The protagonist of this week’s Spotlight is Andrea Cecon: prolific poet, vice president of the Italian Haiku Association and author of the 1st and 100th assignments of the Haiku challenge (which you’ll find below), Andrea offers his views on creativity, the power of traveling and the uniqueness of haiku poetry.
It happened by chance a dozen years ago, at a friend’s house. He showed me a kind of paper disk that, by moving it through the fingers, allowed to make small poems. I found this very funny. Then I discovered by reading the game’s instructions that these compositions were called haiku. At that time I remembered having read about them in a book at my former girlfriend’s house, years earlier. This fascinated me so much that I began a frantic research in my city’s bookstores and then online. The thing that struck me the most and still fascinates me, is the extreme simplicity of the poetic message that these compositions convey. I think this is its most distinguishing feature. It’s also interesting to note that I had never come close to poetry so much before then.
In your collections of haiku and haibun the theme of the journey appears frequently: do you think that traveling can be a source of inspiration for a writer, or more in general for an artist? What does travel mean to you?
Let me start by saying that for the last couple of years I haven’t made significant trips, but perhaps more than the trip itself, is what remains of the experience of the trip that has a greater importance. Let me explain: if during my travels I happened to write about something that struck me deeply, it was only by elaborating it once back home that my work has found a definite shape. I happened to write haiku or draft a haibun on the road and consider them as completed right away, but those were rare exceptions. At this point I think I can say that the journey for me, in addition to the encounter with a reality different from the usual, is almost always a meeting with myself. I think that to try such experience can be a real source of inspiration for an artist.
The Haiku challenge run by Naviar invites musicians from around the world to make music in response to a haiku in just one week: the idea is to make use of features typical of this poetic form, such as immediacy, simplicity and intuition, to make music. How’s your approach to writing a new poem?
Over the years I have experimented with many different approaches, to the point that even today I can’t tell which one is the best for me! I was greatly influenced by meeting foreign authors during some of my travels, as well as by numerous readings and information found online. The continuous research for expression is certainly a factor to be considered when talking about my haiku. To insert new elements into my compositions is becoming a real challenge for me. In recent years I have greatly reduced my activity as a writer, as I’m no longer able to satisfy this aspect of my creativity. I consider directness and simplicity as only a part, although undoubtedly important, of a composition.
What advice would you give to those who want to start writing haiku?
To study without excess this form of poetry, to read many haiku by different authors (both classic and modern) and to have the courage to “dare.”
Where can we find your collection? Do you have any upcoming publications?
On Amazon you can find my e-books in English and Italian, although lately I have partially reduced my presence on this platform. E-books have definitely given me a lot in terms of experience, but now I feel a strong need to publish on paper. Between the end of this year and the beginning of the next, my first collection of haibun on paper in Italian entitled “Postcards from Kiev” will be published by Edizioni Progetto-Cultura di Roma. The title of the collection is taken from one of my haibun to which I’m most fond of: I must admit I’m very curious to see the result.