Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu special #1 "The Poet's Craft", an essay written by Kim Russell

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's my pleasure to present to you a Tokubetsudesu special episode written by the "runner-up" of our Cherry Blossom kukai, Kim Russell. Enjoy the read.


Haiku and Tanka for Kim M. Russell’s Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu episode on the theme of ‘The Poet’s Craft’

Welcome to a new episode of Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu. My name is Kim and I have the pleasure and honour of sharing some of my poetry as the runner-up of the Cherry Blossom kukai.
I’ve been writing poetry for a very long time and, until a few years ago, only dabbled in haiku and tanka, mainly to encourage the students I taught at high school to express themselves succinctly, as well as in a creative writing club I ran. When I retired from teaching, the first thing I did was finish a novel. Then I started a website and blog, writing and posting at least one poem a day. It was then that I discovered Carpe Diem and fell in love with Japanese poetry.

Picture Scroll with several poems (16th/17th century)

The poet’s craft is something that I think about a lot. Although I stick to my discipline of writing every day – thank goodness for prompts, which help me to continue to do that – many of the words I write come to me before I fall asleep, in dreams or through the haze of waking. I often speak a phrase, a couple of lines or even a whole poem into OneNote on my mobile phone if I am in a situation where I can’t take out my notebook and pen. I try to keep a notebook by my bed and in my bag or pocket. When I’m at home, I have a folder on my laptop in which I keep words, phrases, fragments and unfinished poems, which I play around with on screen, which is easier than with a pen - my handwriting is terrible due to problems with my hands and I often can’t read it myself!

The haiku with which I earned the title of runner-up in the Cherry Blossom kukai was, of course, about cherry blossom:

pink sakura blush   
spring’s kimono falls to earth
silk snatched by a breeze

In this haiku, I imagined the sakura as a geisha and was very tempted to choose ‘geisha’ or ‘courtesan’ as my theme. However, the haiku and tanka I would like to share with you today are about writing poetry.

children of the stars
living on Earth, poets hope
for an astral muse

Punctuated with bright stars (image found on Pinterest)
an enormous sky
perfect for writing poems
haiku and tanka
punctuated with bright stars
the moon a big fat full stop

snapshot of a thought,
colours and shadows merging
haiku images

there’s comfort in words
head full of lines and stanzas
melting into shape
wicked rhythm of poems
escaping into orbit

words become poems
ephemeral ghosts as soon
as they are spoken

inky black Incense
rises from the grinding stone
haiku embryos

Brush writing in the arts of Japan
heavy pen in hand
a fountain of spider words
squirming on the page
every sentence finishes
with an inky Rorschach blot

scribbling of a pen
the scratchy sound of haiku
blossoming in ink

page of poetry
words are pinned like butterflies
until they’re spoken

in his solitude
only the poet speaks words
quiet and content

I split into three
observer, critic and scribe
talk among themselves

© Kim Russell


Thank you Kim for this wonderful essay and your thoughts and teachings about "The Poet's Craft". It was really a joy to read this essay.

Without the reader haiku is nothing. Haiku is a symbiosis between the poet and his/her reader.
 If we succeed to continue this symbiosis than we can say "this is our craft, The Poet's Craft".

And now for you my dear Haijin, visitors and travelers ... Kim asked me to say to you the following:

I would like the theme to be 'the poet's craft', in which Carpe Diem's poets express what they think it is, reflecting on their own experiences as haiku and tanka poets.

So your responses on this beautiful essay by Kim is themed "The Poet's Craft" reflect on your own experiences as haiku and tanka poets.

Here is my attempt to this theme:

ancient warriors
between battle and peace
writing haiku 

© Chèvrefeuille

This Tokubetsudesu special episode is NOW OPEN for your responses and will remain open until May 7th 7.00 PM (CET). Have fun!


  1. Congratulations, Kim, on the running-up and this essay. I feel re-inspired!

  2. Your haiku and tanka give us some beautiful words on the craft of a poet, Kim.

  3. Kim, I am astounded at your insights, thoughts, and dreams. Your writing is breathtaking.
    Thanks for this!

  4. I can so relate to the process. You've captured it very well in your haiku and tanka. Also, congratulations:)