Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

Hello all

As part of this weeks projecteducate, we have interviewed two members whose work is almost entirely focussed on fixed form poetry- and in this instance Eastern Poetry. 

In my early deviantART days, Eastern poetry writing went through a popular phase. There were regular HaikuWriMo months, challenges and clubs; some of which still continue in their own ways. Two members who have continued that popularity and developed their skills in these forums are Jade-Pandora and moyanII- both owners of a huge collection of Eastern poetry, DD's and beautiful creative writing. Both these delightful deviants have taken the time to share their experiences in this interview.

Jade-Pandora was born in Los Angeles, California. She started writing seriously in 2001, joined deviantArt in 2003, and in 2007 discovered dA’s literature community when she stumbled into the HaikuWriMo of October 2007. Her fascination with Haiku drew her to participate, picking up on the principles and history of the style before the end of the month, thanks to the influence of other participants. She studied over two months exclusively and found her entire way of writing forever changed. Jade's free verse long poetry even showed the brevity and focus of what she had learned and she gradually got accepted in various publications, and entered the 2010 Polished Poetry Competition. She placed 2nd, with one of her entries, “Epoch” published in the Verandah 25 anniversary issue of Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, receiving the University's Matthew Rocca Poetry Award for 2010. Since then, she continues to write and be published.

White blossoms
shirobana de futobara ibaru onigokko
Flaunting his fat flank 'mongst the white blossoms-
Punggol Park - A Haiku Excursion
basutei de fantomu no uta kuroi kumo
Phantom's song at the bus stop-
dark clouds
shougatsu no mikka no sono ame komori
Third day of the first month
in a garden,
trapped by the rain.
sazanami ya ike no mawari ni ashi shigeru
water ripples,
all around the pond reeds proliferate.
itozame ni joggingu no hitori kana
among the threads of rain,
all alone.
echi di bi no sobyou to mimi ni emu pi suri
sketch of the HDB apartments
and ears full of MP3

moyanII Peng is Chinese, who had been reading and writing in Chinese language all her life. She used to believe she couldn't  write poetry despite reading plenty of the Chinese classics, (so much of them she is now a self confessed "nerd" with all those verses and songs!). Moyanii also studies Japanese language together with apprenticeship in haiku-writing is a long-standing hobby. Her other love for art has helped create a visual fusion of her work, with the words and image combining together as one piece.

 What originally pulled you into writing Eastern Poetry?

Jade-PandoraI remember how I loved the way so much imagery was possible in so few words.  I didn't get serious in the form until I came upon the month-long challenge of HaikuWriMo on dA.  I knew very little, but was excited to join in, even though it was already twelve days into the challenge.  I was accepted, and learned quickly.

moyanII: I am essentially a painter and a very visual person. I started writing Japanese haiku when I got into deviantART's literature community. There are active haijin (for example, MSJames) who encouraged me to do haiku seriously. I was still hesitant when I opened an haiku account, but I soon found this branch of poetry suits me well. It is visual and it is short. Its rigidity of forms and content requirement fits my training as a student of Chinese classic literature. I learnt Japanese as a foreign language for years. Chinese is my mother tongue but I hardly write any Chinese poetry. maybe i should try those too, someday.

What keeps you motivated to keep writing this form?

Jade-Pandora: Even the great masters knew that one never stops learning if one realizes the lessons of short forms are always filled with new ways to approach traditional views.  I enjoy finding out what I observe and how my very being is affected, through my humblest faith of words.  Besides, once in a while I find myself saying things in more beautiful ways because of the simplicity, than I ever wrote before.

moyanII: I get better as I write more; I appreciate the art form more than before and my poetry also gets more appreciative readers.

Why eastern over western?

