20 April 2013

small fanfare on own trumpet

I don't know, I write seven simple words and off they go for an adventure of their own, sending messages back from time to time to let me know how they are getting on.

My haiku

                   autumn days     drifting from text to marginalia

set off for Bones : journal for contemporary haiku, where it was treated most hospitably and included in the inaugural issue, December 2012.
It also popped up in an excellent essay by Kris Lindbeck : How to Write Haiku: Using Juxtaposition. Thank you, Kris.

Then, to my surprise, it was selected for inclusion in a prestigious print anthology, nothing in the window, edited by Jim Kacian and the Red Moon Press Editorial Staff. A fine volume, featuring english-language haiku, haibun and essays from 2012.

Most recently - just a few days ago - I found out that it had been given a Touchstone Award, in The Haiku Foundation's Touchstone Awards for Individual Poems 2012.

I am thrilled that a small cluster of my words should go off into the world and do well for itself. It's great to see one of mine alongside those by poets whose work I already admire, names that I have come to know well since discovering haiku, some of whom I know on Twitter.

I am both slightly bemused and greatly encouraged by it, a small success coming at a time when I have not been finding it easy to write, struggling to establish the direction I should be taking both within and without haiku. This is my fifth haiku spring, and I don't want simply to go round again.

Earlier this year, I had considered mothballing or even deleting these messy, hit-and-miss pages, especially now that what I consider the best-of has been collected to pdf books on Scribd. But the title of this blog does encapsulate my philosophy of writing (I must get it put on a t-shirt!) so I want to keep it going. It's just that the character of the blog might change as I explore a wider range of fragmentary, but haiku-influenced, writing.

I want to thank all of you who read here, for taking an interest in my (unsteady) progress. It's not pretty but this is where I am finding my uncertain way.


  1. I'll echo my Twitter well done on here too. They are seven great words and deserve to be welcomed wherever they land.

    I can relate to much of what you said about exploring where to go and how to go. I think sometimes it's about going round again but just a few degrees off from the previous circuit - sometimes that's all it takes to spot something new.

    I hope you do keep this space. I would really miss it. And I'd love to continuing reading whatever you do next.

    Sometimes it's trying new things that give us the boost that we need to push ourselves to better things. In my offline life I'm playing about with fitting my 'ku into prose pieces (not in the usual haibun way) and thinking about making them into more visual collaborative art based pieces... we'll see.

  2. Thank you, jem, you always seem to know how to come up with the right words. Your "... but just a few degrees off..." comment is still going round in my head ;-)
    Yes, I've been thinking about how 'ku and prose can interweave, too. I don't see myself as a poet, and my 'ku for a while now have been finding a form that is less poem-like and more sentence-like. And I definitely prefer the 'poetry' in prose fragments to the poetry of, er, Poetry, if you see what I mean. (Search online for Robert Grenier's Sentences, I've been reading those recently.)
    Truth is, though, we just have to find our own way, don't we? Among the gravitational pulls of all our varied influences.

  3. Regarding your kind remark 'you always seem to know how to come up with the right words' - just sadly always at the right time when I need them most ;)

    Full response when I have pondered your comment further and read the suggested Sentences.

    1. (Well, Sentences is from 1978, I think, so they're hardly the latest thing ;-) But also I've long been fascinated by Geof Huth's One Million Footnotes, which I know you're aware of.)

  4. Honestly, I’ve been pondering!

    It’s great to be able to engage in discussion about what we do, rather than just keep doing it without much consideration as to the what and the why.

    I know I find myself going in cycles of inspiration and frustration. Sometimes wanting to be the best at ‘ku – followed by frustration at feeling that goal is so far out of reach – then swinging between tradition and rules, and rule breaking and new forms – and questioning the confidence in either. Sometimes I think my older Splinter stuff is better than my more recent – but every day a different take on the thing.

    Coupled with the regular feeling that much / everything I say in ‘ku has been said before – deja ‘ku? – sometimes not knowing if something I’ve just written I wrote before or I read somewhere. The fear of plagiarising with each tiny handful of words.

    You’re right – I love Geof’s Footnotes – and thanks for the introduction to Grenier’s Sentences – so easy to get lost in those – so much room to move around them at all levels – almost like being in a gallery, looking from different angles, bring our own response. These seem to be feeding into what you’re producing at the moment – while carry a good dose of the better aspects of ‘ku too.

    I liked the Dave Bonta erasure poems you shared on Twitter too. I’ve played about with found poetry a bit offline, chopping up a couple of knackered books – it works in a different way.

    And makes me think of how I once heard that David Bowie worked – chopping up words and scattering them and picking them up to make lyrics. Maybe that’s what we’re doing in our heads – shaking ourselves now and then and seeing what falls out? Long may it continue!