My guest today is Giddy Nielsen Sweep our first Australian guest! I find her quite inspirational. I hope you will too.

Giddy started writing Haiku some time after 2010 and over the course of a few years completed four courses on line with the late haijin, Alvin T Ethingtion of California.

Thanks to a friend she discovered Ai Li’s beautiful Cherita poems, so this Malaysian style has added to her repertoire.

Giddy and her husband, now retired, live near Brisbane, Australia. A Registered nurse, Giddy loved her job in the care and management of well babies, and only retired due to advancing MS. Though totally disabled now, she still manages to write, assisted by her devoted husband and full time carer, Peter. Giddy intends to continue writing as long as her health allows.

She says of herself “I am a delinquent haiku writer, sometimes a little rebellious, and have been roundly admonished for it! Despite that, I must take issue with you over your desire to use alliteration. Brevity is the first rule I would say, but an avoidance of language enhancements as far as possible is also most important.”

Am I going to argue my case? Not yet. I have read that alliteration was very much approved in the traditional Japanese Haiku, but I am getting the impression that its not the same with contemporary English Haiku. I’ll get back to you on that one Giddy.

Giddy has given some thought to the use of the seasonal word. She says, “To my mind, depending on what the subject is of course, a season word is irrelevant in many cases. As a result, a lot of haiku written today are really senryu.” In this I certainly agree with Giddy. I find myself writing more senryu, or maybe just realising that is what I’m doing.

Giddy continues, “Recently I discovered Australia has its own seasonal word list. I haven’t researched yet to find out if Britain and America have specific ones for them, but I guess they must do.” If anyone knows, can they contact me and let me know?

What does Giddy recommend to improve your Haiku writing?

  • Joining writing groups. She is a member of Fan Story  which has helped her
  • Reading: she recommends The Haiku Handbook by William Higginson with Penny Harter

Giddy also has her own poetry website, go and have a read.

Despite her disabilities she is very active: she is publishing a memoir about growing up on a farm in the Australian bush and preparing a book of photo haiku with her photographer friend, Dawn Toomey. 

Here is her Haiku straight from her childhood.

smoke billies
protect us from sandflies
country school

Simple and lovely. Thanks Giddy. I hope I can feature you again soon.

If you would like to be our Guest of the week, please contact me through the website.

Week 12: Guest Haiku from Giddy Nielsen-Sweep

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