Haiku Mind

An Interview With Clark Strand

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Clark Strand is a writer, haiku teacher and poet, and formerly a Zen Buddhist monk and senior editor at Tricycle. His first book, Seeds From a Birch Tree: Writing Haiku and the Spiritual Journey, is due out in July from Hyperion. He recently spoke with Tricycle about haiku, writing, and meditation.


Clark StrandWhat relationship have you discovered between haiku and meditation? A certain kind of hokum accompanies much of haiku today. People imagine it to be something other than it is in spiritual terms. But haiku is very, very simple. In the same way that you make yourself very simple by following the breath. You clear your mind, let go of everything else. In the same way, writing haiku takes you right to the heart of the moment. That’s the Zen of haiku, really. Being able to let go of everything and enter into this space. Haiku is seventeen syllables long, so it seems very small.

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