Haiku Is Healing

Every week, I give a haiku workshop somewhere, mainly at libraries, bookstores, and through writer’s organizations. I’m celebrating my new book, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All. I guess you could say I live and breathe haiku. Two major workshops in the near future are: (1) Sponsored by Poets & Patrons, at Hinsdale (IL) Public Library, Saturday, Oct. 25 at 1 p.m. (2) Sponsored by Glenview (IL) Public Library, Sunday Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. (The latter will include an audience haiku contest with prizes. Register at http://www.glenviewpl.org)

Why am I so enamored of haiku? Mainly because it is so healing. I discovered haiku in 1994 when I was going through a difficult time in my life. Capturing the moments of our lives–which is what haiku is all about–calms us. It doesn’t matter whether we are happy or sad, capturing our life’s moments validates us.

I have written haiku about funny moments, joyful moments, and serious moments such as illness, death, and aging. When we put something down on paper, the moment becomes all the more real, we face the dilemma, and even if it is a sad moment, we have a sense of freedom. We got that thought out on paper, faced the problem, and found that it was a little less scary.

I have written a few thousand haiku in the past twenty years. About 10 percent have been published, which is normal for any writer. Only a fraction of what we write usually gets published. But, we often need to share what we write, because when we share, people often respond to it, and let us know that they feel the same way we do or at least, they can relate to it. Then, we don’t feel alone in the world. Being a writer is a solitary activity, but sharing our writing makes it less of a lonely life.

Here are two haiku I published:

taking refuge
from torrential rain . . .
gray inside

shoveling snow . . .
the weight of
his words

The next time you feel lonely or have a problem to face, write a haiku–something thoughtful and insightful, not a “so what” (trite) haiku. Make sure it has some literary value, so it just isn’t a random thought. If you don’t think haiku has literary value, then check out my book from your library. It is a how-to book, and it discusses the literary elements of haiku.

You can write haiku with literary devices that is thoughtful and get it published. But, you must educate yourself about it. Investigate haiku!

Copyright 2014 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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