Put a Haiku or Senryu in a Bottle

I have been ghostwriting all day, one of my regular writing projects. I work regular business hours and beyond.

My mind is weary and it is wandering, so I am taking a break. I remember when I lived on the coast, I would walk a couple of miles each day on the sand. One day before my walk, I recycled a bottle by putting one of my published haiku in it with my name. During my walk, I  threw it in the ocean. I don’t know if anyone ever found it, and every once in a great while, I think about it. Did it land in some far-flung place? Did the recipient know English?

 

one visit

in twenty years . . .

one time left to see her

 

Haiku and senryu, like all poems, should allow the reader to experience an emotion. Finding a poem can sometimes be a mystical experience. At least, we hope that our poems will bring insight to others.

If you travel to the coast, you might want to put one of your poems in a bottle and hope that it is somehow found, bringing some insight to another person.

Or, if you still do snail-mail and send cards and letters, you might include one of your haiku when you write to a friend. I even know a person who dropped  haiku into  envelopes when mailing bills. While we don’t know if the latter would reach an effective audience,  it would really be something if the person receiving it, took a few moments from their job to read and ponder it. Or even shared it!

 

Copyright 2016 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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7 Responses to Put a Haiku or Senryu in a Bottle

  1. Ego and Letting Go

    for years off and on—since the mid 1970s—letting go. including hollow ceramic spheres with a mystery inside—because although clay is extremely durable and can last for thousands of years, it is also fragil and one day will break. leaving it someplace public—a park, an arboretum, a roadside stop along a river, or even unknowingly to others, in a private area I have brief access to such as a yard—with or without my name, sometimes just a recognizable symbol of my name.

    I think this comes from the ego we attempt to let go, yet for an artist we also have a drive to go beyond our own time and place of being on this planet. letting go of our work in hope that it will survive and go beyond our being is part of our make-up. opening others to a beauty, has many beautiful moments. one is our own exploration into the infinite possibilities of what may happen.

    long before postal art became popular and negative things could come in the mail some friends and I created something to go into envelopes—a small drawing, or painting, a poem etc. we each chose an address at random for our envelope from a phone book. no return address, no name attached to the work and sent it off.

    spring blossom
    unfolding mystery
    each step

    • Rick, thanks for writing. When I placed my haiku in a bottle, I never thought of it as ego. It was simply an exercise in seeing if there was a possibility that I could connect with someone somewhere in an extraordinary way. This is different than a public display of something.

      • there is a lot of philosophical thought around that action (even when we do not engage in that thought process ourself). regardless, i think it’s a very cool thing to do. for what ever reason (mostly). was there a way (or even a possibility) you’d ever know if you made a connection?

        i almost always place a copyright on my work—one reason being, it seems to be the way of our time—no matter how they change the laws or change them back. plus it has bothered me when others have taken my work and use it for political or other purposes without my consent.

        there are times when i not only do not place a copyright, but i do not place my name either. in some cases where my name is not present there are ways that would make it clearly mine if the question were ever asked in the right light.

        all of that stuff floats around in my mind sometimes.

        still, the idea of someone finding something i have created and connecting with it in extraordinary ways appeals to me immensely. if i ever find one of your bottles—I’ll let you know.

        P.S. there may be a few things of mine still floating around Chicago. . . . fun.

      • It’s kind of a fun thing to do. When you don’t have a common name, people can always find you, if they want you.

  2. Well, I have created homemade cards in which I have written haiku; sent postcards upon which I written haiku…never thought about a note in the bottle. Whether they were appreciated or not, who knows, but sharing poetry with the wider world is never a bad thing. ~nan

  3. Paul Beech says:

    Hi Charlotte,

    As a 15 year old, on the eve of moving home with my parents and family, I put a message in a bottle and buried it under my dad’s shed, where I’d had such fun growing up. Returning recently after 54 years, I found the shed gone and much else besides (I’ve written a haibun about it).

    Probably the house has changed hands several times since those distant days of my childhood when a vista of factory chimneys greeted the eye through our rear leaded panes. Whether my bottle was ever found and the message read I don’t know. My message was not a fine haiku like yours anyway, so I doubt anyone would have found it a mystical experience.

    Planting the bottle was certainly an emotional moment for me though, and wondering about it occasionally down the decades has always brought a whiff of the old days, something more than nostalgia, something…mystical, perhaps.

    Very best wishes,

    Paul

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