Jade-Pandora: Because I was never formally schooled, my version of long free and fixed form poetry was wordy, and filled with punctuation.  When I discovered how to write Eastern forms, I caught on to how these little gems could help me express with a freedom I didn't think possible when it came to the discipline of brevity:  portraying a moment, and saying it with concision.  Once I realized what it sounded like in my head, I had an “ah ha” moment that resounded without letting up for several years.  That is what eastern provided me with; allowing me to meld both whenever I wanted to write long free verse.

moyanII: I almost don't know anything about western poetry, so I guess I have no choice. 

Haiku of Meeting by Jade-Pandora Between the Forest and the River II by moyanII

What is your favourite Eastern form to write and why?

Jade-Pandora: Once I was told about Tanka, I took to it like a fish to water; with a natural feel for the form that I’ve continued to enjoy to this day.  While it was good to cut my teeth on Haiku, it meant that my introduction to Tanka was like being allowed to burst forth into the air as if on wings, with much more freedom to express.  Of course, I would come back to Haiku (and later, Senryu, and other forms) to make sure I was still in touch with the original principles, but always being what I’ve been since I first composed short form:  a modern Haijin.  

moyanII I mostly write haiku. Haiku's "hai", means humour, it fits my personality well. I am someone to who likes to see sense and cheer in sombre and bad circumstances, as an after-thought especially.

Which Eastern writers do you enjoy reading?

Jade-Pandora: I started my earnest exposure to Haiku and Tanka through the masters, primarily Basho Matsuo, Buson Yosa, and Issa Kobayashi.  It is best to know from where the forms originated and grew from there.  Even in the lifetime of the masters, they were at the forefront, creating change in the very traditions they had set forth.  I do, however, have my favourites who are all contemporary women of the Eastern forms:  Masajo Suzuki, Akiko Yosano, Takako Hashimoto, Sonia Sanchez.

moyanII: I love most of the ancient Chinese writers who wrote those famous lines in the classic of the classics. Li Bai, Su Dong Po, Du Fu, Li Qing Zhao, to name a few. For Japanese haiku I like Yosa Buson best, because he was a painter too. and Kobayashi Issa, his humor is unforgettable.

Are there any writers on deviantART whose eastern work you enjoy reading?

Jade-PandoraI knew of others but, over the years, many are now gone or inactive.  Those who I have known who are still here and post now and then, are: moyanIIBogbrush, RetroZombie, somnomollior  

moyanII: Certainly, my haiku sensei, siragiku. he's the one important person that has helped me with this whole haiku training. I will recommend Bogbrush's nonchalant and carefree haiku and, cmrlj's serious, scholarly verses. I did a few  collaborations with cmrlj for haiku zines.

snow in singapore by moyanII Between the Forest and the River II by moyanII

We'll likely do one more this year for summer.

Haiku 81さざんかや二人夜明けに飲む紅茶  白菊:thumb331525908:

Which pieces of your work have a personal significance to you?

Jade-Pandora:   Haikuthon July 1-31, 2009
1 tanka
the hope of
summer rain vanishes
a neighbor's dog
to water the roses
2 haiku
heat wave chasing
all the birds and blues
from the sky
3 tanka
a cloud of gnats
a child's sno-cone
the petting zoo
4 haiku/senryu
old mission archway
black birds napping
in ascending order
5 tanka
lunch at the beach,
businessmen strip
and wade into
6 haiku
looking out to sea
the sky  walks  a fine line
7 haiku renga
air ballet
on the breakwater...
fishermen and gulls
under the pier
bait in a plastic pail
holding their breath
8 haiku/senryu
still seeking shade,
mating crabs in the shallows
9 haiku
the tang of sea air,
rot of a morning's catch
in my nostrils
10 tanka
the old sea dog
with his mutt
scans the boardwalk
for smokes
at crack of dawn
11 haiku/senryu
jellyfish in the
seaweed washing ashore
12 senryu
beyond the breakers,
shaved heads
and a buoy bobbing
13 haiku
evening star
white-finned boats
sailing into dusk
14 senryu
  Living the Everyday Haiku
climbing the first vertical
it comes to—
a snail on my shoe
leaves falling everywhere
I look, how easy it is
to let them go
I marvel at every
rose bush petal
holding fast in the wind
seed packets in a drawer—
dormant dreams of an herbal garden
come spring
sharp-edged clouds
cutting the moon in half
but not the piercing wind
still in bed—
winter scrubbing the remains
of autumn from the trees
7 (seen on local news today)
king tides—
waves scattering cliff side
spectators with sea foam and awe
how cold the night—
no sound of cricket or bird
yet his breath in slumber
late morning
pulling taut the bed sheet,
outline of my tortoiseshell comb
lace curtain patterns
from a kitchen breeze
fill the empty fruit bowl
chopping winter vegetables
for stew—
my thoughts of summer plums
reflection of my rouged lips
on the window sill
through a water glass
jelly-making day—
pomegranate halves, red
on half-read newspaper
  haiku of autumn
leaves    whispering
their death poems
                          to me
moon haiku by Jade-Pandora

