all the words we’ve left
Recently an editor wrote me that he would have selected the above haiku for his journal . . . but, looking back, he discovered that he had printed a very similar-seeming haiku several years before. One of the (many) challenges of writing haiku has to do with the fact that it is only three lines long and, when combined with common kigos (i.e., “blue moon”), there is often overlap between writers of haiku. Thus . . . déjà-ku–a term the editor credited to the highly respected haiku poet Michael Dylan Welch. I’ve noticed this phenomenon before, especially when submitting haiku to kukai contests where many writers are given one phrase or theme as a prompt to come up with something original. Not an easy task.
It is a little frustrating to be told that your poem would have been selected if only it didn’t sound so familiar. But the lesson . . . and challenge . . . for me is to try to write in a more original way while respecting the form. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?