Mini-interview: Ignatius Fay

Ignatius Fay is an invertebrate paleontologist and poet. He writes haiku, senryu, tanka, haibun, tanka prose and various other related genres. He is Regional Coordinator for the Ontario Region, in which role he has edited and laid-out three anthologies of poems by Ontario members. He is the editor of the monthly newsletter for the Haiku Society of America, serves on their executive and has been the layout artist for several of their publications. In addition, he is the founding editor of Tandem: The Rengay Journal. He has won a few awards and published a few collections of poetry, his most recent being After The Storm, a collection of illustrated haibun and tanka prose. Ignatius lives in Sudbury, Ontario

What draws me to the writer: I often admire the poet’s writing as they come across my radar online in journals, such as I posted recently at Instagram. We’ve never met but his work

The book: After the Storm (October 2021)


Green Thumb Up

Every weekend, at eight in the morning, she is here puttering in my flower garden. Before her, the garden didn’t exist. That area of my yard was just a weedy patch I kept under some control by mowing.
I didn’t ask her. I don’t even know her, really. She just showed up one day and started putting in a garden. When I asked why, she said she loved to garden and had run out of room at home. It hurt her to see a space like mine lying barren.

she hurries
down the sidewalk pulling
a small cart
piled high with tools, a hose
and fertilizer

Her garden, three doors down, is the showpiece of the neighbourhood. Even now, ours is a nodding hello relationship, smiles sprinkled with rare idle talk about the weather.

She has certainly beautified my life. And I have told her as much. One day I’ll ask her name.

back bent
kneeling among the flowers
her son’s old hockey shin guards
protect arthritic knees

After the Storm by Ignatius Fay


P.P.: What was the genesis of your book?
I.F.: I have been writing haiku and senryu for more than thirty years. Over that time, I was exposed to tanka, haibun and tanka prose, all of which I write regularly. One genre I find particularly interesting and fun to produce is haiga – haiku with an illustration – which has been around for many year. Fairly recently, the genre was expanded to taiga – tanka with an illustration. With this book, I take the concept of illustrated poem one step farther – haibun and tanka prose with an illustration – which I named haiga prose and taiga prose respectively.

With this concept, I approached Ray J. Belcourt, an accomplished photographer and friend with whom I have collaborated several times. He took many photos, then I chose the ones that best suited my poetry. Only the caterpillar photo was not taken by him; my daughter took that one in her garden. I used graphics software to manipulate  and enhance the photos, then laid out the book for publication.

PP: What was or will be your favourite moment(s) in making this book?
I.F.: All of the stories recorded in these poems are special to me. They are parts of who I am, my very essence. I have no clear-cut favourite in that sense. The best part of producing After The Storm was the writing of the poetry. In each instance, I was reliving and trapping a fragment of my life on paper where anyone could see them. And I am particulaly gratified when I hear that one of these pieces has touched someone in some way.