Experiencing Marianne Paul’s poems is like riding through the water in a magic boat. Waves and wind carry us through the universe to the land that awaits with stories of birth and death, of beauty and memory

~ Veronica Ross, novelist and author of Hannah B 


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I'm not sure if I'm a kayaker who writes poetry, or a poet who kayaks. I suppose it doesn't matter - both writing and water are integral to me. I'm not happy when a few days pass, and I haven't written. An unhappiness settles. Similarly, if I don't get out on the water, a cloud descends that doesn't lift until I launch my boat. I suppose a part of growing up, growing comfortable with yourself, is learning how you move through this world. I write. I paddle.

More and more, writing and paddling are inseparable to me. What I see, hear, and feel on the water ends up on the page. Sometimes it is a poem, sometimes a short story, sometimes a personal narrative. I've gathered here, in one place, selections of my water writing to share with you, as well as some of my latest creative obsessions - haiku, tanka, haibun and haiga.

Recently I've been honoured to receive first place in the inaugural Jane Reichhold Memorial Haiga Competition, mixed media category, as well the Canada Category of the 2016 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational. For that, I am grateful.

 ~ Marianne Paul



Jane Reichhold Memorial Haiga 2016, mixed media, winner

Mixed media should be fascinating and original, as well as pictorially composed. This one delighted me with its light and playful colours, image, and repetition of the small circles. I also love the font for the words and the way they flow along adding to the entire composition. Then punch come the words. The picture is light and innocent, the words heavy with the weight of millenia of real stonings and being stoned with words. - Kris Kondo, Competition Judge

This category could be an open book for the artist and poet to try different approach in the artwork's media and mix up the presentation of the words. In this case we have a strong senryu making a bold and topical comment, and the text has been presented in a way which looks like part of the artwork. There are wonderful colours in this delightful drawing and the contrasts between the softness of the child and the hardness of the stones are beautifully done. This is complete composition of image and words that is worthy of first place. - Ron Moss, Competition Judge  

In the mixed media category I look for deliberate, artistic composition, plus a mixing of media types. This winning haiga plays effectively with telling contrasts and associations: the novelty of its mixed media presentation plays off against the traditional signature chop; the youthful innocence of pictorial content and treatment balances the poem's mature social critique. A child must learn not to throw stones. Why can't adults? Ultimately, the weight of the poem in combination with the lightness of the picture makes for a very modern haiga in touch with the subtle irony or
karumi at the heart of senryu aesthetics. - Michele Root-Bernstein, Competition Judge 

Shambhala Times Midwinter Haiku Contest, First Place, 2015 

winter winds
behind my back
the stars

This haiku is appealing for it reflects the power of simplicity and awareness. It has an affinity with Basho's (Japanese haiku master 1644-1694) haiku; exhausted / looking for an inn--/ the wisteria flowers, which reflects the poet's awakening to the appreciation of the moment, no matter what she was feeling. In this haiku, even though the biting wind is fierce, the poet is fortunate that it is at her back, allowing (or perhaps nudging) her to notice and open to the immense space of the stars above. As in any good haiku, it usually includes a reference to nature, a clear image, spareness in words without explanation, and a capturing of the fleeting moment -- here the moment is heightened by the juxtaposition between the human realm and the vast realm of nature. This simple haiku is an apt reminder of the possibility to be present again and again - ah, the winter stars! - Pat Donegan, Competition Judge

© Marianne Paul 2011
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