Haiku and Tanka Poet Revells in The Moment

Canadian Marje A. Dyck  has been a fixture on the haiku scene for many years. In a recent interview that you will enjoy, Marje tells us about her passion for haiku and tanka, the latter, five-line lyrical poems with a maximum of 31 syllables.

1) What are your four favorite haiku in your book, A Piece of the Moon?still blue water

in the long cool evening
the sound of geese leaving

distant glimmer
of a beach fire-
autumn moonrise

smoke over the river
the restlessness
of crows

spring geese
in the shimmering
bend of the river


2) What are your four favorite tanka in Still Blue Water?

the forest at midnight
neither moon nor stars-
then going our own way
the wolf and I


delicate profile
of a deer on shore
heron in the reeds-
what more do I need
from this solitary moment


winding road
bordered with gold
can’t still these thoughts
can’t hold back
the moon


snow flowers
bloom on the cedar
falling and
the twilight snow


3) When did you first hear of haiku and tanka?

I was first introduced to haiku, when I happened to pick up a book of J.W. Hackett’s poems in the library. I was delighted with the form, and the simplicity of the poetry. I’ve been writing it ever since.

My love of tanka began when I was given Akiko Yosana’s Tangled Hair by a friend who brought it as a gift from England. This form of poetry appealed to me as a means to express personal feelings and ideas, as well as my love for nature.


4) When did you begin writing haiku and tanka?

I began writing haiku in 1986. My first published haiku was: rectangle of light/ janitor vacuums silently/in the night. This poem won a Japan Airlines contest in June 1988. My first chapbook of haiku was rectangle of light. (Publisher: proof press, Dorothy Howard)

I began writing tanka in 1994. My poem,  a piece of the moon/is missing tonight/how empty the sound/my key turning/in the lock, won honors in Tanka Splendor that year.

My second book, A Piece of the Moon, was published in 2005. It is a collection of my haiku, tanka, and haibun, illustrated with several of my ink paintings. As well, many of my ink drawings have appeared on the covers of Haiku Canada Review, and in other journals such as Ribbons, moonset, and The Heron’s Nest.


5) What do you love about each of the forms?

Haiku allows me to think and write simply about nature. I’ve spent many years in Canada’s north country, and solitude and being out in nature have given me these small poems over the past twenty-eight years. Thinking in haiku makes me more observant and appreciative of the moment, and much more aware of the amazing details in nature. This awareness is a gift in a world that seems more and more oblivious to the wonders that surround us.


While haiku taught me to explore and enjoy nature, tanka gives me a vehicle to express feelings and observations about human nature, and to respond to life’s experiences.

Haiku has helped me to perceive nature and to appreciate nature, while tanka has enlarged my philosophical outlook about life and the world I live in.


6) What inspires you to write haiku? Tanka?

Being out in nature is the best place for me to write haiku. Sometimes, I write several in the space of a few hours on the beach at Dore Lake, and at other times, one will come to me almost anywhere I happen to be: a sudden inspiration. I have awakened in the middle of the night with a haiku begging to be written down, so I keep a pen and notepad on my night table. Haiku hones my thinking, and sharpens my perception of my surroundings. This can be therapeutic, as it takes one away from the multi-clutter that has become our world.

I also do photography, which is another way to relax, to observe and enjoy my surroundings. I have had both ink and photo haiga, (haiku combined with art), published in journals and online.


Because of my penchant for wandering in nature, I often sit and observe my surroundings, and I combine what I experience from this activity with my thoughts and feelings and memories in a tanka. It is a rich combination, and I have written many poems as a result.
Tanka gives me much more license with language to describe in metaphor, simile, etc. I have been writing tanka for twenty years. Lately, I have been collaborating with Angela Leuck, (Canadian poet from Quebec), on her upcoming book about “conversational tanka,” and returning to my childhood through poetry. It has inspired me to write about that perceptive time of my life, reminding me of my roots.


7) Do you do any other kind of writing?

I have had short stories, articles, prose poems, and free verse published in many journals, such as: Loch Raven Review, Freelance, Grain, Prairie Fire, in medias res (University of Saskatchewan), Freefall magazine, and the Star Phoenix (local newspaper). One of my short stories won a third place prize in a Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild contest. I have been a member of the Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild for twenty years.


My haiku, tanka, haibun (prose piece with haiku), and haiga have been published in many journals, books, anthologies, and online. Just a few of the publications where my work has appeared are:

Simply Haiku
Modern English Tanka
Raw Nervz
Atlas Poetica
Carpe Diem (Canadian anthology of Haiku)
World Haiku Review (third place – contest)
Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide For All, by Charlotte Digregorio

I have written a novel based in Northern Saskatchewan, but I consider myself more of a poet than a novelist!

You may contact Marje at  <mauvejazz@sasktel.net>. She will be happy to email you information about her books.

May you receive abundant inspiration from Marje’s lovely haiku. Seek her poetry in choice journals!

Copyright 2014 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.
This entry was posted in Books, Canadian Poets, Creativity, Haibun, Haiga, Haiku, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All, Haiku Book, Japanese Style Poetry, Language Arts, Poetry, Poetry Books, Poets, Publishing Haiku, Short Poetry, Tanka, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Haiku and Tanka Poet Revells in The Moment

  1. Miriam Sagan says:

    Reblogged this on Miriam's Well: Poetry, Land Art, and Beyond and commented:
    I just discovered this interesting haiku site that I think will be of interest to Miriam’s Well readers, as is the interview with a haiku poet who is new to me. Enjoy!

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