Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thomas Martin - Three Questions

Thomas Martin was born August 13, 1944 in Greensboro, North Carolina. As have so many others, Thomas discovered quality haiku rather late in life (63). He is quite appreciative of the observational and centering nature of the genre and has become very devoted to it. He is a retired journalist and technical writer who lives in Beaverton, Oregon with his wife, Joyce.

Awards and Other Honors: Third Place, Kusamakura Haiku Competition (2008); Third Place, Moonset Haiku Contest (2009); Second Place, Moonset Haiku Contest (2010).

Books Published: Real Gifts [essays and stories] (Suite 101, 2002); A Southern Line [poetry] (Suite 101, 2003).

Web site:

1) Why do you write haiku?

Mainly because of you, Curtis.  You read the haibun I had published on my website with its poorly written haiku and for some reason liked it.  It took practically another two years, but I wrote back, and you sent me a copy of the anthology in which you appeared (New Resonance V by Red Moon Press).  We struck up a friendship by e-mail and post.

I consider haiku and related forms a gift to me . After intense study of haiku, trying to make up for lost time since I am over 60 years, I sent a few fledgling attempts off for publication (I believe you suffered with me with the early rejections.)

Anyway, I now own about thirty or forty collections or anthologies and write haiku for many reasons.  I admire their intensity and brevity, along with other reasons.  I am sorry to be so long-winded, but this quote from Thomas Moore says much of what I feel about haiku:

". . .We can grasp the soul more directly through the senses than by means of the mind. . ."

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

I read and write some free verse, though I have written traditional forms also.  I am partial to   haiga and haibun.  Tanka seems to be a problem for me; I keep on trying but feel like none of it  is very successful or publishable.  I continue to write and publish haibun--mostly with Contemporary Haibun Online.

3) Of the many wonderful haiku you've written. what do you consider to be your top three? (Please provide original publication credits.)

I suppose the top three keep on changing.  Here they are:

winter gravestone
hyphen between dates
my father's life

Frogpond - Spring/Summer 2009

eggs still warm
from the nest
spring planting

Mayfly - Summer, 2010

pussy willow
I wear my mother's smile
looking for a vase

Third Place
 Kusamakura Competition - 2008 

If you've been enjoying this weekly series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response (whether it be for haiku or tanka) to the three little questions that Thomas answered. You must be a published poet to participate.


Terri L. French said...

nice to meet you Thomas and to have the privilege of being introduced to your wonderful work. I especially enjoyed the first haiku you shared. I have often thought about the hyphen on a gravestone representing a person's entire life and even wrote a prose poem about it. Here you have captured that idea so succinctly in your haiku also incorporating the emotional element of your own father--beautifully done.

snowbird said...

Thomas, Your haiku certainly are felt... The quote you provided you have put to practice in wonderful ways. I too felt the first haiku most strongly, but then enjoyed the ostensible lightness of the third. They are all very fine haiku. Many thanks.

Jessie Carty said...

Why is it so many of us truly come to haiku later than other forms of poetry? I do remember being taught tanka and haiku in elementary school; however, I don't think it was considered a valid thing to really turn in as I took writing courses later on.

Really liked the poems you provided especially the 2nd one because the lines can be combined for different readings. Well done!

Al Fogel said...

Thomas, I must confess that first haiku is my favorite and it's unbelievable what can be implied with a single hyphen. A haiku so concise / yet thousands of syllables / attempting to explain.

Thomas: an enduring & memorable haiku!