Meet Joseph P. Wechselberger
A very warm welcome from the whiptail Team. Tell us a little about yourself-your family, your hobbies, your dreams, or anything else you want readers to know about you, apart from being a haiku poet.
Thank you, Ms. Parashar.
I live in Browns Mills, NJ, and have been retired since March 2007. I worked for the United States Federal Government for 28 years and then for a private health care foundation for another 11-and-a-half years. I enjoy genealogy and have done several family trees, for myself and friends. My favorite author is Agatha Christie. Mysteries are my favorite genre. I have all her books and plays, and DVDs of all movies made from her stories.
What is something that people don't know about your poetry or poetry practice, process, or inspiration that you'd like to share?
I write every day. I always have a pad and pen nearby to jot thoughts and lines that come to me until they form a ku. I then transcribe them into Word and maintain electronic files of all my work, good or not, for future reference and editing. I also electronically keep track of all published poems in chronological order, noting the journal/blog/anthology, and issue/date.
What made you decide to try out haiku and/or tanka in one line versus their more popular enjambed formats? How does it feel different to you?
I was drawn to the monoku from reading poems by Marlene Mountain, Jim Kacian, and others. I find the form more freeing and organic than the enjambed versions. Monoku need to flow, to breathe, to develop like a current of air without the barrier of line breaks.
Many poets still struggle with the dilemma of whether a particular poem will work better as a one-line poem than the enjambed form and vice-versa. What is the deciding factor in your practice?
In my case, I allow the poems to decide for themselves. For example, this poem of mine was published in Bones, Issue 23:
ongoing commentary from the parrot snow
One-line allows the poem to mimic the parrot's continuous talking and squawking while snow falls outside. Line breaks in this instance would be awkward and create a stop and start that would make it jerky. My advice is, if you are not sure, try writing your poem as one, two or three lines and see which form has the best rhythm and flow, and provides the best effect.
It would be a great help to our readers if you could walk us through your writing process from conception to the eventual birth of a one-line poem. You are most welcome to take a one-line poem or two of yours to discuss, regarding how it came to be and/or process.
During Covid shutdown there came to be a reliance on virtual meetings and calls. I saw a commercial where a man was in a Zoom meeting and was getting himself some coffee when he realized in an oops moment that the others on the call could see he wasn't wearing trousers. This inspired me to write the following, which was published in Failed Haiku, Issue 65:
zoom meeting his unmade bed
I also gain inspiration from nature, memories, internet articles, photographs, essays, and reading others' works and points of view. The latter help me to expand how I see the world and express that in my poems.
Do you have any tips for aspiring poets of one-line forms?
Write daily, and Read, Read, Read. Read online and print journals like whiptail, Prune Juice, Kingfisher, Failed Haiku, Cold Moon Journal, Modern Haiku, and others; read essays and articles on the subject; and read the Red Moon anthologies, which include great examples of one-liners. Alan Summers did a wonderful article Travelling the single line of haiku / monoku / monotich on his Area 17 blogspot that may be read here.
I also find the works of the late Marlene Mountain to be helpful for any aspiring poet of one-line forms. Ms. Mountain was a groundbreaking poet who worked extensively with one-line arrangements. Here is the link to her website which contains a library of her poems and essays.
Joseph P. Wechselberger (he, him, his) lives in Browns Mills, NJ, USA. He is a member of the Haiku Society of America and began writing haiku and senryu in 2018. His work has been nominated for the 2021 and 2022 Touchstone Award for Individual Poems, and has been published in Acorn; Akitsu Quarterly; Blōō Outlier Journal; Bones; cattails; Charlotte Digregorios's Writer's Blog Daily Haiku; Cold Moon Journal; Failed Haiku; Five Fleas; Frogpond; Golden Triangle Haiku Contest 2022; Haiku Canada Review; The Haiku Poets of the Garden State New Jersey Botanical Garden Sign Project April 2022; Hedgerow; The Heron's Nest; Kingfisher; MahMight haiku journal; The Mainichi Haiku in English; Modern Haiku; Poetry Pea Journal of Haiku & Senryu; Presence; Prune Juice; Scarlet Dragonfly Journal; seashores; Shamrock Haiku Journal; Stardust; Time Haiku; tsuri-dōrō; ubu; Under the Basho; whiptail; Sucking Mangoes Naked: Erotic Haiku and Related Forms; Haiku 2022; and jar of rain: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2020.
11/16/2022 09:36:33 am
A very nice read, Joseph. Thank you for sharing your profound thoughts and examples. I am a great fan of Agatha Christie too :)
11/16/2022 10:53:31 am
Thank you, Richa.
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