Ikuyo Yoshimura



Ikuyo Yoshimura - Inteview By Robert Wilson

Q) How long have you been writing haiku?

A) I have been writing haiku for fifteen years.

Q) Who has had the greatest influence on your writing?

A) To answer this, I have to mention my interest in poetry. I have been writing poetry since I was a college student. I remember finding some wonderful short poems written in Japanese among contemporary Japanese short poetry such as "a butterfly alone went across the Dattan Channel" by Fuyue Anzai. At the time I also became interested in Carl Sandburg's poetry. I love his poem, Fog, from Chicago. About twenty years ago, before I started writing haiku, I joined a poetry writing class taught by Zenkyu Hirako who lived in Gifu. His teachings empowered me to write poetry. The most thrilling haiku I faced--- "Along this road/Goes no one,/This autumn eve.(by Basho, translated by R.H.Blyth)---charmed me and encouraged me to write haiku. English haiku also caught my heart , such as this haiku by Nicholas A. Virgilio, Lily/out of the water/out of itself.

Q) How important is it to use a kigo word in a haiku?

A) I think a kigo word works well in Japanese haiku effectively, with
limited words. A kigo word itself has a lot of meaning in regards to history and human life. A kigo anthology (Saijiki, in Japanese)is one of the best almanacs. If you can find the big word with equal value, you can do haiku without using a kigo word. I love haiku with and without kigo. As you know well, kigo is composed basically on Japanese culture. English haiku, on the other hand, uses words relating to nature and culture which have their own background.

Q) Haiku has spread from Japan to the rest of the world. What do you attribute this to?

A) For Japanese haiku, the spread of haiku to oversea countries leads to exciting communication. It is important for us to know each other for the transfiguration of haiku and for rooting haiku. Genuine haiku always comes from an intermingled situation. I like to send Japanese ideas and haiku works to poets overseas.

Q) What advice do you have for those new to the writing of haiku?

A) I think reading classics and living life to the fullest are good
models. Of all forms of poetry, it is said that haiku is the closest to
silence and is a so called "wordless" poem. I am charmed by what is not described in haiku because it gives to readers the opportunity for various kinds of imagination. This is caused by its multitude of expression. Such elements have kept me writing haiku for years. When I find a wide and deep view of life in this shortest of poetry, I feel the happiest feeling. The charming point of haiku creation is found in capturing every sensibility of the moments of sympathy between human beings and nature.



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