We were able to speak with Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) about his thoughts of haiku in general and what he’s most looking forward to at this conference in particular.

H09: What trends and changes have you seen in haiku and the haiku community, here and overseas?

The great thing about haiku in the west, and this is true of haiku in the east as well, is that it is more organic than people often think. When poets feel like they are writing the same kinds of poems and the genre seems to stagnate a bit, along comes something fresh that shakes
everyone out of their complacency. Shirane’s book was such an event.

Lately it is Gilbert’s book and what we are seeing of Gendai haiku through sites like Roadrunner.

Going back further it was one-line haiku which are quite common these days. But I think we’re seeing subject and approaches change. People love to challenge convention. And that makes poetry an exciting thing to be part of.

Now some challenges don’t always work, but our examination of them forces us to reevaluate our own work–and that is always a good thing. To use the haiku as a path analogy, we shouldn’t be looking to sit in the dales by the river too long. We should be craving the high, narrow passes, and hills, where the ground isn’t always so sure.

H09: What are your best picks that you look forward to this year?

Like all HNA conferences, my favorite part is sitting face to face with poets you know or have just met, and engaging in these conversations.

As far as the schedule goes, I’m looking forward to Dennis Maloney‘s talk on haiku and hermits, Michael Welch‘s Fuyoh Observations, Charlie Trumbull‘s talk on Shasei (which I think is under attack now, so will be very interesting!!), and of course hearing John Brandi.

Thank you for your time and perspective, Paul.