Ongoing fascination for haiku

“What fascinates me about writing haiku is that I have found it to be the perfect vehicle for the kind of art that I want to make,” said Yukon-based poet, Kathy Munro. “I am a poet. I believe that I have something to say and haiku allows me to say it.”

Munro has been writing haiku for a long time and recently published her first collection, contractions, with American publisher, Red Moon Press. (She published under the name kjmunro.) 

“The poems are contractions of my life and experiences. Many are clearly influenced by my years living in the Yukon,” Munro said, adding that the poems date from 2010 to 2018, when she first began seriously sending work out to be published.

Munro is originally from Vancouver, but has lived in the Yukon since 1991. She is membership secretary for Haiku Canada, a member of the League of Canadian Poets and is active in Yukon Writers’ Collective Ink. In 2014, she founded solstice haiku, a haiku discussion group in Whitehorse that she continues to facilitate. Munro has read her poetry, delivered workshops and made presentations at literary events in both Canada and the United States.

In 2013, she received an Advanced Artist Award from the Government of Yukon and used it to attend Piper’s Frith, a writing retreat in Newfoundland where her instructor was Don McKay, poet and member of the Order of Canada. Munro will go on a tour to present her book in western Canada and Washington State. As most of us have learned in school, haiku is a Japanese poem with a five-seve n-five syllable pattern. Munro’s book includes senryu, a different form of haiku.

“The more strict definition of a haiku is a poem about nature, where a senryu is a poem more about human nature. It is a fine line.”

Writing a haiku takes time. 
“Sometimes a haiku arrives in my head fully formed, requiring no revision, but, more often, when something that I observe or experience strikes me as something to write about, I create half a haiku. Then I can spend some time editing and revising it to create the final version. In some cases this takes years. Usually it is more like hours or days.”

Munro added that she has been a serious student of the genre for 10 years and there is still so much more to learn about it. She said she’s always working on something. At the moment, she’s writing poetry and a memoir.

Munro will launch her book on April 17, International Haiku Day. The launch takes place at Baked Café at 7 pm.

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