Haiku Society of America - haiku column 32

Haiku Society of America

.haiku column

Gene MyersThe Haiku Society of America is pleased to host this ongoing column.

.Haiku: a place to share tools available to haiku writers and fellow haiku fans (like how to use Twitter, Facebook and Scribd for building community, self-publishing and marketing). The column will also feature interviews, blog spotlights and occasional multimedia presentations.

Gene Myers

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.haiku column 32

.haiku column number 32 • 1-6-2016

by Gene Myers <poetgene@gmail.com>

Making an altar out of your desk

The piece of furniture that I treasure the most is my desk. It is a huge, wooden L-shape that sits nicely in a corner.

In Barbara Ann Kipfer's book, "A Field Guide to Happiness," she recommends "creating an altar" of your desk.

On my desk I have a piece of metal that is twisted into the shape of a frog playing the banjo, a Japanese fisherman figurine, a model ship, two Buddhas, two miniature pewter Hindu gods, and a Jesus statue.

Even though a spiritual motif spans across my desk, the altar Kipfer encourages readers to build is not a religious altar. It should just be something that will cheer you up, she says. But I would go a step further and add that it should inspire your art—even if that isn't always a cheery thing. Happiness was the focus of her book. It may not be your focus as a poet.

"Altar is just one word for a collection of family photos, trinkets and a vase of flowers," she writes. "The idea is that the place where you work, or wherever you spend a lot of time, should be cheery and inspirational."

To that end, she suggests that the items on your altar be linked to memories, beliefs or goals. The important thing is to pick items deliberately. Consider what each one means to you.


The frog sculpture on my desk brings folk musicians like Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie to my mind—minstrels who preserved stories of early modern America.

The fisherman and ship are on my desk because of my love of the sea. A ship on the horizon always sets my imagination adrift. The religious items illustrate the variety of ways in which people reach out of themselves to connect to their surroundings.

Tailoring your desk to your desires might mean setting up family photos to help you appreciate your life. I like to pile books that are currently fueling my imagination on my desk. Currently, Roberta Beary's "The Unworn Necklace," Mark Strand's "Blizzard of One" and C.K. Williams' "Repair" are in my face. These help me focus. Sometimes, the books I pile serve as mile markers for my muse.

But as Kipfer points out, altars don't need to reflect a grand scheme.

"What makes your collection an altar is your intention, which can be as simple as your desire to return to the present moment and be aware of it each time you see your special collection."

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Is there something you would like to see in a column? Email me at <poetgene@gmail.com>.

• .haiku column number 32 • 1-6-2016 •

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The Haiku Society of America web site featured a Haiku Column written by Gene Myers. Here is the archive of his columns written from 2010-2017

.haiku column number 37 by Gene Myers • 6/1/17

.haiku column number 36 by Gene Myers • 3/7/17

.haiku column number 35 by Gene Myers • 6/20/16

.haiku column number 34 by Gene Myers • 3/21/16

.haiku column number 33 by Gene Myers • 2/10/16

.haiku column number 32 by Gene Myers • 1/6/16

.haiku column number 31 by Gene Myers • 10/29/15

.haiku column number 30 by Gene Myers • 7/9/15

.haiku column number 29 by Gene Myers • 3/23/15

.haiku column number 28 by Gene Myers • 1/15/15

.haiku column number 27 by Gene Myers • 9/26/14

.haiku column number 26 by Gene Myers • 7/14/14

.haiku column number 25 by Gene Myers • 4/14/14

.haiku column number 24 by Gene Myers • 2/10/14

.haiku column number 23 by Gene Myers • 1/2/14

.haiku column number 22 by Gene Myers • 10/7/13

.haiku column number 21 by Gene Myers • 8/25/13

.haiku column number 20 by Gene Myers • 6/30/13

.haiku column number 19 by Gene Myers • 5/18/13

.haiku column number 18 by Gene Myers • 4/7/13

.haiku column number 17 by Gene Myers • 3/10/13

.haiku column number 16 by Gene Myers • 2/9/13

.haiku column number 15 by Gene Myers • 1/2/13

.haiku column number 14 by Gene Myers • 11/18/12

.haiku column number 13 by Gene Myers • 10/11/12

.haiku column number 12 by Gene Myers • 9/27/12

.haiku column number 11 by Gene Myers • 8/26/12

.haiku column number 10 by Gene Myers • 7/19/12

.haiku column number 9 by Gene Myers • 6/17/12

.haiku column number 8 by Gene Myers • 5/19/12

.haiku column number 7 by Gene Myers • 4/16/12

.haiku column number 6 by Gene Myers • 3/16/12

.haiku column number 5 by Gene Myers • 2/12/12

.haiku column number 4 by Gene Myers • 1/23/12

.haiku column number 3 by Gene Myers • 10/17/11

.haiku column number 2 by Gene Myers • 9/12/11

.haiku column number 1 by d. f. tweney • 10/6/10

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