Paul, Amita. “The Daily Haiku: India.”
Transnational Literature. Vol 13, Oct 2021
Special Edition: Follow the Sun

The Daily Haiku: India
Amita Paul

I am a retired civil servant and poet from Punjab in India, currently living in Bihar where I have worked for 40 years. I have been a student and teacher of literature as well, like both my parents before me. I have had the opportunity to travel, study and live in countries other than my own, which has shaped my worldview and literary sensibilities.

I began writing poetry at school when I was 13 in the four languages I was familiar with: English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. I have written poetry, prose and fiction all my life but never published anything except on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I became part of quite a few writers’ groups on Facebook and created several pages of my own writing. More than 1000 people follow my pages and I’ve had a lot of encouragement and even two prestigious, international awards from one of the groups for poetry and nonfiction, in 2019 and 2020. This recognition and appreciation has been very heartening and rewarding for me.

I came across the haiku form of poetry over 45 years ago as a poet and student of literature. It appealed to me due to its brevity and focused nature. I found that it helped to centre my thoughts, which helped me to move into meditation, or work or writing, with greater ease. I often turn to reading or writing haiku when I wish to relax, or to prepare myself for writing a longer poem. I also turn to haiku to record something that strikes me in a given moment that I feel I must record for myself more than for others. It’s an impulse similar to taking a snapshot of a sight or incident or thought or mental image, idea or emotion to be turned to later.

I enjoy everything The Daily Haiku involves, from being given themes or prompts for haiku writing, to reading other people’s haiku, and reading their responses to my haiku; from the weekly renga and haiga experiences to the sharing of insights on famous haiku of the past. I love the glimpses people share of their lives, their several worlds, and their myriad personalities through their posts and their comments. I love the sense of camaraderie and feeling of caring and sharing in the group. It’s a warm fuzzy feeling. I also love learning about new forms and techniques. Most of all I value the new insights I get from others’ writing and comments.

My dream of you
And your dream of me
Could never meet

In the trees’ dreams
Migrant birds

Writing haiku without getting too worried about their profundity is a great beginning to creative expression of all sorts. I advise everyone to try it and to keep going back to it. You keep getting better and better at it with time often without even realising it.