Colors That Inspire Haiku

Adobe Photoshop PDFI recently posed this question to fellow haikuists:

As a haikuist, what color do you most associate with haiku?

This question puzzled a lot of haikuists, and I didn’t get as many responses to my question as I’ve gotten in my other haiku posts.

Personally, when I first think of a color associated with haiku, I think of green, because many of my haiku deal with trees and leaves. I think this has to do with where I was born and raised. In Oregon, there was so much green. Another color that often appears in my haiku is gray, because I often think of gray skies, rain, and fog that I grew up with.

brisk morning walk . . .
pine needles scent
autumn’s drizzle

wooded hills . . .
the evening downpour
fogs distant city lights

–Charlotte Digregorio
Modern Haiku, Summer 1996

Consider these responses from other haikuists:

Hmmmmm . . . looking through my stuff I find black, blue, blaze orange . . . but I am thinking blue most often:

Dry Tortugas
water
too many blues to name

This was in The Key West Citizen, the daily paper from a place whose waters and sky are so many kinds of blue in motion.

–Marsh Muirhead

Charlotte,

Great question. My mind goes to white as I consider your query. Blyth’s four volume set features the seasons, and I love winter. I have written lots of haiku with snow and shades of grey. These days, though, my mind turns to yellow. A filling station owner was shot and killed recently just a stone’s throw from the church where I serve. So far, I have set down a draft to work on:

bordered with marigolds
their place
in yellow tape

–Dan Schwerin

I think of a creamy brown (weird, I know). But I don’t actually have a haiku to go with it! I just generally associate the art form with this color.

–Amelia Cotter

I have at least 77 haiku using the color blue. I’m cheating a bit, as I have many using “the blues.”

Here is one:

canceled flight;
the Midnight Sun Cafe
plays Delta blues

Here is one with the color:

Mothers Day
she waters a potted plant . . .
three blue eggs

–Joe Kirschner

I think this is, for me, the most difficult question you have
asked for your blog. I see in color, but most of what I write seems
to be devoid of color. Snow, rain, and even dust might appear in a
poem — shades of white and gray.

But at times color pokes through:

parallel parking
even here
emerging daffodils

–Bruce Pfeffer

Sharing the Sun: Haiku Society of America Member’s
Anthology, 2010)

I really did think about your question and could not come up with a color unless transparent is a “color.” I think of Emerson and his “transparent eyeball” walking through the universe. He was laughed at and subject of a famous cartoon. But I wonder. . . .

–Donna Bauerly

I don’t really think of any colour at all when I think of haiku. Nature has many colours, and they’re all equally fair game for haiku. And many of my haiku tend to be more domestic, anyway. An interesting question to think about.

For what it’s worth, I have a lengthy unpublished paper on Richard Wright’s use of colour in his haiku. He used many different colours liberally (and not just black and white as one might guess, given the focus of his fiction and nonfiction).

–Michael Dylan Welch

I have to tell you, I took a glance at my haiku, but all I found were different colors every time. And even in those different colors, there were nuances of colors. To me, a color is something to give subtle indications in writing. Each color has a subliminal response in the human brain.

I’m looking forward to others’ responses, that’s for sure.

–Merrill Gonzales

There you have it! Next time, I’ll ask a simpler question. Many thanks to those who responded with such thoughtful comments and haiku!

Copyright 2012 By Charlotte Digregorio.

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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. I am also the author of five non-fiction books: 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; and Your Original Personal Ad. 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." 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 have signed books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores. I was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry. I have won thirty-three poetry awards. 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 am an internationally-published haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, haibun, free verse, acrostic, cinquain, etheree, and sestina poet. My poetry has been translated into six languages, and I have done poetry readings at a variety of bookstores, libraries, art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. My poetry has been displayed at supermarkets, art galleries, libraries, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I've been interviewed on cable television about my poetry. I also 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 was also self-employed as a communications/public relations/marketing consultant with 111 clients in 16 states. In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give special lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and to those at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and to 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. Currently, I am Second Vice President of the Haiku Society.
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2 Responses to Colors That Inspire Haiku

  1. snowbirdpress says:

    I think Donna’s mentioning “transparent” is interesting… As a general “color” to see clearly through the haiku to the truth. Makes me think of Chiyojo’s “clear water.”

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