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Haiku poet Timothy Huff publishes a second volume

Bill DeYoung

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New Yorker Timothy Huff has lived in St. Petersburg since 1986. Photo: St. Petersburg Press

In the three years since poet Timothy Huff published The View From My Deck: Haikus Inspired By Nature, he’s been recognized a couple of times. “When people can’t remember my name,” Huff says, “they’ll go ‘oh, you’re the poetry guy.’”

Sometimes they know him as the owner of Vintage Interiors, a custom window treatment business – they say ‘oh, you’re the blind guy … but I know you can see.’”

Huff is polite, either way. “I’m either the blind guy or the poetry guy at this point in my life.”

Vintage, Huff explains, is rolling right along. “Last year, I did great. And this year so far, I’ve already done as much business as I had done all of last year.”

And this week, St. Petersburg Press is publishing Another View From My Deck. Like its predecessor, it’s subtitled Haikus Inspired By Nature.

There’s an art to haikus, which originated in Japan. Simplicity is key. The poems are very specific, consisting of three lines: Five syllables, then seven syllables, then five again. It’s precise, disciplined work.

Huff’s work is unique, in that the nature that gives him inspiration – flowers, plants, birds, colors, textures – is all in the back yard of the St. Petersburg home he shares with his husband Randy.

Since his first volume of poems was published, Huff has taken to referring to the yard as Haiku Garden. “We’ve been having perfect weekends lately,” he says. “Granted there’s 101 things I should be doing inside the house, but we’ve had such great weather I usually spend Saturday and Sunday out on the back deck for several hours.”

He loves the mornings, sitting with his coffee and simply observing.

“The back yard is constantly changing,” Huff says. “From season to season. I have pond irises – in fact, there’s a pond iris on the cover of the first book. Most springs, when they’re in bloom, I’ll walk out and there’ll be 12 to 15 blooms at one time. And I think because of this past cold winter, I’ll walk out now and there will only two or four blooms at a time. And I had a plant that didn’t make it this winter; it’s now gone.” An illustration of one of his orchids graces the cover of Another View From My Deck.

Haiku Garden, St. Petersburg. Photo provided.

Inspiration operates on its own schedule, he explains. “A lot of times I see something, and right away a haiku starts in my head. And I usually have to run in and get a piece of paper and a pen, and come back outside and start writing it down.”

He has catalogued the neighborhood birds (six different species) and butterflies (five varieties). And sometimes, there are surprises: Not long ago, a bald eagle perched high in a pine tree two doors down, sitting stoically as a quartet of crows harassed it. “We just stood there and admired it,” Huff says.

Now that he’s an accomplished, published poet, Huff – who is often asked to give readings and teach haiku workshops – sees things a little differently.

“I probably look at the details in nature a little closer now,” he says. “Or notice them more.

“Because haiku is kind of a focused poetry, and it makes me even more focused on the different elements in nature.”

Another View From My Deck is available at Tombolo Books, via Amazon and at stpetersburgpress.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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