moyanII Ink Fragrance by moyanII

This zine "Ink Fragrance" documented my progress a haijin: the mistakes I made and the lessons I learnt from my sensei siragiku, who patiently commented on my every piece. Also, it exemplifies the fact that I am a painter and shows the images I have in my mind when I write my haiku.

Have you ever had your Eastern works published? If so where and how have you found that experience?

Jade-Pandora: Yes, I have, and the experience is always special and yet bewildering at times.  Why bewildering?  Because it was a relatively short time after I started writing Haiku and Eastern forms when I began to submit them to editors rather sparingly, and was getting accepted much sooner than I had ever hoped.  Along with a number of ezines both on dA and outside, the physical publications include:

Modern English Tanka, Vol 3, No 4 – Summer 2009
By Denis M. Garrison & Michael McClintock, Editors

Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka, Vol 2
by M. Kei, et al., Editors (2010)

Atlas Poetica 8: A Journal of Poetry of Place in Contemporary Tanka
by M. Kei (2011)

moyanII: I have not actively saught to publish my haiku or eastern poetry, but i did enter once to the 2009 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (if that is counted as a published work). I received an honorable mention for this verse:

ochikaeru deai to wakare hana no shita.
Again and again we meet and part under the sakura blossoms.

That was a pleasant surprise! I did not expect my work to be noticed among more than 1400 entries from all over the world.

What advice would you give to those new writers who have an interest in Eastern poetry?

Jade-Pandora: For me, it was surrounding myself with those who knew much more than myself – which was just about everything when it came to Eastern forms.  Observing their works, collecting assorted books on Eastern forms for references, and on the collections of individual writers of the forms, such as the writers I mentioned who’s books I enjoy reading.  It is good to explore the works of both ancient and modern writers.  Learn too that with Eastern form written in English and other languages outside of Japanese, the principles are basic and the same, but trying to keep to the 5-7-5 rule does not apply.  Learn the traditions however before branching out into the modern so that you always know the foundation from which to build upon.  It takes one a lifetime and still not master the forms.  As with any other form of artistic expression, when one feels there is nothing more to learn, one stops growing. The path is a humble journey which will help open your mind and eyes to more than its limitations (many beginners quickly start to feel there is nothing to write about in new and fresh ways with such restricted verse).  It reveals the boundless realities always within reach simply by being aware.

moyanII: It is definitely a plus to know the language when one learns to do eastern poetry. the gist and flavor of so many wonderful haiku and poems of the old masters are lost in translations. If learning the new language is impossible, then at least be familiar with the culture to understand the form. Haiku is not about counting syllables; the techniques and restrictions of haiku writing is much more than that. Without syllables' count, writing haiku is still very restrictive with many other requirements. those are the essence and beauty of haiku.

