Carlos Colón is the author of 12 chapbooks including Mountain Climbing and Clocking Out, two collections of haiku and concrete poetry; Sassy, a collection of linked poems written with Alexis Rotella, and Circling Bats and Wall Street Park, two books of concrete renku written with Raffael de Gruttola. His work has appeared in a variety of publications including The Red Moon Anthology, Modern Haiku, Journal of Poetry Therapy, Writer’s Digest, and Louisiana Literature. His poetry has also been part of three public art projects: the “Let the Good Times Roll” mural in Shreveport’s Festival Plaza, "Highway Haiku," and a renku display outside of a temple on Sado Island in Japan. In addition, Colón edited Voices and Echoes, the 2001 Haiku Society of America Members' Anthology and was editor of Shreve Memorial Library=s Electronic Poetry Network from 1997 to 2011.
How long have you been interested in haiku poetry (or your special focus of haiku) and what got you started?
I was taught haiku in the 7th grade (5-7-5 of course) and dabbled a tiny bit in college, but I started writing them earnestly in 1990 when I was focused on getting my poetry published. I had written a number of concrete poems, including an internal-rhyme poem in the shape of a turkey, so I figured it would be easy to squeeze my thoughts into a 5-7-5 framework. It didn’t take long for me to appreciate the looser structure of contemporary English-Language haiku, though.
Have you ever been to HNA before?
Yes, I was invited to present at HNA 1997 in Portland. Within minutes of registering at the hotel, I had met Francine Porad, former HSA President, and George Swede, current Frogpond editor. The whole conference was exciting and invigorating, and I have been to every one since, except for the 2009 conference, which I could not attend because of illness.
Have you ever been to Seattle?
Just a short time when I was traveling through on the way to HNA in Port Townsend.
Port Townsend is wonderful! We're glad you're coming back to the Pacific Northwest. What are you most looking forward to at this year's HNA?
See all my friends from around the world and meeting new friends as well.
Are you presenting a program at the conference?
Yes, a program exploring the historical connection between concrete poetry and haiku. I will be examining the work of E.E. Cummings, bpNichol, Nick Avis, LeRoy Gorman, Marshall Hryciuk, Raffael de Gruttola, and Marlene Mountain as well as my own.
What are your favorite experiences at an HNA conference?
I have so many fond memories of HNA. Here are a few:
Performing an impromptu haiku/jazz duet with Johnette Downing
Staying up until 4:00 in the morning listening to an argument between Michael Welch and Al Pizzarelli about the necessity of incorporating absolute truth into haiku and senryu
Sharing a Black and Tan with Roberta Beary, Ellen Compton, Brian Tasker, (possibly) Dietmar Tauchner, and a few others
Having the opportunity to meet Bob Spiess and Jerry Kilbride
Thanks to Mr. Colón for participating in this blog interview! Check out his website! By Clicking Here