Michael Henry Lee lives in the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine Florida, with Sarah, his loving wife of over thirty years, a wonderful rescue cat named Bob, and numerous bonsai trees. His interest in haiku was spawned back in a mid-western grade school at a time when most Americans understood haiku to be a Japanese style poem, three lines long, with a strict adherence to a 5/7/5 English language syllable count.
After scholastic publication in grade school, high school, and college, a seed had taken root. Lee continued writing off and on, but it wasn’t until some fifty years later that a co-worker inspired him to take a much more disciplined approach to his writing.
“About six years ago I began to immerse myself in haiku. The Internet is a vast reservoir of publications, forums, and interactive opportunities capable of growing your appreciation, and creative skills. I began a voracious consumption of haiku and essays related to the genre, writing daily on what I saw and felt — the natural world, politics, just about anything. For me haiku is a distillation of images, emotions, and words. Producing a good poem requires a stillness of mind and a keen awareness of the world, our relationship to it, and to each other. I suppose for me, good haiku poems paint pictures; great ones paint emotions. That would be my goal: painting emotions with invisible paint.”
Samples of Michael Henry’s haiku include these two, which both received commendations from the Haiku Now Awards, 2014.
hearing the ocean
in a paper cup
the river goes
where the river will
a little steam rises
from the pitcher plant