Conversation 16: THE DAILY HAIKU INTERVIEWS: John Maxwell O’Brien

I’m an emeritus professor of history (Queens College, CUNY) who lives in Connecticut USA and has written numerous articles on ancient history, medieval history, and the history of alcoholism. My best-selling biography, Alexander the Great: The Invisible Enemy (Routledge), has been translated into Greek and Italian, and I take pride in having authored an article on alcoholism in the Oxford Classical Dictionary. My second life has been devoted to my first love, creative writing, and I’ve published a variety of poems and short stories in literary journals. My debut novel, Aloysius the Great (Propertius Press), was published on June 16tn 2020, is brimming with Joycean allusions, and was greeted with rave reviews on Amazon (where it can be purchased) and in Goodreads. 

I stumbled upon The Daily Haiku on Facebook a couple of months ago and what a stroke of good luck that turned out to be. It’s a daily challenge to galvanize the wealth of words I’ve accumulated over eighty odd years and engage in diurnal cerebral exercise –  the only exercise I get aside from jumping to conclusions. I’d never written a haiku before and now think I’ve discovered my poetic métier in this genre. Perfectionists may wrinkle their foreheads and shake their heads at my use of the ellipse and rhyming of the first and last lines, but octogenarians don’t pay much attention to supercilious critics – and neither should you – regardless of age. Do it the way the spirit so moves you. I add pictures now and then when it enhances the imagery, but words are my primary vehicles. Thirteen of my haiku (revised from Daily Haiku postings) have been published in Live Encounters Poetry and Fiction* and thirteen new ones will appear there at the end of this month. Here’s a sampling of my scribblings:

 

Freedom

To say what I please

Without being pilloried

If one disagrees

 

Me

Barely half as smart

As I pretend to be…but

Brilliant at the part

https://liveencounters.net/le-poetry-writing-2020/12-dec-pw-vol-two-2020/john-maxwell-obrien-haiku-a-bakers-dozen/

11 Comments on “Conversation 16: THE DAILY HAIKU INTERVIEWS: John Maxwell O’Brien”

  1. I’m really enjoying these conversations – so good to get to know more about members of TDH. I enjoy your gentle, self-effacing humour, John. Always food for thought.

  2. John, dear John, meeting you through “The Daily Haiku” has been one of my great pleasures during the past few months.
    I had never written a haiku either, and in a dull old ordinary year we would never have met. I love your haiku, and am delighted to have met Aloysious, a fabulous Flann OBrien of a feller. There’s Miles of delight in that. Here’s to being one (or two) over the eight-y

  3. Liz Kavanagh

    Thank you John for sharing, it was uplifting, warm funny and so interesting . I’m looking forward to getting your first book first . And I ❤️ the haiku, will definitely start again to try to make one . Liz

  4. So interesting and drily humorous, glad to see you make no bones about loving a rhyme as I do too. Good to ‘meet’ you. x

  5. John, what a delightful interview. But I have to ask, “the Guinness logo” is that product placement or simply because you’re such a big fan.

    I’m kidding, but always on the lockout to give an Irishman a nudge.

    Secondly, I hope I don’t have to pay a royalty fee every time I quote you…

    “the only exercise I get aside from jumping to conclusions.”

    I look forward to reading your serious, inspirational haiku as well as the one’s (possibly) written with a twinkle in your eyes.

  6. What a “can of worms” you opened! Regardless, whether one uses a prop such as a picture, photo or drawing to draw attention to or reinforce poetry, creativity is born. Thank you for inspiring us and for bringing us closer together as a human community.

  7. Humbled John at your illustrious pedigree. Great to have you amidst us. Looking forward to savouring your works. Loved the line about “Jumping to conclusions exercise”

  8. i’m looking forward to more. i find you just the ticket for some fun in this group! what an amazing life you must be having. so many stories i hope you can tell in your haiku or with your haiku. thank you for being here, John!

  9. i’m looking forward to more. i find you just the ticket for some fun in this group! what an amazing life you must be having. so many stories i hope you can tell in your haiku or with your haiku. thank you for being here, John!

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