How I Haiku

Image by Rebekah Choat
Image by Becka Choat

I’m an amateur photographer as well as a poet. I’m mindful to carry my camera/phone when I go for a walk – not necessarily because I’m expecting anyone to call, but because I almost always happen into little moments of beauty that I want to remember. I might take a dozen photos on my way around the block; four dozen in an hour at the creekside park.

At some point – maybe as soon as I get home, maybe weeks or longer later – I transfer the images to my computer and begin editing. I rarely adjust the color, brightness, or contrast; what I do is look at each picture, sit with it for a while until my eyes settle on a focal point, and then start shaving off whatever is superfluous, distracting, just doesn’t belong.

I follow a similar practice when I write. Many of my poems begin on my back patio early in the morning, where I sit with my coffee and notebook getting a feel for the day; some even earlier as I lie just-awake still in bed. I spend some time with half-remembered thoughts and dreams drifting about in my mind until one of them takes predominance and comes into focus; then I trim away the tenuously connected threads and the odd bits of extraneous detail, seeking the pure essence.

Frame your subject just
off center; crop the margins.
There is the poem.

Becka Choat is a reader, a writer, a lover of the printed word, dedicated to bringing people books to nourish mind, soul, and spirit. Her website is


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