2003, Volume 1, Number 6
by Robert Wilson
introduced you to haiku and how has it affected your life?
A) My introduction to haiku was
an accidental one. In 1989, I was very ill with a
life-threatening pulmonary embolism which called
for repeated hospitalizations. It was during one
such episode that I discovered haiku in a magazine.
I was intrigued by this form and started searching
for material related to haiku. The standard books
on poetry did not list it and, in those days, information
about haiku was not available on the internet. Somehow,
I managed to find Mr. William J. Higginson's address
and wrote a letter to him. He very kindly sent me
his Haiku Handbook as a gift. So in a way it was
Bill (Mr. Higginson) who introduced me to haiku and
a remarkable journey into healing. Now, fourteen
years later, writing haiku for me is a way of life,
of living in the now. I observe the day to day unfolding
of my own nature in tune with the changing seasons.
I try to capture something each day, the essence
of that day in one or several haiku. It helps me
to simplify my life and live more fully and peacefully.
Q) You have said that if more people
turn to writing haiku, there would be more joy and
less strife in our lives and in our world. How is
A) Yes, I believe if more people
turn to writing haiku, there would be less strife
in our lives and more joy in the world. Each one
of us is responsible for the quality of our lives.
Only if we are at peace with ourselves can we be
in harmony with those around us. The practice of
haiku gives us an ever-fresh opportunity to look
at nature and our own nature. Once we have this approach
to life in general, and nature in particular, it
will help us to be more understanding of those around
us. We will be able to make friends and interact
through sharing haiku.
Q) Is the writing of haiku alive
and well in India?
A) I would like to say Yes, but
unfortunately this is not so. Haiku is still a relatively
unknown poetic form in my country. As you know, we
have our own very rich poetic heritage. English is
our official second language and is taught all over
India beginning in kindergarten. In school, we learn
about various poetic forms and the lyric poem, the
sonnet, the ballad, and the epic poem. Amongst the
shorter forms, we are taught about the limerick,
the cinquain, the quatrain, but not haiku. Efforts
are now being made to popularize this form of poetry
in various parts of India mainly through the regional
languages. Unfortunately, these are difficult for
others to understand. English language haiku journals
and books are still almost impossible to get in India.
What is being written as haiku are just three line
Q) Your aim from what I understand
is to put India on the World Haiku map via the sharing
of your haiku and the haiku of your fellow haijin
from India with internationally renowned poets.
A) Yes, it is a rather ambitious
aim but slowly and steadily I plan to do this by
bringing together more interaction between poets
from India with poets from other parts of the world.
There are some good Indian haiku poets who have been
published in some of the best haiku journals abroad.
I hope that each of these poets will further the
cause of haiku by introducing others to this marvelous
form, and if we communicate with each other by sharing
our haiku, we can put India on the world haiku map.
There are many haiku journals/clubs online which
encourage poets to send their haiku in and to discuss
ways to improve one's writing/understanding of haiku.
Translating from regional languages into English
is another point which has to be considered before
one can begin to share haiku internationally.
Q) What haiku master has had the
greatest influence on your haiku and why?
A) This is a very difficult question
to answer in the four great haiku poets (Basho, Issa,
Buson, Shiki) have all affected me in different ways.
When I read Basho's travelogue in the famous Oko-no-Hosimichi,
I felt very close to him as I have always maintained
a travel diary. The childlike simplicity of Issa's
haiku and his fascination with insects parallels
mine. Buson's picture like images flow smoothly for
me. And Shiki's haiku have an immediacy which has
had a profound affect on my writing. I feel closest
to Shiki since his illness brought him to haiku and
mine did too. Of the other Japanese haiku poets I
have several whom I admire. They are far too many
to name here. I also have a great affinity for the
women poets from the Manyoshu, and Kokinshu.
Q) Do you have any advice for those
new to the writing of haiku?
A) It would be a good idea to write
everyday, to keep a haiku journal, and share these
with family and friends. But before doing this, one
must get a good guide for understanding what a haiku
is. In the words of Robert Speiss in his Speculation
817, "The study and practice of haiku encourage
one to move from a narrow, ego-centered venue to
one that is limitlessly open. It is an awakening
to the dynamic suchness of the world's entities." And
in 805, "A genuine haiku poet is one who has
not lost the heart of a child."
Deodhar is a well-known Indian haiku writer and artist. Her bio
just before the partition in India, schooled in the best "English" tradition
I grew up in sylvan surrounds amongst the foothills of Himalaya,
and fell in love with them. My father was a doctor in the India
Army, and our home was full of books and music. Even during medical
school (graduate and post graduate studies) I wrote short stories,
articles poems - but never thought of "writing" as a
working as an ophthalmologist in remote villages for almost 18 years,
I developed a life threatening recurrent pulmonary
embolism with repeated
prolonged hospitalization. This is when writing became a lifetime and a second
career. Now, a decade later, my poems, stories and haiku have been published
in USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, Greece, Croatia, Romania, Finland, Poland
and India. I owe a lot to those who have encouraged me along the Haiku Path:
Liz Fenn of the Haiku Conservatory who sent me my first copy of HAIKU HEADLINES
(#63/JUN'93), Patrick Frank, Elizabeth S. Lamb, Ken Liebman, Bob Spiess, Bill
Higgison, Gerald England, Ion Codrescu, Jim Cacian, Season/Carolyn Thomas,
and of course, Rengé/David Prieb, who has given me this opportunity
to share my work. I am indebted to my husband, a physician, and
my son, for their support
through many emotional storms of chronic illness.
all the poetic forms I find haiku most appealing. Throughout their
one can share moments of absolute awareness, of truth, of images,
or depths and heights of the spirit which transcend time, cultures and continents-bringing
about universal peace and understanding. I believe that if more people turn
to writing haiku, there would be more joy and less strife in our lives, in
Copyright 2003 Simply Haiku
Graphics © SoulKarma