Haiku is a thoughtful way to share moments with strangers and friends alike. It is quick an genuine gift to both give and receive.
Did you recently change your name? If so, why?
We used to be Poetry at Parties. That name came to us after we were invited to write haiku for the yogis at Wanderlust Festival. We were walking home after the invite and Dan said to Erick, “We should write poetry at parties.” The name spoke for itself with respect to our service offerings, but it didn’t capture the grander vision. Everyone calls us The Haiku Guys when we run into them at social gatherings. Our mission is: Haiku For Everyone. The Haiku Guys seem better suited to accomplish that mission.
How do you manage your business life verse your creative lives?
You never know where you’re going to find inspiration for a poem or who you’re going to meet. We both work 9-5 (sometimes longer) jobs that we wholeheartedly enjoy. Our colleagues all know about what we do and think it’s cool that we write poetry on the side.
Where do you find the most happiness in what you do?
We’ve written a lot of haiku for a lot of people. Not a week goes by where we don’t run into a stranger for whom we wrote a haiku either on the street or at an event. We’ve learned that almost everyone keeps their haiku somewhere where it can be seen daily: either in their wallet, on the fridge, framed on the wall, on a nightstand, or mirror. It warms our hearts to know that the small moment we shared with a complete stranger extends through time.
Where does the performer element come into your Haiku?
We often simply write the haiku on a notecard and pass it to the recipient. After reading it they look us in the eye and express genuine gratitude, but we don’t read it ourselves. Sometimes, we’ll each write a haiku about the given topic (versus just one of us) then each read our own respective haiku, telling the listener (or audience) that they have to choose which is better. If they choose one, they get both. If they choose none, they get neither. We call this “Haiku Duel,” and it’s probably our most performative element.
When and where was your first Haiku Duel? Can you tell us how you came up with that?
Haiku Duel went from simply another service offering to a full scale event. We wanted to take our business to the next level while still maintaining the two-way interactive element of a guest providing a topic and a poet providing an impromptu response poem. We thought it would be cool to host an NCAA-bracket-style poetry battle where the audience would should out topics, our MC’s would choose one, and the audience applause would decide the winner after each poem was read by the poets.
It really stemmed from us wanting to bring more people together to enjoy poetry in a way which they never had before. While the poets write their haiku, our DJ’s spin some sweet tunes for our guests to enjoy. Its not your typical poetry reading and is designed more like a back and forth between micro-partying and micro-poetry-readings.
Tell us more about yourselves personally, is this where you see your professional future is running Haiku Guys?
Like we said, we love our jobs. We work for stellar companies who provide services that make a whole lot of people’s lives easier. It would be tough to walk away from that. Two years ago we had no idea we’d be writing poetry on tyepwriters at events in exchange for food, booze, and cash. Who knows where we’ll be two years from now.
What are your top five goals for your company?
1. Write haiku for everyone.
2. Meet billions of people, sharing the gift of haiku with each individual.
3. Educate friends and new friends on the benefits of writing impromptu haiku (confidence, multi-tasking, meditation, new friends, etc).
4. Travel the world.
5. Lock down a creative space where artists of any kind can join us to nurture creativity, foster individuality, take innovative action, and generate social progress.
Tell us advice you would give to aspiring writers and entrepreneurs.
Wonder. Adventure. Discover. Share.
Favorite place to eat and why:
JG Melon. Best burger in town.
Best poem you’ve ever written:
The first one.
Most important influences in your life?
Our mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, and dogs.