In honor of International Haiku Poetry Day, I’m pleased to present Amy Losak of Teaneck, NJ. Amy is—well, why don’t I let her introduce herself?
I am a highly experienced public relations professional specializing in healthcare. I have developed a love for writing short poetry, notably haiku and senryu, and have published them in Failed Haiku, Prune Juice, hedgerow, Under the Basho, the Asahi Haikuist Network and The Daily Haiku. I also expects my poems to be published this year in Newtown Literary, Modern Haiku and Pulse – Voices From the Heart of Medicine.
Wow! That’s a whole lotta haiku! What can you tell us about this day?
In April, National Poetry Month, April 17 is International Haiku Poetry Day, according to the Haiku Foundation.
How were you drawn to this poetic form?
I write haiku and senryu. I’m not very good, but I'm slowly improving as I continue to read the work of gifted haijin (haiku poets) and write them myself. I enjoy the process. I started on this unusual (for me) journey several years ago, thanks to my mom, Sydell Rosenberg (1929-1996), a charter member of the Haiku Society of America. HSA was established in NY in 1968 and next year, it will celebrate its 50th anniversary.
As a result of my efforts to revive and preserve some of her literary legacy, Syd's themed haiku and senryu picture book will be published by Penny Candy Books in spring of 2018. I also have a successful partnership with a New York nonprofit arts education organization, Arts For All. Mom's micro-poems are used in one Queens and one Bronx public school to teach the basics of painting, drawing and collage; and music and theater. They are like miniature stories in some ways, with characters and plots, and they are very visual.
Congratulations, Amy and Sydell! What a wonderful way to honor your mother’s memory and talent.
What can you tell us about haiku? The economy but endlessly evocative qualities of haiku -- saying a lot with few words and in few lines; leaving things out so readers can "fill in" their own meanings -- is what makes this poetic form challenging, sometimes frustrating, and ultimately rewarding. For me, a haiku poem rarely occurs in a flash of inspiration -- a "Eureka" moment that needs no revision. A short haiku can take a long time to polish. And for me, it may never be "perfect." I am rarely satisfied with my work.
And I’ve learned that’s okay. Haiku is about more than craft and the end product put down on the page. Haiku impels me to slow down, take a breath, be in the moment and observe my surroundings, in order to capture my impressions and ideas succinctly. It is an act of both focus and flow. While writing haiku takes practice and discipline, it shouldn’t be intimidating. As we observe and write, it’s fine to allow ourselves to “play” too.
If you want to learn more about haiku, a wealth of online and social media resources are at your fingertips. So I hope you will haiku, too. Enjoy!