Conversation 34: THE DAILY HAIKU INTERVIEWS: Helene Guojah

Introduction

I grew up by the sea in Cornwall, moving away in my late teens, as many of us did. With my partner, I am now in the slow process of renovating a small, semi-derelict house near Truro.  I have worked with victims of homelessness and domestic violence and more recently as an event caterer alongside running a factory canteen. (Sharing your writing with strangers is not unlike laying out your buffet for a crowd – you’re never quite sure how it will go down).

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I had always wanted to write creatively in some form but had never felt confident enough to share my scribblings.  So I was initially quite tentative at being invited to join TDH in March.  I think I was jolted into writing my first lines by the momentous event of my son finally cutting his yards of hair and since then I think I have posted at least one verse every day, although I still hesitate to call them Haiku.

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TDH has been a creative companion through the pandemic miseries and the sea change of lockdown. I like the gentle prompt of the daily and weekly themes alongside the freedom to write on any topic.  For a new writer being able to learn, experiment and share in a warm safe environment is like dipping your toes in the summer shallows – invigorating and makes you smile.

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Below my first ever lines which I would probably write differently now but am still happy to let it stand.

Ten years of growing,

grams and grams of human rope.

The boy cut his dreads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And something more recent – the prompt was ‘weeds’ and this was what I saw on my shamefully unkempt driveway.

Grey concrete cracks

Slowly darned with green

Haphazard stitches.

13 Comments on “Conversation 34: THE DAILY HAIKU INTERVIEWS: Helene Guojah”

  1. I love your haiku….they’re beautifully crafted and often witty little vignettes. Always clever, sometimes funny and frequently delicious. You have cooked up many a mouthwatering little gem and I still want to see your foodie haiku published along with photos and recipes ….😘 it’s a joy to share this haiku space with you Helene as you are always kind, thoughtful and inspiring. 🙏

    1. Thanks Carolyn, I feel the same for yours, an old friend I have never met appearing on the screen. x

  2. I am so very pleased Helene that you felt able to start sharing your creative writing on THE DAILY HAIKU and enjoy your haiku immensely. Your haiku express a love for language and a keen observation struck through with a sharp turn of phrase that turns heads. ‘Slow darned with green’ evokes a quiet and unexpected beauty from weeds that embroider our dull streets. These are considered and thoughtful haiku that encourage us to see again the world around us.
    Haiku I acknowledge is taken by the group in its broadest terms and in a recent creative exploration around its meaning is clearly for such a short form difficult to fix and means different things to each one of us despite some acknowledged guidelines and features. I am reminded from the start of our group that Patrick Osada pointed out that much of what we write is more accurately described as senryu but modern haiku is always shifting – perhaps we are contributing to that conversation too.
    I have also found TDH a creative companion that has evolved into a family of companions. This does feel especially important during Covid19 as we remain isolated, separated and unsettled.
    Thank you so much for sharing your haiku and reflecting on THE DAILY HAIKU as part of your evolving creative writing journey.

  3. Helene,
    I have admired your haiku/senryu developing, particularly over the past few months. You are now one of those whose work I seek out via the members’ list in quiet moments, to make sure I haven’t missed one. They paint good-humoured little pictures, loving and warm. Crack on!

  4. Lovely to read a bit about your life and how you came to haiku, Helene. It never ceases to amaze me how people who have only started writing haiku recently seem so good at it! I didn’t join when I was invited, right at the beginning, so missed your lovely poem about your son. I confess I’d love to see a photo of him after the haircut! My 24-year-old son has long hair, which he started growing when he was 11 (a lovely, accepting school), but does trim it occasionally. However, he told me the other day, he is thinking of “buzz-cutting” it this summer! Maybe that’ll inspire a haiku from me, too! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us.

    1. Thanks Jenny, I saw a picture of your son with his beautiful hair, and it did remind me of my son. He does not tolerate publicity so I don’t have a recent picture. If he knew that I put this one on I would be in trouble!

  5. I have enjoyed your haiku since I joined in September. You are one of the ones who makes EVERY word count without counting. You are a wonderful example of how less is more and I hope someday to find my voice in haiku as I can see you have done so easily. Thank you for being here with me. I am inspired!

    1. Gosh thank you for such a kind comment. I am so glad you joined the group, your enthusiasm is so infectious. x

  6. I always enjoy your haiku Helene, so imaginable and real with occasiomal breathtaking turn of phrase.
    Your world seems to parallel my own , yet I know otherwiae and that I think is your great ability to find common cause in creative verse. I look forward to many more as well as the trials and tribulations of doing up an old house.

  7. Helen, how beautiful to fall upon your conversation and to discover two of your haiku. They are touching, as is the story of how you started writing. Wishing you a long and joyful journey into the world of your creative writing!

  8. I didn’t realise you were so new to haiku. Your writing is always so gently self-assured. Thank you for sharing your story.

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