Exploring Poetry Form with Featured Artist Christine Taylor

Wildlings, today Featured Artist Christine Taylor shares some thoughts on Haikai ahead of a special interactive feature tomorrow! Read here, check out her tutorial (handy link below or here) and hone your haiku skills!

Photo by Mat Reding on Unsplash
Haikai

 I became fascinated with haiku specifically nearly twenty years ago while taking a graduate seminar on poetic form and structure.  I was living overseas at the time in a fairly remote area, and spent much time hiking in the mountains overlooking the ocean around my home.  During these hikes, I would often stop to scribble haiku in my journal, and with some practice managed to eke out a few decent ones.  After I moved away, I put haiku aside, lured by other forms, and then returned to it a few years ago after uncovering some old drafts in a notebook.  Since I already had a foray with haiku, I was curious to learn more about other Japanese short-forms (haikai) and researched and read haibun, haiga, and tanka.  I decided to give haibun a try and relied on mentor texts from Haibun Today and Contemporary Haibun Online to guide me.  The form feels very natural to me, and often when I’m stuck with a poem, I’ll say to myself, “Just haibun it,” and that gets me out of the hole!

I’ve been fortunate in the haikai world, and my first editing position was as the haibun editor at OPEN:  A Journal of Arts and Letters (OJAL).  While there, I curated a small haibun feature to introduce readers to the form.  That was how I met Robin Anna Smith, and we fast became friends.  When she started Human/Kind, a journal for topical haikai, and asked me to be one of her assistant editors for haibun, I certainly agreed, and our two literary projects Kissing Dynamite and Human/Kind came into the world together in January 2019.  I’m looking forward to seeing how haikai continues to shape me as a writer in the future.

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