The Monthly interviews haiku practitioner, Sherry Grant – Part 3

Part two of this interview is here

We have talked about your commitment to short form poetry and to the various forms you use when you are writing. We have also discussed your structural innovations and the projects you have initiated. Do you have any last thoughts to add?

In 2020 Zoe (my daughter) and I wrote a poetry book together, Bat Girl, which is a book of both short form and longer poems with illustrations by Zoe. Even though Zoe is only 7 years old, she is an award-winning haiku poet with many of her solo haiku and our collaborative rengay published by journals and anthologies around the world (since September 2021). Between April and November 2021 we were very fortunate to have been invited to 6 interviews in 5 countries to talk about our book.

We are each working on our own poetry books (I have written 11 books and Zoe is on her second book), while writing collaboratively with poet friends around the world. I believe we will continue to write poems in the hope that what we do inspires other parents/grandparents to write with their kids/grandkids everywhere. We believe if everyone in the world writes poetry, the world will become a better, calmer and more beautiful place.

I think through collaboration in any art form, we get a better understanding of another human being equally passionate deep down. As an example of a collaborative poem, see below my rengay with Alan Peat (UK) that won the first place at the 2021 Otoroshi Rengay Contest. You can also see how I keep track of poems with an opus number and finish date. I also keep track of all my published poems and translate a lot of them into traditional Chinese for publication.

Departures

a rengay
by Alan Peat (UK) and Sherry Grant (NZ) (Op.2401)
2021-08-28

sudden chill —
a hand
on the bonfire

empty bleach bottles
still this stubborn stain

bagged clothes
dark pools
within

motel room
so many names
on his passports

in a suitcase
bits and pieces

screech owl…
walking on
without a blink

*Otoroshi Journal.  Issue 4. Winter 2021
*WINNER of the Otoroshi Rengay Contest 2021

Going on this poetry writing journey has been a wonderful challenge, and really enjoyable especially as my children can join in and even more inspiring when shared with friends. Zoe and I thank the community of short form poets around the world for being so supportive which makes writing and sharing fun! In the future Zoe and I will organise more rengay gatherings, start our own journal, poetry competition and who knows? Perhaps New Zealand will turn into the hub of poetry!

At the moment I’m the outreach officer for the New Zealand Poetry Society but I also hope to set up a Haiku Society of New Zealand to work together with poets from Australia and NZ and produce similar events to HNA or HSA for our local haiku poets. The HNA conference inspired me to go ahead and organise the first Hindemith and Copland International Music Festival (14-16 November 2021) where I streamed music, documentaries, and 5 interviews I conducted with pupils of these two composers. I hope to host them every two years, like HNA.

In 2022 I’m hosting the Scriabin International Festival (Scriabin 150) online from NZ to celebrate my favourite composer’s big birthday.

Lastly I would like to share Zoe’s first-prize winning haiku at the 2021 NZPS International Haiku Competition (School/Junior Category), which was the very first poem chalked at Chalk on the Walk Haiku and generally praised for its simplicity. It is also included in the 2021 NZPS Anthology.

snowy night
the smell of
hot soup

Zoe Grant (Auckland, NZ)

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