Monday, April 07, 2003

"I can remember with perfect clarity Robert Creeley telling his students in 1968, 'If you don't have to write poetry, for God's sake don't.' And I loved it. I follow in a long line of Zen fools who love poetry and feel compelled to write it."

- Sam Hamill recollecting Creeley, from an interview in the Winter 02/03 issue of Rain Taxi -

I haven't written much poetry lately. But not for lack of love, or need. More accountable, I think, for the paucity of poetry in my pen (!) is a general malaise of the spirit - a product of the dark days we are wading through. Or, it could be my idle nature. I'm in love but I'm lazy as Paul sang so long ago. I am enamored of Poetry to the depths of my soul but she is a demanding mistress and I am a lazy thinker.

Is it my lazy ways that have led me in recent years to the reading and writing of haiku and tanka and an appreciation of the short and sweet in general? No, I don't think so. Haiku is not a lazy man's art. It is a sharpening of focus and an exercising of keen awareness which, paradoxically enough, is absolutely no work at all when done right. The lazy, however, will never know the essence of inaction that the haiku inspired poet or the Zen master channels into his or her "work" and life.

I don't claim to write haiku, of course, but what I call haiku inspired forms. I make this distinction because I take many liberties with the rules of traditional haiku, and perhaps with the modern form as well, while remaining true, I think, to the sense of moment that is the essence of haiku.

In any case, the folks at Short Stuff seem to think I'm doing something right. They've accepted two more pieces of my short poetry and brought them to light in the April '03 edition. I will, no doubt, add the link to the My Words on the Web section to the left but, until then, you can read them here if you, like Mr. Hamill above and myself, love poetry and think you might have a place in your heart for mine:

Two from me to you, Short Stuff (April 2003)

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