Ukiah is a small town nestled in a beautiful valley in Mendocino County, California. It is surrounded by oak-covered hills and rolling vineyards that turn gold and scarlet in the fall. I lived in nearby Redwood Valley during high school and have been visiting family there for three decades. I learned to drive on those back roads, lurching along in our red 1971 VW bus with the “Go Solar, It’s Hot” and “Up Yurts” bumper stickers.
April is National Poetry Month, and today, April 17, is National Haiku Poetry Day. To celebrate the day, I’m sharing a selection of the haiku and senryu I’ve had published over the past year, since I first started submitting my poems to journals and anthologies.
It’s hard to find anyone over the age of 29 who is in favor of aging. Even some children resist the prospect of getting older: at the ripe old age of nine, my daughter Maya described turning ten as “entering the dreaded scary two digits.”
When I was in college, I sometimes felt overwhelmed by all the problems of the world. Hearing that a child dies of malnutrition every thirty seconds, or that one and a half acres of rainforest are lost every second, I despaired. In the face of so much suffering, ignorance, fear and greed, I wondered how I could possibly make a difference. And I wondered what career to pursue where I could best solve these problems.
Family is the major focus of my personal life, but this week it's also the dominant part of my life out in the big world. On Monday I was thrilled to have a letter published in the New York Times about the calendars I have kept since my children were born, where I record their milestones and funny quotes. For those of you who are writers or parents, I would love to hear if you have a similar practice.