Interview with Haiku Poet, Janine Giske


Over the last couple of years Premier League soccer has taken over my life -- whenever I want to watch the television -- there was always a game streaming from the U.K during ridiculously early hours.  Needless to say, I’ve learned to really appreciate the sport of soccer. Something, I know for a fact that my current interviewee would comprehend -- as I know she is OBSESSED with soccer.  Janine Giske is a Haiku scribing woman who always seeks to reveal the truth no matter how painful.  When a writer bleeds their letters and syntax on a page for better or worse, they are sharing who they are or what they desire to be. And, Janine has proven to be a prolific poet especially when she writes about those, she relishes most.  For more information on Janine please follow her on Instagram @josameys.words .

RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked?  If yes, how did you overcome it? 

JG: Up until recently, I had only had one instance of "writer's block," and it simply disappeared as quickly as it came.  However, since my Mother's passing in March, I have barely written anything outside of 3-line Haikus and even those feel forced at times.  I am hoping that it was just the stress and surprise of her loss along with the tensions of tax season that brought it on.  Now that life is slowing down a bit, I am getting back to "me" with walking, running, and down time.  I am hoping that these mechanisms for release will ease my mind and allow my words to flow freely again.

RMMW: We all have an inner critic; how do you contend with yours?

JG: Hmmmmm, my inner critic is concentrated mostly on anything I've done wrong in life or feel guilty about, which actually enhances my writing, because most of my writing is based on truths.  When it comes to criticizing my writing itself, there really isn't much of that going on.  If I don't like something, I scratch it, but don't beat myself up over it.  However, there are not many pieces that I have written that I haven't posted, so that says something about how non-critical I am of my writing.

RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?

JG: Before I write, I pull out two journals - my current "regular" writing journal and one centered around my son.  I then look at any writing prompts I am currently working with to see if anything sparks my words.  From there, I really just write what's running through my head - sometimes at warp speed and sometimes at a snail's pace.

RMMW: Do you feel social media helps or hinders writers?

JG: Tough question, because as much as I am happy with "likes" and comments on my writing, I write for me.  I post my writing because of course, we all like the "back pats" that come along with the likes and comments, but more so because as I said earlier, I write mostly in truths, so if any of what I write can speak to or help someone, then I feel accomplished.  For this reason, I do believe it helps because if we get that feeling of accomplishment, it makes us want to write more.  But it also hinders because there are some really ugly people and writers out there who just want to bash others for what or how they write.  This is a concept I don't understand.  If you don't like what you see, skip it or ignore it - or better yet, unfollow the writer.  I honestly don't think these writers who bash hurt the ones they speak of (most of them are too big and don't care), but it makes the smaller writer think twice about what they are writing, and I think that's unfair to them.

RMMW: What do you feel good poetry ought to do?

JG: I don't like to use the term "good poetry" because, as in almost everything in life, "good" is subjective - what is good to me might be trash to someone else and vice versa. I truly feel if you have written something from your heart or soul, that is good poetry.  Therefore, it doesn't need to be anything but what it is, and it does not need to do anything but feel right to the person who wrote it.  If others relate, that is a double bonus.

RMMW: What is your favourite poem written by you?

JG: Wow.  Now you're asking the hard questions. Currently sitting beside me on my nightstand, plus 2 on my bed, are 10 journals filled with words.  Pieces about myself ring true and I love that I was able to put them out there for the world (or, at least my little corner of Lettrs and Instagram) to see.  I also love my Father series, which is up to LVII (number 57) and my Tango Series, which is about me and him, him and me. All we do is "tango," but we'll never be dancing partners. Nevertheless, two of my all time favorites hang on the wall behind me as I type this.  They are from the same point in time and about the same situation.  And I will point out, for better understanding, that I believe that holding hands is a very intimate thing and that hands don't lie.

*Perfect Fit*

Your hand finds mine
Every time
Grasping and holding it
Fingers entwined
A perfect fit
You want to make yourself believe
That this is nothing
But your hands
Tell a different story.    JD

*Nothing*

As we lie there together
Spent
In the aftermath
I have to remind myself
That is is nothing
That we are nothing
Simply two bodies
Needing release
And finding it
In each other.      JD

Funny that they both speak of "nothing" and that they contradict each other - but that was the truth of the situation.

RMMW: What is your preferred style to write in?

JG: As most people who read me know, I write a daily Haiku almost every day.  So, yes, I love Haiku, but mostly, I free write.  There is no rhyme or reason in the way I write.  And, most pieces are long form because I write until I'm done - until the thought behind the piece is exhausted

RMMW: Who are you favourite indie poets?

JG: So, now I get to call people out?  Yay!  Even though he turned more to song writing and expression through music, I cannot lie, my all-time favorite indie writer is Christopher Andrews.  I love reading him on Instagram, have all of his poetry books, as well as his novel (which I'm in, btw *pats self on back), and his CD.  There is something about the truth and pain in his writing to grips me.

Other favorites are Megan ie: MakeLoveYourMottoPoet, Jason Sinner, Nathalie ie: sthlmdarling, John Hunley, Matt ie: RationalAmbivalence, Charlotte Corbette, Jeff Welch, Matt Baker and Melodee ie: you have mel, to name a few.

RMMW: How do you write?  Longhand? Or, right to the computer?

JG: Most of my writing, which you may have gleamed from above, is written long hand (and mostly illegible to the human eye, including mine, at times) in journals and then transferred to typed word either on the Lettrs app or in Word.  Sometimes if something comes into my head with no writing apparatus' available, I'll speak it into the notes on my phone to write out at a later time. Now and then, but not often, I type something out directly without handwriting it first or write something quickly on my phone.

RMMW: What do you enjoy most about writing poetry?

JG: I write for release, so that's what I like most - that I can release all the stuff running amok through my mind.  It has been said that when you need to let something go, you should write it on a piece of paper, tie it to a balloon and release it, and although I have also done this a few times, getting the words out of my head and onto paper is my release.

RMMW: Are you going to gather all your pieces and create a book of your own?

JG: I have definitely toyed with the idea but don't even know where to start.  I have even picked a title and the opening piece but stalled from there.  Also, after my father passed last year, the thought of putting my Father series to print was a strong one, but almost a year later, I still haven't done it, but have also added several pieces to it. I have no doubt that one day, I will put something to print.  I'm just not sure yet when or what.

RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?

JG: Any superpower I would desire has nothing to do with writing and it's hard to narrow it down to just one.  On a global level, I would wish for the power to deliver peace and understanding to a world that is so divided and filled with hate.  On a more local and doable level, I'd love the power to be able to understand what is going on inside someone else so that I could help them to overcome their fears/doubts/anxieties/etc.

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