Thank you both for taking the time to share your experiences! :heart:

An interview with `jade-pandora and *moyanII on eastern poetry!
Add a Comment:
Itti Featured By Owner May 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Glad you did this one - I was keen to read it :)
TristanCody Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2013  Student Writer
The fact is that these two wonderful people just blew my mind. I have much respect for both of you. :nod:
BeccaJS Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013   Writer
They're pretty awesome like that :D
spoems Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013   Writer
BeccaJS Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013   Writer
AyeAye12 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013  Student Writer
Pretty fascinating. This makes me want to try and make some haiku's and learn more about Eastern poetic forms =O
BeccaJS Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013   Writer
Now is a great time to start :D
Daghrgenzeen Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Very informative and inspiring. :love:
BeccaJS Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013   Writer
I know! What I like is how different their experiences are yet in some ways so similar!
Daghrgenzeen Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah! :D
Exnihilo-nihil Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013  Professional Writer
BeccaJS Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013   Writer
Jade-Pandora Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013
I'm terribly honoured to be one of the two chosen as spokes-persons/members to represent Haiku & Eastern Poetry. Both Peng & myself managed a kind of balance even though our experiences have been so varied -- we still had many comments that paralleled each other almost perfectly. I think my fellow writer (and accomplished artist - as is what I too started out to be) did beautifully for this, her first interview! :heart:
BeccaJS Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013   Writer
Again thank you for taking part in this!

I didn't know it was Pengs first interview :o
Jade-Pandora Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013
mmhmm, and she was perfect
moyanII Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you, becca. :hug:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2013  Professional Writer
Two of the best. :meditation:
BeccaJS Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013   Writer
Parsat Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2013   Writer
An excellent interview! I would like to ask *moyanII a few questions of my own:

1. To what extent does Chinese literature influence your own haiku?
2. What are some similarities and differences do you see between Chinese and Japanese poetry? Is it possible to categorize them into an "Eastern" category, or are they too different for that?
moyanII Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
sorry my reply is much delayed, for these are not easy questions to answer. :)

1. i have never thought of the influence of chinese literature on my haiku before you asked.
certainly, since i have read so much chinese classics there should be enough to matter. however, because lately my hobby time is mostly spent on painting and haiku-writing is a recent thing in my life, my haiku is much more affected by visual art than by chinese literature.

2. the chinese and japanese poetry are very emotionally connected to the changes in seasons and nature and they both have rigid rules for the poetic forms.
one of the differences in the rule i notice is that chinese poems are much more stricter in rhythm and rhymes. chinese language sounds like a song even when plainly spoken, you can imagine how much more they ask for when presented as poems or songs.
the japanese poems on the other hand placed big emphasis on kigo (seasonal symbols). that is, you must make the sensation/feeling of the time of the year apparent in the poem to be fittingly called a haiku, for example.

also, probably due to china having a much longer history than japan, we can read chinese poems from many commoners. literature is not restricted to the aristocratic class.
but most of the famous poets for japanese classics are written by members of royal families, court officials or revered monks. commoners' poem is not so common. though i am not saying there wasn't any.

the category of 'eastern' poetry will do if we are talking about geographical location. of course, if we can be have a separate catergory for chinese poetry apart from the popular 'haiku and other japanese forms', that will be more accurate. after all, they follow different rules and aesthetics.

Parsat Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013   Writer
Thanks for taking the time to answer in such a detailed way! :)
BeccaJS Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013   Writer
Good questions!
rlkirkland Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Ah, two of the most popular voices on the subject to be found on DA; and each with distinct styles.
Very good. :clap::clap::clap:
BeccaJS Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013   Writer
Indeed, there are quite a few voices on this form, but I definitely agree these are two of the best :D
Nichrysalis Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
BeccaJS Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013   Writer
neurotype Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
BeccaJS Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013   Writer
:dance: Dance it baby!
neurotype Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Add a Comment:

:iconbeccajs: More from BeccaJS

Featured in Collections

Favorite News by LadyLincoln

news and tutorials by spoems

Literature News and Journals by HugQueen

More from DeviantArt


Submitted on
March 8, 2013
Submitted with Writer


29 (who?)