Mark Gilbert was one of the finalists with the following one-line haiku. Here are some questions he answered about his poem and process:
cherry please help me blossom I’m being held captive haiku
There was a small news story in the UK about a man who was coerced to work in a factory making greetings cards, although he was basically being used as forced labour (it could have been in many countries but happened to be in China). So he wrote an SOS in one of the cards, which was read by the person in Britain who bought the card and led eventually to the factory being closed down.
This story made me think about haiku (which are sometimes unkindly referred to as being suitable for a Hallmark Greeting card). I too wanted to smuggle a message inside something else, and wondered if I could do that in a piece of writing as tiny as a haiku. I am a fan of techniques such as found poetry and cut-up, so I tried to splice two ideas into each other, which the reader could disentangle.
I suppose I wanted it to be something that might be an unsettling read initially, that might need to be unpicked. A monoku can be a good way to do that. This version is close to my original conception. I didn't want it to be a parody of a haiku, I wanted the reader to think about who might be writing it and what their circumstance might be, so I didn't want it to be too clever. It's written in character, or at least has an element of that within it, so I wanted it to be believable, something that someone might have written in a state of desperation.
I hope that it will remind younger readers of Marlene Mountain, who has had a strong influence on my haiku. Where I hope it is different is in the area of parody, irony, trying to be a piece of writing but simultaneously stepping out of itself to look back from a different perspective. And I hope it mainly achieves this through its structure, which is not an easy thing to do in 10 words.
is not essential to know the actual inspiration because I hope there are lots of potential meanings in there. I wanted it to be simultaneously both specific and open, but not directing the reader how to interpret it. I hope it resonates with some readers.
Minal Sarosh was one of the finalists with the following haiku. Here are some questions she answered about her poem and process:
cowbells . . .
one thought bumping
It was the sound of cowbells which first triggered the creative impulse. The sound of cowbells, as the cows walk around, seemed just like my own thinking process where one thought leads to another. I think, this is true for any thought process, creative or otherwise. And I suppose it’s true for everyone !
As I heard the cowbells, I realised that it was an apt metaphor for my own thinking process. So, the words just fell into place and my poem was there on the paper in a flash.
I have been writing free verse for many years now, and have used many poetic devices. So, sometimes, some poetic devices, especially metaphor and personification, creep into my haiku too, as it has in this one.
This poem did come to me in an instant. And it seemed to be complete and effective in itself as a haiku poem. It didn’t need any revisions either! So I did not think of any other forms or format.
Well, as I said, I do use poetic devices while writing poetry. Using the poetic devices in other forms of verse is not very difficult. But, it’s quite tricky to use them in haiku, since, a haiku has to be as objective as possible and at the same time provide the ‘Ah’ moment, and all this in very few words! This makes writing haiku very interesting and exciting for me. I really enjoy the challenge !
And I am very honoured that the esteemed judges thought my haiku worthy to be selected as a trailblazer.
Writing a haiku poem in itself is so exhilarating, since one has to incorporate many layers in the poem. The suspense element is also there and at the same time it has to leave space for the reader to walk in, and unravel it the way they relate to it. And being a mystery thriller writer also, I like this suspense !
So, at the moment, I am really enjoying writing haiku and senryu poems, and am gradually exploring the other related forms too !