Chase Gagnon is a first year HSA member and recipient of one of our membership scholarships, but he is hardly new to haiku. You may have seen him writing years ago under the pseudonym, Chase Fire. Chase has been writing and submitting poetry since he was fifteen years old. A 2014 high school graduate, Chase is currently enrolled at Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan. He discovered poetry as a member of an online site called Yahoo Answers where he posted “frilly rhyming poems, made up of couplets.” Some were quite lengthy, but soon his poems started shortening until one reader commented on how she admired his ability to say so much with so few words. He immediately thought of haiku and has never looked back. He credits reading haiku journals online as the most helpful to him in learning the craft.
Chase is thankful for Gene Bourne, Helen Buckingham, Collin Barber, Dalton Perry, Terri French and Alan Summers who have become “great friends and mentors” who are honest in offering their critiques of his work.
Chase’s poetry has been published in a host of online journals as well as Frogpond and Modern Haiku. He received Second Place in last year’s Sharpening the Green Pencil Contest, the first contest he had ever entered. Chase has been recognized with Editor’s Choice Awards in Cattails, was a runner-up in Shamrock’s Reader’s Choice Awards in 2013 and has had poems included in The Red Moon Anthology, (2013-2014).
Chase writes to get his feelings out and to gain a better understanding of himself and the world. Inspiration may hit while shooting hoops in the backyard of his Detroit-area home or on the road with his grandma on one of their spur-of-the-moment trips. Notes frequently get jotted on his cell phone, but most of his actual writing occurs at night. During particularly prolific times, he describes himself as practically nocturnal. “At night, I’m more intimate with my thoughts, simply because of that feeling of being alone.”
In addition to haiku, Chase also writes tanka, haibun, tanka-prose, free verse, raps, slam poems, prose poems and rants. His favorite poets are Allen Ginsberg and Jim Morrison (lead singer of The Doors). “The American Night: The Writings of Jim Morrison Volume 2 is one of the best books of poetry I have ever read.” He goes on to say, “I don’t care for his music, though.”
Besides HSA, Chase is a member of the Southeast Michigan Poetry Group, North Carolina Haiku Society, and various other haiku groups on Facebook. He also serves as youth ambassador for The United Haiku and Tanka Society. His chapbook, The Sound of Shadows (Mijikai Press), is available through Amazon. Of HSA, Chase says, “I’m so happy to be a part of this great group of haiku lovers!”
morphine drip . . .
I sing my mother
safe inside a box
the Christmas bulbs
from our shattered family
humid night . . .
a tadpole breaks the surface
of ancient stars