Barking Mad Questionnaire
by Corine Timmer
In 2018 the following poem of mine appeared in Corine Timmer’s anthology of dog haiku, Barking Mad, for which I also provided a back-cover blurb. Corine posted the following interview with me on her Barking Mad Facebook page on 31 January 2019. The concluding poem is not necessarily my favourite dog haiku, but one Corine chose from several I offered.
we take the old dog’s route
. . . summer rain
Corine prefaced her posting of this interview with the following comments: “Today I share another interview with a Barking Mad Haiku contributor. Michael Dylan Welch is a poet and editor who lives near Seattle, Washington. He grew up in England (where he’s from), Ghana, Australia, and Canada. His poems have been published in more than twenty languages in hundreds of journals and anthologies (including three Norton anthologies). Michael is also the founder of National Haiku Writing Month. I landed on the NaHaiWriMo Facebook page in 2016, by chance, and it catapulted me into the haiku world. I take this opportunity to thank Michael for all that he does for the haiku community and for writing the blurb for Barking Mad Haiku.” See also “What Is Haiku?”
How and when did you start writing haiku?
I first learned of haiku in a high school English class in 1976. I had already been attracted to short poetry, so when I discovered haiku, I was immediately attracted to it. I wrote it very badly, though regularly, for at least a dozen years, but slowly began to encounter a wider range of haiku in translation and in English and learned that it was not just about counting syllables.
How has haiku enhanced your life?
Haiku has helped to make me more deeply aware of everyday experiences in life, to pay more attention, and to enjoy and celebrate everything that life has to offer.
There is variation in the nature of owner-dog relationships. What do dogs mean to you?
I’ve never had a dog, since I’m allergic, but I admire how deeply connected many people are to their canine companions. My wife and kids would love to have a dog!
Do you prefer mixed-breed or pedigree dogs?
How do people relate to dogs where you live?
They’re a common, ordinary, and respected part of urban life where I live. I don’t know of our region having any feral or wild dogs.
What is the most amazing thing you have ever seen a dog do?
I have relatively little personal experience with dogs, since I’m allergic, and their behaviors all seem ordinary to me. Maybe that’s remarkable enough—that dogs can be such reliable everyday companions for so many people. As with haiku, the ordinary can be extraordinary.
Your favorite dog haiku?
fading sun at low tide—
in an old frisbee