku has helped me to express my emotions and adapt to stressful situations. Challenges can be an opportunity for growth and positive change, and observing nature can teach us a lot about resiliency. Here is one of the haiku I wrote when I was facing a challenge.

winter squall
vines cling
to the old mangrove

–Alicia Hilton
Modern Haiku, 43.1, Winter-Spring 2012

I honestly can’t say whether haiku saves my sanity, since there is some question as to whether I was ever sane to begin with. I can state, however, that haiku has immeasurably enriched my life.

class reunion
the ex-football team captain’s date
handsome in his tux

–John J. Dunphy


Christmas Eve–
I try to forget I saw
the receipt

Tanya McDonald
Modern Haiku, Vol.42.1, Winter-Spring 2011


In this haiku, Christopher Patchel says he writes about a moment of loneliness:

cell phone glow
on a woman’s face–
the long night

–Christopher Patchel
Modern Haiku, Vol. 42.1, Winter-Spring 2011

Terri French responds:

After my divorce, I had to redefine myself, or perhaps I should say rediscover myself. Part of that process involved getting rid of those parts of me that were no longer me. In doing so, I found my way back to myself.

reflecting pool
trying to see past
what she’s not

–Terri L. French
Frogpond, 34.3, 2011

the empty place
inside me
. . . wild lupine

–Roberta Beary
The Unworn Necklace


Merrill Ann Gonzales is an artist who finds haiku to be a form that allows her to extend her art. She finds fulfillment in the friendships she has made with other poets and enjoyment in reading their work.

I find haiku friendships incredibly valuable in understanding each person’s perspective with regard to haiku. In those personal relationships, I found my own voice.

new moon–
the path emerges
from darkness

–Merrill Ann Gonzales
flower of another country, Haiku Society Members’ Anthology, 2007

Francine Banwarth replies:

Thank you for asking…this is an interesting question, and Yes! haiku does
keep me sane…you too?

autumn fog . . .
the river knows
the way

–Francine Banwarth
the river knows the way, Haiku Dubuque

Copyright 2012 by Charlotte Digregorio.

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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4 Responses to Haiku Keeps You Sane

  1. snowbirdpress says:

    Charlotte, You are priceless… Thank you for drawing out the water from the rock!

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