Jane Reichhold



Jane Reichhold

Q) What are the ingredients for writing a good haiku?

A) You have to have first found a haiku that you loved. One that made you open your eyes wide, sucked in your breath with an "oh!" and made you want to put your own thoughts into this form.

Live with a heart and mind open to beauty, to coincidences, to the
mystery of the oneness of the world.

Learn the techniques and factors which set haiku apart and joins it to
other kinds of poetry. My book, Writing and Enjoying Haiku: A Hands-on Guide, was made to help you with this and contains the many possible rules that people have given haiku over the ages. Pick which ones you want to follow for your own work.

Practice. Write down every haiku that comes to mind whether you think it is "good," "bad," or even silly. If something touches your heart, it is of value to you, and the path you are on. Respect and honor these gifts.

Share your haiku with others in any way you can. The world gets bigger and brighter when we share our inspiration by multiplying the light.

Q) What are pitfalls a person should look out for when writing a haiku?

A) Choppiness. I feel a haiku should have two parts: a sentence fragment, (old pond), and a two-line phrase, (a frog jumps into / the sound of water). I like to hear haiku that have the necessary articles (a, an & the) in them so they read smoothly.

Q) What should a person do to improve their writing of haiku?

A) Read all the haiku one can to see where others succeeded and where they have, in your opinion, failed. See what has been done so you don't have to repeat it. Experiment. Try out new words, new ideas, new subject matter. Always review the basics again and again so you have the touchstone of the original. This will tether your wildest dreams to the principles of the form. You can never write a better haiku than your heart is great. This means you have to do soul-work, deepening the understanding and love of yourself, others and everything in this world, animate or inanimate. Live with reverence - as if everything is alive (it IS) and precious.

Q) What haiku poet has had the biggest influence on you as a writer?

A) Surely Basho has been my greatest teacher the longest. As I have
translated his works, I have seen and learned so much from his methods. He taught me how to write haiku and how to live the haiku way of life. There is still so much to learn from him.

Q) Why is haiku an important part of your life?

A) Because it opens me to the majesty of this world. It has taught me to go into each day with a heart open to whatever comes my way with joy, expectation and awareness. Haiku has been a refuge in times of difficulty, a gentle place to park my mind when I've felt overwhelmed, and gives me the courage to go on in it.

Q) Your writings have influenced many writers of haiku. How do you feel about this?

A) Humble, grateful, exhilarated and blessed.


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