Conversation 56: THE DAILY HAIKU INTERVIEWS Penny Lowery

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Hi, I’m Penny Lowery. I live in mid-Devon with my partner, Eileen – who is an artist – and our dog.

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I’ve written poetry since childhood, although none of the very early stuff is still extant… this may be just as well, as I also wrote long rambling attempts at novels as a teenager which I’m sure had zero literary merit! I grew up in Essex, in a seaside town I could not wait to escape from. My first job after leaving school was as a stage manager in three-weekly rep theatre, which I loved – I had dropped out of university, even though I was doing a drama degree. Working in the professional theatre felt very different, although I left it before I was thirty (because of some health problems) and retrained as an acupuncturist and counsellor, which is still my job.

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My main education in writing poetry was as part of a Critical Theory MA at Exeter university, which I did as a mature student. This was a brilliant opportunity: I studied with Andy Brown who gave me some insights into different forms and also allowed me to be playful with poetry for the first time. I went on to do a PhD in Age and Gender Theory, during which time I didn’t write much poetry but I did of necessity read very widely in the areas of age theory and novels/poetry by older writers. I later did some short poetry courses with the OU.

How do you approach writing haiku?

I really enjoy being given a prompt (or several) every day – they serve as a reminder of something that’s happened, or as inspiration, or just a word to bounce off. If something occurs to me I write it quite fast and then wait to see what it will turn into. If nothing springs to mind I leave it, and some days ideas will occur later; on others I don’t write anything at all, especially now as I’m starting to see clients again. I love that we use images so widely on the TDH page, but it’s also quite good sometimes just to rely on the words.

What do you enjoy about being a member of The Daily Haiku group?

Being part of TDH has been a fantastic support in lockdown. I’ve had to stop work four times in the past fifteen months, the first time because my mother died and I had to clear her house (she was a lifelong hoarder) and sell it. I can’t remember exactly when in 2020 I discovered TDH and joined it, but I’m aware that the haiku I’ve written have changed and developed over these months – in part because of reading other people’s work and also the excellent articles linked to the page.

Do you have any comments on the wellbeing aspect of being part of a creative writing group?

I have appreciated the compassionate and supportive attitude of other group members more than I can say. Much of the poetry – including haiku – I’ve written this year has inevitably been about loss. I have always felt quite safe posting them here, and often received kind and thoughtful feedback that has brought tears to my eyes. I have also made friends all over the world – something I was not expecting when I joined!

My favourites of the haiku I’ve written in this past year are these two:

slept with your watch
under my pillow last night
a tiny heartbeat
kingfisher
a blue arrow chases
her reflection
photo by Mario Cea

 

 

 

Overall I have found belonging to TDH a fantastic experience, one which has supported my growth both personally and as a poet. Huge thanks are due to Amanda and the whole group – all 5000 of us!

10 Comments on “Conversation 56: THE DAILY HAIKU INTERVIEWS Penny Lowery”

  1. Really enjoyed reading this interview and finding out a little more about you Penny. What interesting post graduate degree subjects…. and your present profession too.
    I am so glad you chose these two haiku as your favourites as they are (of yours) mine too!

  2. Such an interesting interview, thank you Penny for sharing. I love the watch Haiku! I have my father’s watch, it doesn’t keep time so well now but I wind it up every now and then just to hear it tick.

  3. Lovely to learn a bit more about your life, Penny, though I feel I already know quite a lot! I certainly remembered both of your beautiful haiku, but very much enjoyed reading them again. Like you, I certainly never expected to make real friends, when I joined the group, and definitely count you as one! 😊

  4. That is an incredible journey Penny (rhyme unintended) and so inspiring. Wishing you well in life and looking forward to reading more of your works.

  5. Thanks Penny for sharing how TDH has helped with catharsis of loss. I find the same. I always enjoy your work. Lovely interview.

  6. Penny your approach to haiku resonates with my own, sometimes they just come, sometimes they percolate, other times they vanish or life takes over and I am busied by the day to day. But a daily creative practice has been a real lifeline for me and the connection with the TDH community really has made this brutal and strange time much more bearable. I am so glad that you have found compassion and support here too Penny. Your haiku are tender and touching, beautifully observed and felt, the haiku about your father’s watch beneath your pillow is an image that has really stayed with me. I feel that in facing loss through creativity we can heal but also commemorate in ways that can sometimes feel absent. To know that you feel that you have grown both personally and as a poet is a great joy indeed Penny and exemplifies all I could have hoped for when setting up TDH. As we approach our first birthday I too feel that I have made friends around the world and at a time when we are unable to travel or visit loved ones/friends this has been inspiring and comforting.

  7. I’m a relatively new member of TDH and hadn’t seen your haiku about your father’s watch. It’s so tender and vulnerable, I can’t help but be affected by it. It’s truly beautiful.

  8. Thank you for your insightful interview, Penny. I love finding out a bit more about you. I remember both of your haiku but the one about the watch made an impression on me.
    I am so glad that TDH has helped you survive the pandemic, it has helped me too. I look forward to reading more of your haiku.
    ❤👩‍🦰🧡🦊💛

  9. Hi Penny,
    Thank you for sharing some of your background here and great to get to know you. Really enjoy your beautiful haiku too!

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