My name is Phil Barnett, I’m a web designer by profession and I live with my partner Jackie in South Lancashire.
My introduction to writing poetry has been, in large part, through haiku. I’m a very keen photographer and an attempt to write vaguely poetic captions to photographs evolved into haiku-like short poems and then actual haikus.
The challenge then became to write something that would stand up on its own two feet, without the prop of a photo to hold it up. While I’m hopefully successful at this at times, I know that at other times the words collapse into a heap, without their visual crutch.
I love the idea that I can be at home, maybe lying in bed, mentally moving some words around and then….sparks! These everyday words, the ones we use all the time, the right ones in a certain order, can perform a wonderful alchemy. From the base metal of the commonplace can come the gold of something poetic.
It’s a magic that everyone has access to – all the time – word magic!
Unlike musicians, who have to carry to their instruments around or painters with their easels – to produce their art – the poet has ready access to the stuff of creativity at all times. This raw material of words hovers round in the mind just waiting for you to breathe poetic life into it. The words are birds looking for a place to land.
The enjoyment I got from writing these nuggets of haiku encouraged me to try writing longer poems. This is something which I’ve found very rewarding, have had several published and have found a publisher for a book of poems – hopefully next year.
I am a person with wide ranging interests, so am in lots of Facebook groups from ‘Cumbria Lichens’ to ‘Electronic Music’ – well over a hundred in fact! However The Daily Haiku is the one that I find, by far, the most rewarding.
Being very supportive and easy going it feels like a “safe-space” that every day sees a diverse burst of creativity from the members. The seed of the day’s theme has the effect of “letting a thousand flowers bloom”.
I like the fact that it caters equally for beginner and experienced writers. It caters for those purists who want to dive deep into the rich art of traditional haiku, as well as those who take a more relaxed approach to the “rules” of haiku and regard the theme as just a starting point – a spur to creativity.
It’s wonderful to see complete beginners – who perhaps have never written anything creatively before – dipping a tentative toe into the haiku pond. And then being delighted with the results, bolstered by the supportive feedback they receive.
The daily theme is a choice-limiter – in a good way – having too many choices often stifles creativity. So the theme has the effect of focussing the mind, often taking it in unexpected directions that it wouldn’t have taken if left to its own devices. In this way I find that my “creative itch” gets scratched every day.
Some members haves spoken about the lifeline that the group has provided during the last difficult year. For me it has something of the feel of a Christmas advent calendar that I got as a child. Waking in the morning I’d suddenly, excitedly remember – “oh yes, I’ve got a window to open” – now replaced now by “oh yes there’s the Daily Haiku theme!”
fishing boat moon hauls
in the catch, silver bellies
last remnants of day
between water and fall
between in breath and out