Interview with Kathy
by Robert Wilson
Q. You have won numerous
awards and have a list of publishing credits a mile long. What is the secret
to your success?
A. I wish I could say that
I have a clue, but I truly don't. All I know is that I try not to write a haiku
that sounds as if it's a report about something. Everything I write has my own
personal voice. Some say that haiku is supposed to be without the author inserted.
I insert my take on things anyway.
Q. Why do you write
A. I write haiku because
I like taking ordinary moments, and showing how extraordinary they can be. Life
is composed of more ordinary moments than anything else. I may as well make these
moments memorable. I also like the brevity of the form, and I have learned
to say a lot in few words.
Q. What, to you, constitutes
a good haiku? And what is a bad haiku?
A. That is hard to say.
I have seen excellent haiku that break all the rules. I have seen classic haiku
that are not very interesting. I think a good haiku is one that manages to
capture the moment in such a way that makes it irresistible.
A bad haiku is easy to
define. A bad haiku is one that is composed of three lines of 5/7/5 with fluff
words thrown in to make a syllable count. Don't get me wrong, it's highly possible
to write good 5/7/5 haiku. However, if the haiku is filled with unnecessary words,
the impact is lost, and you have three lines of absolutely nothing.
Q. What do you do
to hone your skills, to become a better haiku poet?
A. Well, right now, I am
not doing much honing because I am in school. However, I do not sit down and try
to write haiku. I used to do that when I first started, but now, I let the haiku
Q. Is there a process
you go through when writing a haiku?
A. If I find something
that inspires me, I jot down a line or two; I have been known to wake up in the
middle of the night and say a phrase into a tape recorder by my bed. When
the mood strikes me, I compose draft versions (usually more than one version of
the same haiku). This way, I get what I consider, the best possible version.
Q. What haiku poet
has exerted the greatest influence on you, and why?
A. You mean other than
yourself? an'ya. She helped me a lot when I was learning. I can remember emailing
her 5 to ten times a day. She was really patient. Ferris Gilli and Christopher
Herold. They were among the first to publish my work. They also were victimized
by my constant emailing for information (grinning). Martin Lucas. He gave me some
advice in response to my first submission about my writing being too flowery.
That one statement, among others, clarified some things for me.
Q. How do you know
what haiku to send to a publisher?
A. I don't. I never know
what is or is not something that a publisher will like. All I can do is write
what I like and submit to the publishers. After that, it is out of my hands. I
absolutely refuse to write a haiku with any particular magazine or editor in mind.
Most of my haiku find homes, that is, when I have the time to actually submit.
I haven't been able to submit as often as I like at the moment.
Q. What are some common
mistakes people make when writing haiku?
A. I can't state anything
about the veteran poets; many of these poets have been honing their craft before
I was born. I find that many new haiku poets use unnecessary words that weaken
Q. Which do you prefer--modern
haiku or traditional haiku--and why? Or, is there a difference?
A. I like modern haiku.
I guess the reason is because that is what I see in most of the haiku journals.
I am not sure how to even define traditional haiku. I think all haiku today is
considered modern haiku because we are writing in modern times.
I guess I could define
traditional haiku as that haiku that is more in classic haiku form. I know
there are haiku poets that tailor their work after Basho, Shiki, Issa, or any
other poet that inspires them.
To me, it is still modern
Lippard Cobb resides in Bradenton, Florida. Kathy is currently enrolled
as a student majoring in Computer Programming and Analysis. Kathy's other
interests include singing, drawing, and songwriting. Kathy has been widely published
in a variety of forms.
Literary publications: Heron's
Nest, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Paper Wasp, Acorn, Snapshots, Raw Nervz, Presence,
Midwest Poetry Review, Still, Haiku Headlines, Starfish, Yellow Moon, Shemom,
The Florida Villager, The Shadows Ink Poetry Chapbook, and various anthologies.
Awards: Kathy has won the
2001 Harold Henderson Award, the 2001 and 2002 James W. Hackett International
Haiku Award, the 2001 Haiku Presence Award, the 2001 Midwest Poetry
Review Annual Haiku Contest, the 2002 Yellow Moon Literary Competition
for Tanka, the 2002 Yellow Moon Literary Competition for Haiku (second
place), the Haiku Presence Award (second place), the 2001 Betty Drevniok
Award (second place), 2002 Florida State Poetry Contest, 2002 Shadow Ink
Poetry Contest, Haiku Calendar Competition, International Kusamakura,
Sol Magazine, AN5 (second place), 2003 Mainichi Haiku (second
place), as well as many highly commendeds.